Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Award winning wines of Fabrizio Dionisio in Cortona

Cortona is located in the southeastern part of Tuscany. I was excited to taste the wines of Fabrizio Dionisio because Cortona is one of my top favorite towns in Tuscany. I also loved that he features wines made from Syrah since I wasn't aware of this grape being grown here, but after tasting these wines and learning about the success of this grape in this terroir I was very pleased!
Santa Maria del Calcinaio Cortona Tuscany
Santa Maria del Calcinaio of  Cortona Tuscany

The two vineyard sites they own are Il Castagno and Poggio del Sole. The winery is now run by Fabrizio Dionisio, but his father Sergio Dionisio founded the estate in the early 1970's with originally about 17 acres (7 hectacres). Years later in 1992 he purchased another estate that now brings their total acreage to about 37 acres (15 hectacres) with about a 30,000 bottle production. The estate and vineyards are set in the hills of Cortona surrounded by the splendid sunflower fields and olive groves and perched up on the hill is the fabulous town of Cortona. The vineyards were completely replanted in the early 2000's with the syrah grape and small amounts of merlot and cabernet sauvignon after the trebbiano and sangiovese grapes that had been growing there were overgrown.

Fabrizio Dionisio syrah in Cortona
Barrels of Fabrizio Dionisio

The labels of the estate are fun as the daughter of Fabrizio drew them. I tasted the 2011 Castagnino and Il Castagno. The Castagnino is the little brother to their signature wine, Il Castagno. The difference between this wine and that one is that the Castagnino is not aged in oak and is instead aged in stainless steel and cement vats. The nose is very appealing on this wine because the aromas of the fruit are very rich. It's a very fruit driven wine dominated by plums and blackberries. It is full bodied with nice concentration and soft tannins. Probably a great match with a steak in a red wine glaze.

Fabrizio Dionisio Il Castagno Syrah Cortona

The signature wine, Il Castagno D.O.C., was first produced in 2003 and is made of 100% syrah. It is produced in low yields as the Castagnino also is. Fermentation and maceration both take place for 3 weeks a piece and the malolactic fermentation is off of the free-run juice as the winery never presses their grapes. Its on the lees for about 15 months and aged in french oak barrels. On the nose is enjoyable vanilla from the oak. This wine is very structured and well balanced with rich black berries aromas and spice, but also has a velvety and silkiness throughout.

Both of these wines have received multiple awards from Antonio Galloni, Wine Spectator, James Suckling and the Wine Enthusiast.

The goal of Fabrizio and his team is to create wine “with soul” using current technologies and practices, but manually taking part in every step of the process. I wanted to share a great quote that Fabrizio expresses to exemplify the purpose of the estate and their quality of production:

It is our conviction that such a method of operation is the best way to respect, and to please, not only nature and its fruits, but those as well who will be enjoying our wines.
We believe that restricting ourselves to very small quantities and exercising painstaking care both in the vineyard and in the winemaking, and of course, using only our own estate grapes, constitute the only path to absolute quality. Our winery, then, is wholly artisanal, a kind of workshop, or even workbench, a boutique. Where we work in a simple, ethical way. And we firmly intend to remain just this way forever, since we do not live, nor would we ever want to live, for high numbers and quantity, but only for quality.”
- Fabrizio Dionisio
Piazza della Repubblica Cortona
Picking up my wedding sunflower bouquet from Cortona

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