Heading north from Siena, the Tuscan landscape forms a vast valley that leads directly to Castellina in Chianti allowing optimal exposure to sunlight and protection from harsh winds. It forms the ideal environment for ripening grapes and together with the complex characteristics of the soil, the confluence represents what can only be termed a natural miracle. The vistas are so hauntingly beautiful that the Italians have a phrase for it: Mozza il fiato; “It takes your breath away”. It is here that Villa Cerna calls home.
The Primocolle Chianti Classico takes its name from the “first hill” you come upon as you drive from Siena to Castellina. First produced from the 2015 vintage, the wine has shown remarkable consistency in its quality, yet the three vintages in succession are completely different.
My Gemelli Series first debuted way back in 2018 so it was high time to bring it back. Today, I’m discussing the 2016 and 2017 Primocolle Chianti Classico from Villa Cerna. In general, the wine is predominantly Sangiovese, but often a small dose of Colorino is included in the blend. Let’s get started.
I first tasted the 2016 at the Cecchi winery back in 2019. At the time, it was just about to be released. Here’s what I wrote then: Another deeply colored wine, this is much more floral than the 2015. Red berries, flowers and perfume on the nose is followed by crushed berry and herbs on the palate. Much fresher and feminine than the more structured 2015, I actually prefer this wine. Contains 5% Colorino. 90-92 points.
The 2016 Villa Cerna Chianti Classico “Primocolle” is an exciting wine and a wonderful value. Like my earlier review, this is still remarkably floral. Crushed wild berries, roses, lavender and fresh herbs mark the pretty nose. On the palate, the wine is well balanced with mid-weight acids and tannins. Fresh, lively and juicy, the sapid cherry flavors are marked by toasted tobacco leaf and spice notes. It’s in a lovely spot right now so try one if you have it. However, it will cellar well for at least another 3-4 years. 93 points. Find this wine.
After two wonderful growing seasons in 2015 and 2016, the 2017 vintage proved challenging with its frosts and higher than normal temperatures. As Summer waned, the dry conditions turned drought like. Yet, skilled winemakers continued their streak and made some excellent wines in this vintage. San Nicola clearly stands out and another value, is the Primocolle.
The 2017 Villa Cerna Chianti Classico “Primocolle” is a very successful effort. While the 2016 displays a more violet core in color, the 2017 retains a look that is closer to garnet. On the nose, aromas of black cherry, toasted spice, cured meat and tobacco are notable. This really relates the traits of the vintage as the floral character isn’t present here. On the palate, the wine is fresh and juicy. Concentrated flavors of cherry, tobacco and turned dirt are enticing. This seems to slot itself in somewhere between the 2015 and the 2016 in terms of style and is more masculine in that regard. Drink now and over the next 5 years. 91 points. Find this wine.
The final takeaway from a piece like this? Value. Primocolle is available for around $20 and in many cases, under. For this quality, it’s hard to top. In the US, the wines are now imported by Volio Imports so finding these should prove easier from here out.