The Gagliole estate first appears in the Siena Archives as early as 994 AD around the time King Berengarius bequeathed the estate to his wife. Miraculously, the passing of centuries has left this estate remarkably untouched. One aspect of this unaffected passing of time can be seen in the terraced vineyards and vine rows which are dotted randomly with olive trees; a clear belief in cross pollination agriculture common with the Etruscans.
Although the Gagliole Estate is located in Castellina in Chianti, the property’s vineyard holdings are split evenly between Castellina (10 hectares) and Panzano (also 10 hectares). Through constant renewal and dedication to detail, the team carefully manicure their vineyards which are now between 2 and 40 years of age.
When you turn onto the dusty, white stone road that leads to the Gagliole estate, it’s easy to be transported back to a simpler, ancient era; an era when the Etruscans farmed, toiled and bled among their terraced vineyards and manicured olive groves.
It’s hard not to be overcome by a sense of the symbolic, as if you yourself are being transported through time. Gagliole captures all of the enduring Tuscan spirit. The simple, white, cypress lined road evokes the peace and tranquility of another time that stirs the soul and blossoms romance. I encourage you to let it sweep you away.
When I last visited Gagliole, they were in the process of finalizing their new cellar space located on their Valletta estate in Panzano. The original cellar in Castellina is small and the production needs had clearly outgrown the cantina. Today, the estate is well positioned to increase their production and manage the maturation of their wines without sacrificing quality.
The new cellar space sits almost entirely underground and retains a low natural profile. The tile and terra cotta used throughout promote natural cooling and the entire back of the winery is glass that opens to allow reception of the grapes during harvest. It’s an impressive feat of architecture but no less impressive are the wines. Today, I’m spotlighting two new releases.
The 2017 Gagliole Valletta combines Sangiovese from Castellina and Merlot from Panzano in equal parts. Precise and attentive winemaking is the key here as the Sangiovese is aged in Slavonian oak while the Merlot gets barrique. Cherries, bright floral notes and spices are lifted on the nose of the wine. The palate is approachable and fresh which is noteworthy in what was often a hot vintage. Gagliole’s vineyards are fairly high in elevation. As a result they appear to have managed the temperature spikes well. Cherries, berries, leather and traced of mint punctuate the palate. This is really well done and despite its more approachable nature, is a serious wine. Once blended, Valletta spends 14 months in oak and 6 months in bottle before release. 92 points. Find this wine.
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