Monday, June 16, 2014

Famous Castello di Cacchiano estate & Giovanni Ricasoli-Firidolfi

Last week I discussed the Lega del Chianti conference that
Giovanni Sordi asked me to promote. One of the wineries present at the event was Castello di Cacchiano located in Gaiole in the province of Siena within the region of Tuscany. This is the heart of the Chianti Classico territory. In a matter of days following the event, small world, but I had the opportunity to meet the owner of Castello di Cacchiano, Baron Giovanni Ricasoli-Firidolfi, at the Tuscan Market in Salem, NH.
Gaiole in Chianti and Monti in Chianti

Castello di Cacchiano is one of the most historic estates in Tuscany housing one of the most noble families and oldest wine producers. The theme of their website is “Identity, Engagement Heart”, and after meeting with Giovanni hearing the history and tasting his wines I can see why. Giovanni states that identity is not only determined by the soil, climate and the environment, but also the work that goes into the wine producing. Engagement is those of the past, present and future of making wine at Castello di Cacchiano. Lastly, the love and desire of what drives the whole operation is the heart behind it all.

Giovanni Ricasoli-Firidolfi from Castello di Cacchiano
Giovanni began his engagement in the world of wine in 1984. Giovanni's famous ancestor, Baron Bettino Ricasoli, whom was Prime Minister of Italy at the beginning of Italy's unification and was one of the men in the very beginning whom formulated what we know today as Chianti Classico.

The Cacchiano Castle was founded in the 10th century and has been in the Ricasoli family for over 1,000 years. Winemaking here dates back to the 12th century. The history at this castle is intriguing as it defended the Florentine territory during the battles of Florence and Siena in the Middle Ages. Today, this estate consists of 495 acres (200 hectacres) with 60 acres (25 hectacres) dedicated to vineyards and the rest dedicated to their olive oil production. The vineyards lie at about 1300 feet above sea level with most slopes southern facing. They produce about 10,000 cases annually.

The wines from the tasting including the following:

  • 2010 Toscana Rosso
  • 2009 Chianti Classico
  • 2006 Chianto Classico Riserva
  • 2007 Millennio
  • 2007 FonteMerlano Toscana

2007 Castello di Cacchiano Millennio Chianti ClassicoThe most impressive to me was the 2007 Millennio, meaning 1,000 years, which represents the thousand year anniversary of the estate. This wine is not produced ever year, as in 2008, as it comes from the best of the best grapes from their vineyard site. Winemakers could only wish for perfect growing seasons every year, but it is what it is and this is what makes this wine so very special. Of all the wines, this was the most elegant and silky on the palate with deep plum notes and great balance throughout. It's made of 100% sangiovese and is aged in barriques and matured for 30 months. It was rated 93 points from Wine Spectator and received a number of other awards. Starting with the 2009 Millennio it will now fall under the new and highest classification for Chianti Classico previously discussed, Gran Selezione.

Being a lover of sangiovese I was also very impressed with the Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva with more of a preference for the Riserva. The youth of these wines and their aging potential. The tannin and structure of the wines were powerful with the Riserva showing a richness and noticeable fruit profile on the back end. The blend of these two wines are the same with 95% sangiovese and the other 5% consisting of canaiolo, malvasia nera and colorino grapes. Giovanni stated that the 2006 vintage was one of the best from the decade. The Riserva had been aged 36 months in French barriques. It's a perfect pairing with meat due to the acidity in the wine.

I finished with the FonteMerlano, which was 100% Merlot. This is another wine not produced annually depending on quality as in 2009. It was full bodied with subtle tannins, but also presented elements of the land through the minerals displayed in the wine. This wine was aged 19 months in barriques.

I experienced the perfect combination of history, “identity, engagement, and heart”. Don't miss the opportunity to try these wines.

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