Did you know that Barone Ricasoli is the oldest winery in Italy and the second oldest winery in the world? Did you also know that Baron Bettino Ricasoli invented the Chianti blend in 1872? So much history at one winery, and we were lucky to have Barone Francesco Ricasoli to be in Vancouver to lead me and other wine trade people through a tasting of their more recent wines.
The Ricasoli own approximately 240 ha of vines in the Brolio region which makes them the largest property in Chianti Classico. The vineyard and winery did suffer over time, with the Ricasoli family not owning the land for a period of 20 years. With Barone Francesco Ricasoli at the helm it took him 25 years to replant the vineyards and rebuild the winery. While firmly planted in history, the Barone looks to technology to help make the vineyards and winery produce the best wines possible. The Barone had an extensive geological analysis of their vineyards to determine the different types of soils and sub-soils, and what to plant in the 4-5 distinct soil types deemed the best for grape growing. They employed Precision Agriculture, which uses technologies such as satellites and GPS, to identify problem areas within a vineyard, so that they can treat specific areas with fungicides for example, without having to spray the entire vineyard.
When I think of Barone Ricasoli, and the Chianti region, I think of the Sangiovese grape and red wine, but I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that white and rosé wines are also made there. We were treated to the Barone Ricasoli Toscana Albia Rosé 2016 and the Torricella Chardonnay di Toscana IGT 2013. On the red side, we tried 6 different Chianti wines made by Barone Ricasoli; just a few from a much larger selection produced by the winery; with some of the wines coming from single vineyards. Let me introduce you to these wines.
My Tasting Notes
Barone Ricasoli Toscana Albia Rosé 2016 – This rosé wine is made using a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot grapes. The wine is pale pear skin colour. Medium intensity nose with aromas of crisp red fruit and a hint of honey. Dry, medium body; soft but with bright acidity. Flavours of tart red fruits and red apples, with red cherries on the finish. A quality rosé.
Barone Ricasoli Torricella Chardonnay di Toscana IGT 2013 – This wine is primarily made from Chardonnay but does have a little bit of Sauvignon Blanc added to it, and is barrel fermented. The wine is a bright, deep lemon colour in the glass. A beautiful nose; intense floral, vanilla, apricot and tropical fruits on the nose. These aromas carry over to flavours on the palate. The wine is dry and soft, with a light mouthfeel. Medium plus acidity. Tart finish, with a hint of oak throughout. Very pretty. I love this wine.
For their red wines, they have 70-80 parcels of vineyards to choose from. Each parcel is harvested separately, vinified separately and aged, before blending.
Barone Ricasoli Rocca Guicciarda Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2014 – the grapes for this wine come from the grapes meant for the Castello di Brolio, when the quality does not meet the Brolio level. This is a blend of 80% Sangiovese and the remaining Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine is deep garnet in colour. Medium intensity nose, with aromas of capsicum and red fruit. Fuller body, dry with medium tannins. There is also some capsicum on the palate but that fades quite quickly. You get cedar, oak, red fruits, cherries, and sweet spices, with a hint of floral, and a mineral streak on the palate. The wine is soft, almost silky with a red fruit and sweet spice finish.
Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2013 – Sweet ripe red and black fruit, along with sweet spices on the nose. This wine is full-bodied, round, with fine tannins. Red fruit and cassis on the palate. Tart red fruit followed by red cherries and a soft, fine tannic finish. A pretty wine. –
Barone Ricasoli Casalferro Rosso Toscana IGT 2013 – This wine is made from 100% Merlot. Pre-2007 the wine was a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. This wine is from a single vineyard and is only made in very good years. As such, there was no 2014 vintage. 2013 was the 20th vintage of this wine and it has a special black coloured label. This wine was almost opaque ruby and garnet in the glass. It had a lighter intensity nose, with touches of oak, floral and red cherries. Dry, medium plus body with a lighter mouthfeel, and firmer tannins. Raspberries, ripe, sweet red fruits, cherries and sweet vanilla. Finishing with sweet fruits and sweet spice.
Barone Ricasoli Colledilà Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2013 – Colledilà is the cru of the Chianti Classico DOCG region. It is 100% Sangiovese. This wine is medium minus garnet in colour; translucent throughout. Light nose, with aromas of red fruits and sweet spices. Full bodied and firmer tannins. Flavours of red apples and red fruits, along with sweet spices and a mineral undertone. Tart red fruit and puckering finish. Tannins do not finish overly strong. –
Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2011 – This wine was deep garnet in colour; slightly translucent. It had an Old World cerdary oak nose, along with ripe sweet red fruit and aromas. Full body, round and soft with a mineral streak. Sweet, soft tannins. Red fruit, raspberries and blueberries, along with nutmeg sweet spice. Finishing with a mix of tart and sweet red fruits and sweet spices. Medium length.
Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Gran Selezione 2013 – a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Medium to medium minus garnet colour; very translucent. Light nose, with aromas of red cherries and sweet spices. Medium plus body, higher acidity, but still has some smoothness. Medium minus mouthfeel and medium minus tannins. Bright, red fruits, some tart red fruits and sweet spices. Finishes with some vanilla and sweet spices.
All the Chiantis I tried at this tasting were of very good quality and you should be happy to enjoy any bottle.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
The BC liquor stores do carry some wines by Barone Ricasoli. The wines above are carried through private wine shops, so it is best to contact the private shop nearest to you.