~ Approaching the Volpaia hamlet ~
Castello di Volpaia sits atop a hillside just north of Radda in Chianti.  It’s a dominating castle that anchors the remainder of this tiny walled village; a unique enclave that is more than simply a winery.  The winery and the surrounding buildings actually comprise the small village of Volpaia;  Population, about 50. 
If you’re not careful, you can drive past Volpaia without even realizing it’s there.  But the regret would catch up with you, because this winery devoted to fully organic farming is making some amazing Chianti Classico. 
~ Lookout window in the Volpaia Village Wall ~
(Image Courtesy of G. Tropea)
Volpaia’s origins date back to the year 1172, but it wasn’t until the mid 1970’s that the Mascheroni Stianti family, led by the husband and wife team of Carlo and Giovanella, decided to modernize the winery and begin commercial production on a scale never before implemented at Volpaia. 
Today, the winery and the village support and farm over 900 acres of land, of which 120 are dedicated to vineyards, 40 that are devoted to olive groves and the balance to natural forest, cover crops and the village structures themselves.
~ Grande Botte inside the Castello di Volpaia Wine Cellar ~
Recently we tried one of the winery’s  newest releases, the 2010 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva.  At once you are struck by the intense inky dark color of this Riserva.  In the glass, the wine is a deep purple hued violet with nary a trace of lightening clear through to the rim of the glass. 
On the nose, the wine is redolent of freshly crushed black fruit, with sage and lavender aromas along with soft toned fresh mushroom notes.  This is wonderful to smell.  On the palate the wine is medium to full bodied with a suave, polished core of black fruit and forest notes with sage, earth and lavender in supporting roles.  This is 100% Sangiovese that is naturally fermented in stainless steel and then aged in a combination of Gamba botte and French barrique.  There is stunning purity here to the flavors though part of me wonders if there isn’t a miniscule dollop of non-native grapes in the blend, given the color of the wine.   That said, 2010 has produced some amazingly dark Sangiovese as I documented here and here.
Regardless of any suppositons,  it’s delicious and an exceptional value for a Riserva from a benchmark vintage.  93 points, about $26. 

~ Chianti Classico Riserva from the Radda subzone ~


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