Querciabella was founded in 1974 by Giuseppe Castiglioni and today is run by his determined and passionate son Sebastiano. Since 1988, the estate has been organically farming their vineyards, a feat that precedes many similar decisions by dozens of other wineries.
Since 2000, the estate is biodynamic and vegan. As a result, Querciabella uses no animal based fertilizers in their grape growing. Sebastiano himself is vegan, so his passion for this way of life is paramount in everything he does.
Querciabella translates as “Beautiful Oak” an homage to the vast oak trees that dot the estates vineyards. The estate farms 171 acres of vineyards within Chianti Classico and also owns an additional 79 acres on the coast in Maremma. Together, the vineyards represent the largest extensions of biodynamically farmed, certified organic, vineyards in Italy.
Since its first vintage in 1974, Querciabella Chianti Classico has been the centerpiece of the estate’s production. Comprised of 100% Sangiovese, the wine is unique in that it is blended from estate vineyards which lie in the communes of Greve, Radda and Gaiole. After a manual harvest, the grapes are whole berry fermented in stainless steel. Once the fermentation is complete, the wine is transferred to French barrique and tonneaux. Only 5% of the barrels employed are new while the balance have seen 2 or 3 previous passages of Chianti Classico.
Like its sibling 2015, the 2016 Querciabella Chianti Classico is excellent. In the glass, the wine is a brilliant, shimmering, deep violet color. It’s absolutely gorgeous on the nose which to me is the primary hallmark of the wonderful 2016 vintage. Lavender, violets, fresh leaf tobacco, crushed berry and fennel are complex and alluring.
On the palate, there is no let down. The flavors echo the aromas and provide mouthwatering sour cherry, savory tobacco, soft chestnut and powdery minerality. The high toned acidity provides “lift” to the ample core of cherry fruit and keeps the wine sapid and fresh. Moderate tannins make this wine enjoyable right now but for those that wish to cellar this, the balance and structure are there to support mid-term aging. The price has mostly held steady since my review of the 2015 and that’s a good thing. As it creeps closer to $30, the value will be diminished. At $25, I’d buy a few more. 92 points. Find this wine.