~ The Vineyards of Castellare di Castellina ~

Founded in 1977, the Castellare estate is relatively young.  However, the estate is fortunate enough to hold some of the highest vineyard parcels in all of Chianti Classico, with vineyards situated at 1,200 feet above sea level.  Located in Castellina in Chianti, the 46 acre estate has become a sort of natural refuge for forestry and wildlife.  In fact, many of the birds that grace Castellare’s labels are native to their estate – which is legally protected by the Italian Government. The estate is owned by Paolo Panerai and the lead winemaker is Alessandro Cellai.  The team is dedicated to crafting honest, premium wines driven by terroir.  They are farmers and as Paolo muses, each vintage is unique and demands the attention o the winemaker to listen to what nature has provided.

In 1980, I Sodi San Niccolo was created to demonstrate that native grapes alone could be used to create a singularly spectacular world class wine.  Panerai has succeeded and today, I Sodi San Niccolo is the flagship wine of this estate. Hailing from the vineyard of the same name, the wine’s name is combination of “I Sodi” – which in dialect means “hard to till” and “San Niccolo” an abandoned Church on the property.

Tuscan white road lined with lavender, cypress trees and grape vines

~ The Castellare di Castellina estate is one of the prettiest in Castellina ~

Sitting at an altitude of 1,450 feet,  the vineyard is one of the highest in Tuscany.  When warm days and cool nights prevail during a growing season, I Sodi San Niccolo can be one of the most aromatic Sangiovese wines attainable.

Production of I Sodi San Niccolo is approximately 25,000 bottles so although it is not the most ubiquitous wine, it is well worth the search.  Comprised of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Malvasia Nera, the wine is vinified in stainless steel for approximately 14 days.  After that time, the wine is racked to new and 1 year used barrique for 24 months and then ages an additional 24 months after bottling.

The 2012 I Sodi San Niccolo is special indeed.  The wine was double decanted at home and then taken to a Trattoria for dinner.  In the glass, the wine portrays a medium ruby color with vibrant violet reflections.  Despite the vagaries of the 2012 vintage in central Tuscany, this wine was a wonderful success.  On the nose, the wine sings.  Freshly cut lavender, lilac, wet stones, crushed wild bramble berry and sweet pipe tobacco are united in force.  On the palate, things are more straightforward.  A fresh, nimble core of berry fruit glides over a medium frame and adds spicy notes of white pepper and menthol.  This needs time to settle down and allow the flavors to develop some of the complexity foreshadowed by the aromas.   I Sodi San Niccolo was tasted side by side with the 2012 Fontalloro and while the I Sodi was complex aromatically, it did not impress on the palate quite as much.  Still, this is elegant Sangiovese with a bright future.  92 points.  About $65

Tuscan wine bottle and glass of wine

~ This Sangiovese dominant wine is highly aromatic in the 2012 vintage `

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Buon fine settimana!

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