Ricasoli: A Timeless Journey through Chianti Classico.
Nestled within the picturesque hills of the Chianti Classico area lies a winery with a rich history and an unwavering commitment to quality winemaking – Ricasoli. The story of Ricasoli Winery is one that spans centuries, steeped in tradition, innovation, and a deep-rooted connection to the land. As we explore this iconic winery, we’ll journey through time, from its historical beginnings to the exceptional wines it produces today.
A Legacy of Tradition: The Ricasoli Family
The Ricasoli family’s involvement in winemaking dates back to 1141, making them one of the oldest wine-producing families in Italy. For nearly 900 years, they have owned the Brolio Castle, an architectural gem located in Gaiole in Chianti. It was here that they recognized the untapped potential of the Chianti Classico region and dedicated their lives to the improvement of vineyards, becoming pioneers in the area.
One of the pivotal moments in the history of Chianti Classico came in 1872 when the Iron Baron, Bettino Ricasoli, conducted groundbreaking research and experimentation, leading to the creation of the “Chianti Recipe.” This marked a turning point in the quality of Chianti wines. However, it wasn’t until 1932 that the region officially became Chianti Classico, solidifying its borders and heritage, and in 1984, it achieved the prestigious DOCG status, signifying the highest level of quality recognition for Italian wines.
The Essence of Chianti Classico
Chianti Classico is a wine area that encompasses the heart of Tuscany, extending from Florence to Siena to Arezzo. The region’s historical roots can be traced back to 1398 when the first documentation mentioning “Chianti” was found. However, the origins of the symbol of the Black Rooster (Gallo Nero) date even further back in history.
In 1565, the Black Rooster was chosen as the symbol for the Chianti area, yet its presence in wine labels took time to materialize. The modern boundaries of Chianti Classico were established in 1716 and have remained relatively unchanged. This designation paved the way for the region to become Chianti Classico in 1932, distinguishing it from other Chianti-producing areas.
The journey to recognition was not without its battles and legal disputes. Nonetheless, Chianti Classico persevered, finally receiving the recognition it deserved as a DOCG in 1984. Subsequently, in 1996, it became an independent DOCG, distinguishing itself from Chianti and establishing its unique identity.
Ricasoli: Crafting Exceptional Chianti Classico Wines
Ricasoli’s commitment to excellence and sustainability has made it a standout producer in the Chianti Classico region. With 1,200 hectares of land in their possession, all situated on hills with varying altitudes and exposures, Ricasoli’s vineyards benefit from a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers, ensuring optimal grape development.
Among their impressive portfolio of wines, the flagship is the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castello di Brolio. During a recent tasting, we had the opportunity to review four iconic Ricasoli wines:
Torricella Toscana IGT 2020
A big Chardonnay! The wine opens with an intense and ripe nose of exotic fruit. Next to this you can detect tones of wood with light citrus. In the mouth the wine is full bodied, with fresh and pleasant acidity. It also has a good amount of bitters. The wine is clear and well balanced. This Chardonnay reveals an aging potential that promises to enhance its score over the years.
We award the Torricella Toscana 2020 with a 91-point DWA score.
Brolio Chianti Classico 2021
This a classic representation of Sangiovese’s character. With its fresh profile and well-balanced structure, it pays homage to the traditional roots of Chianti Classico while incorporating modern vinification techniques. Made predominantly of Sangiovese (95%) and Colorino (5%) it offers a nose that features spices, herbs and red fruit. What follows is a fresh, balanced profile with a nice tannin structure. Perfect for pairing with Italian cuisine.
We award the Brolio Chianti Classico 2021 with a 90-point DWA score.
Colledilà Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2019
This 100% Sangiovese has an intense nose with great tones of red fruit and some blackcurrant. Hints of dark chocolate, raisons and a slight touch of vanilla. In the mouth a very well-balanced wine, with a defined tannin structure and good acidity. There is a lot going on in the mouth, ranging from ripe fruit (cherry, strawberry) to hints of wood and caramel.
Its well-balanced palate offers a diverse array of flavors, making it a delightful choice for both food and solo enjoyment.
We award the Colledilà Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2019 with a 94-point DWA score.
Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2018
First of all, the beautiful ruby red colour of this wine is amazing! An elegant nose with fresh red fruit but also flowers (violets) and ripe fruit such as peach and strawberry. Additionally, the wine has notes of wood and vanilla.
This Gran Selezione is well balanced, with intense flavours and a nose that perfectly matches the palette. This red ruby offers a smooth and fulfilling experience that leaves a warm aftertaste.
We award the Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2018 with a 96-point DWA score.
Preserving the Terroir: Sustainable Viticulture at Ricasoli
While Ricasoli’s historical legacy is certainly impressive, it is equally notable for its forward-thinking approach to sustainability. Under the ownership of Baron Francesco Ricasoli the winery has made significant strides in ensuring that their vineyards remain sustainable for future generations.
One of the key pillars of Ricasoli’s sustainability efforts is the ongoing study of clonal selection and soil types. These studies are essential for understanding how to optimize the growth of Sangiovese grapes, the backbone of Chianti Classico wines. By continually refining their knowledge of the land, Ricasoli aims to unlock even greater quality in their wines.
The commitment to sustainability extends beyond the vineyards. Ricasoli has implemented eco-friendly practices throughout their winemaking process, from reducing water consumption to minimizing waste and energy usage. These efforts not only align with modern environmental standards but also reflect the winery’s deep respect for the land that has been in their family for centuries.
Ricasoli Winery stands as a beacon of quality and tradition in the Chianti Classico region. With its deep roots in winemaking history and a forward-looking approach to sustainability and innovation, Ricasoli continues to craft exceptional wines that capture the essence of this iconic Italian wine region. Whether you are savoring a glass of their Chianti Classico or exploring their other offerings, Ricasoli promises an unforgettable journey through the world of Tuscan wine.