Wine is not just a bottle with the fermented liquid product of grapes inside. There’s a vast world of research, work, passion and history behind every finished bottle. One fine example is Premiata Fattoria di Castelvecchi, a wine estate in Tuscany, Italy where the location alone unfolds hundreds of years of history. Nestled in the heart of the panoramic hills of Chianti Classico in Radda in Chianti, Premiata Fattoria di Castelvecchi is positioned in a fortified village that dates back from the 11th century, an area that has been documented in the year 1716 by Tuscany’s Grand Duke that determined the boundaries of the wine production area. The vaulted cellars of Premiata Fattoria di Castelvecchi are among the oldest and still active in Tuscany which date back from 1043. The centuries-old underground cellars in the medieval castle and the surrounding land are testimonies of how far back viticulture and oenology have been activities in exactly the same spot of the present winery. The old walls have hosted the different eras of the passages of harvests to vinification, where they protected the innumerable barrels from undesirable elements, keeping the temperature constant at 18°C as they slowly mature into the sought-after wine that’s born and raised in Chianti. The whole area is around 1,000 square meters, divided into six rooms: two for vinification and three for maturation in oak barrels and another one for hosting guests.
Composed of 22 hectares with 11 crus and surrounded by chestnut and oak woods which create a great biodiversity, the vineyards of the estate have an elevation of around 500 to 600 masl. The high altitude of the vineyards allow the diurnal temperature variation between day and night which benefits the ripening of the Sangiovese grapes by helping give the acidity and aromatic profile that are the distinctive notes of the best Chianti Classico. Significantly, the vineyards are older than 50 years old.
In 1774, Castelvecchi has already been renowned as one of the main farms in Chianti. In 1905, the owner Marquis Gutierrez de la Solana, Grandee of Spain and husband of the last descendant of the de ‘Vecchi family, received an important recognition in Milan for his wines. In those years, the Premiata Fattoria began to stand out for its ability to establish a direct relationship of trust with its customers, accompanying its prized Chianti with the manufacturer’s quality guarantee. In 2004, the Premiata Fattoria di Castelvecchi moves under the management of Casa Paladin, an emerging oenological family in the Italian and international wine scene.
Casa Paladin is the mother company of Premiata Fattoria di Castelvecchi. Founded in 1962, Valentino Paladin has dedicated all of his life to the land and wine production with a philosophy he abides to. To defend the unicity of their roots, to respect the characteristics of the lands, to sustain its excellence and to promote their values. These have become the very foundation of Casa Paladin that with 60 years of history and the management passed on to Valentino’s sons, Carlo and Roberto, has flourished and crossed regional borders which resulted in widening their vision to different territories in Italy. In view of the company’s philosophy, Casa Paladin has created its project, the Reasoned Viticulture or 4Vs: Vite, Vino, Verde, Vita (Vine, Wine, Green, Life), where the vineyard is considered as an ecosystem that is carefully managed to preserve the territory’s biodiversity and to guarantee the qualitative productivity while safeguarding the consumers’ and environmental health. All the wines of the wine estates of Casa Paladin including Premiata Fattoria di Castelvecchi, are vegan certified, they use 50% less sulfites from the standard limit and they don’t use chemicals. With their pursuance to the development in viticulture, Casa Paladin’s family of brands has grown over the years to five wineries which share the same purpose of attaining excellence and maintaining the naturality of the different territories where they are located: Premiata Fattoria di Castelvecchi in Tuscany; Paladin Vigne e Vini in Veneto; Casa Lupo in Veneto; Bosco del Merlo between Friuli and Veneto; and Castello Bonomi in Franciacorta.
On the centuries-old hills of Premiata Fattoria di Castelvecchi, several clones of Sangiovese vines have been rediscovered and catalogued and as a result, the Vivaio vineyard was created. It is a veritable library of Castelvecchi Sangiovese where a small plot of land is dedicated to the propagation, preservation and studying of the collected materials. Another surprising discovery in the territory is an old heart-shaped vineyard called Le Madri which is cultivated with the highest quality and oldest vineyards of Premiata Fattoria di Castelvecchi at more than 50 years old from which all the clones of the newly-cultivated vineyards were derived from. In similar essence, they have also restored the old Madonnino vineyard with its ancient vines.
Here are three of the Chianti Classico Wines of Premiata Fattoria di Castelvecchi and the result of the virtual wine tasting:
Chianti Classico Capotondo DOCG 2017
Produced from 88% Sangiovese and 12% Canaiolo grapes where the soil of the vineyards have predominant presence of galestro and albarese stones with a small percentage of sandstone at an altitude of 450 to 600 masl. Maceration takes place in concrete tanks for 25/30 days. The wine is then placed in steel tanks and finally into large oak barrels and barrique of third to fourth passage for 10-12 months. The bottle ageing takes place for 8 months. Rich ruby red in color with an intense and complex nose with aromas of dark plums, cherries, wood berries, dried violets and pepper and good acidity in the mouth, minerals, mature dark plums, a touch of chocolate, softness, that finishes with persistence. Capotondo shows an authentic expression of Chianti where there is a balance of fragrance and softness, fruit and structure and it promises to display its character in the years to come.
Chianti Classico Riserva Lodolaio DOCG 2015
Produced from Sangiovese grapes obtrained from the mass selection of ancient vines cultivated in soils consisting mainly of galestro and albarese. Maceration takes place in concrete tanks for 40 days then maturation in new French oak barrique for 12 months in the ancient Castelvecchi cellar. Bright ruby red with an intense nose showing complex aromas fronted by mature fruits such as dark plums and wood berries, dried violets, chocolate, sweet dried spices and a note of eucalyptus. As interesting as the nose, the mouth has a good body and softness, acidity with a light bitterness in the end as it finishes with persistence. An elegant and harmonious wine that keeps well in the cellar or enjoyed now.
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Madonnino della Pieve DOCG 2013
Born from 100% Sangiovese grapes cultivated in the vineyard called Madonnino. The vineyard is among the oldest of Castelvecchi with a recognition in the first land registry of Chianti Classico. The vines produce exceptional bunches which manage to produce the extraordinary complexity of this wine. It is only produced in the best vintages. The grapes are harvested through multiple collections when they reach their perfect maturity, vinified separately and macerated for 40 days. It is aged for 42 months, 24 of which are in new French oak barrique then another 10 months in the bottle. The color is deep ruby red going towards garnet with a very interesting nose showing complexities of aromas like mature dark plums and dark wood berries, forest undergrowth, dried sweet spices like vanilla and pepper and dried herbs. It is equally interesting and expressive in the mouth with a good acidity, touch of minerals, dried loose tea leaves, softness, good structure, elegance, and a persistent finish. This is a harmonious wine that has opened its personality quite well and continue to do so with its promising longevity
Premiata Fattoria di Castelvecchi
53017 Radda in Chianti (SI), Italy
Tel: +39 0577 735612