Rocca di Castagnoli
The harvest began on the 28th with the Chardonnay for Molino delle Balze. Immediately afterwards, the red grape harvest began in late August. The technical staff decided to immediately and prematurely harvest the plots most at risk of drying. Only the most recent vineyards or those affected by warm winds, in the most rocky areas. It was deemed preferable to intervene in order to preserve the red fruit aromas and to contain the potential alcohol. The most suitable areas – Stielle, Poggio a’ Frati, Alberello – were harvested in mid-September. In such an unusual vintage, the grapes harvested in the Caciaie area plots are very distinct and do not feature the distinctive traits of 2017 at all. The decision to harvest prematurely so far appears to have been a good choice: the wines have abundant red fruit, good acidity and tannins. With the exception of two batches, there is no hint of drying or cooked or overripe fruit. The Stielle Sangiovese was vinified with 40% non-destemmed grapes; despite the seasonal trend, the stem reached maturity losing its herbaceous note. The main Sangiovese selections were fermented with native yeasts obtained using a small “pied de cuve” from the individual plots harvested the previous day.
The harvest ended on 23rd September.
The harvest began on 30th August with the first plot of Chardonnay. The Merlot for Le Pratola was harvested on 12th and 13th September.
Canaiolo del Poggio a’ Frati was harvested on 20th September and in the following days the Sangiovese harvest began, starting with the youngest plots. The first important Sangiovese wines entered the winery between 26th September and 6th October (Rufena on 24th-25th September, Colorino on 26th September, Poggio a’ Frati from 28th-30th October, Castagnoli on 30th September and 1st October, Caciaie on 3rd-4th October and Stielle and Alberello from 4th-6th October). With regard to the vinification of the Stielle Sangiovese, we decided to reduce the percentage of non-destemmed grapes from 40% to 30% because the lack of water at the end of August prevented full maturation of the stem.
The last plot harvested was the Cabernet for Buriano harvested on 10th and 11th October.
The wines produced in the Chianti Classico area are immediately soft and elegant, with a good phenolic concentration and moderate alcohol content. The wines have excellent acidity. 2016 was considered to be an extremely hot year by the press (even more so than 2003), but this does not appear to be the case when one tastes the wines of this vintage. The temperature range of the Chianti nights preserved the malic acid; when this has turned into lactic acid, the wines will be even more enveloping and long-lasting, even if they appear to be very drinkable already.
Once again this year, the fermentation was completed in 10-12 days, while the maceration stages were prolonged up to over 30 days for the best batches.
The harvest began on 27th August with the first plot of chardonnay. Given the seasonal trend, we chose to bring the harvest forward as much as possible to ensure a low alcohol content and for optimal preservation of the varietal aromas. The first vineyard harvested was Merlot delle Pratola on 2nd September. The Sangiovese harvest began on Monday 7th September with the new vineyards ending on 25th September. The Stielle vineyard was harvested on days 8, 9 and 10, while the Alberello vineyard was harvested on days 9 and 10. Canaiolo and Colorino were harvested on 11th and 12th September. The Poggio a’ Frati vineyards were harvested from 19th to 22nd, while Pugnitello (the first production) was harvested on 23rd September.
With regard to Stielle, we have reduced the percentage of NON-destemmed grapes to 25% due to the incomplete lignification of the stem. We feared that a stem that was not completely lignified, due to the premature harvest, would give the wine bitter or astringent tannins. We decided to carefully and further select every single bunch of grapes to NOT destem.
The harvest in Rocca di Castagnoli began on 8th September with the first plot of Chardonnay. The first red grapes (Merlot delle Pratola) entered the winery on the 17th. The Sangiovese harvest began the following week, first with the basic Chianti Classico and then with the selections. Notably, on 30th September the Sangiovese di Stielle was harvested, followed by the vineyard cultivated using the ‘alberello’ method. Despite the seasonal trend and orography of the Castagnoli vineyards, overall the grape harvest was homogeneous and all the plots produced grapes of excellent quality. All the batches have alcohol content of over 13 ABV and high minerality and flavor. The vinification was carried out almost exclusively with native yeasts and the number of tanks vinified without the aid of sulfur was implemented. None of the tanks have been drained yet.
All things considered, the seasonal trend was normal, even if there were waves of summer heat and some rainy fronts at the beginning of September.
Consequently, 2013 has been described as a “patchy” vintage with areas with perfect grapes, as well as areas with phenolic maturity difficulties. In this regard, the areas that suffered most were the highest
Chianti Classico areas, in particular the Siena area. Rocca di Castagnoli was no exception. However, in contrast to 2013, all the wines were regularly produced, even if there was further reduction of the quantities of the selections. For this vintage, there was an evident difference between the company’s particularly suitable vineyard terrain (Stielle and Poggio a’ Frati) and the other areas.
2012 was the most complicated vintage for us in recent years. We had not had such a complicated vintage since 2002. The winter was mild and very rainy. Rain continued throughout spring and summer. It was a particularly difficult harvest due to continuous interruptions as a result of wet weather. Phenolic maturation was problematic. Every plot was harvested by selecting every single bunch and carrying out multiple harvests on the same plot. The company decided not to release its Gran Selezione wines. However, the international varieties, due to their adaptability to all climates and soils, allowed Rocca di Castagnoli to regularly release Le Pratola and Buriano wines. The Chianti Classico reserves were produced, but to maintain high quality standards, the quantity was considerably reduced by around 50%.
2011 should be considered as one of the best vintages of the century together with 2001.
It was perfect from a climatic point of view with cold in the first part of the year and abundant spring rains. The summer was fairly warm and dry; there were occasional thunderstorms which refueled the vines without subjecting them to water stress. The harvest was brought forward: it fell a few days short of the 2013 record. The Chardonnay was harvested on 27th August. The red grape harvest was also brought forward to the first ten days of September with Merlot, immediately followed by the Sangiovese. A vintage with significant phenolic maturation without the excess very high sugar accumulation typical of hot and dry vintages. The temperature range in Castagnoli made it possible to preserve the aromatic component with a clear fruitiness characteristic of Chianti wines grown on high ground. This is the major difference with the 2003 vintage, in which the aromatic component was compromised by the abnormal heat that persisted from May to September. They are wines to drink immediately that can also be bottle aged for a long time. All wines have been produced according to regulations.