Castellare di Castellina
At the height of the Italian wine renaissance in the 1970s, winemaker Paolo Panerai united four estates, Castellare, Caselle, San Niccolò and Le Case, to create the 80 hectare property today known as Castellare di Castellina. The estate has 33 hectares of vineyards planted on hillsides in the heart of Chianti Classico on a natural amphitheatre which ensures excellent exposure and good drainage.
The soils here are a mixture of limestone, clay, and galestro which is a rocky, marl-like soil commonly found in Tuscany. Along with the low yields and average altitude of 370 metres, these conditions help to craft intense, well-defined wines with excellent ageing potential.
Castellare predominantly works with traditional Tuscan varieties, although it also produces a single varietal Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The estate has done extensive research into Sangiovese and collaborated with the University of Milan and Florence to found Chianti’s first experimental vineyard to study the characteristics of various Sangiovese clones. Castellare also has a sister estate, Rocca di Frassinello, in Maremma where Sangiovese is blended with Bordeaux varietals.
Although respect for Tuscan traditions is a core part of Castellare’s philosophy, the winery became one of the first in Italy to start using small French oak barrels for maturation. Castellare’s top wine is I Sodi San Niccolò which is composed of 85-90% Sangioveto and 10-15% Malvasia Nera and aged in 50% new French oak barrels for up to 30 months. This exceptional wine frequently ranks in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines and has also won Tre Bicchieri Gambero Rosso and Cinque Grappoli Bibenda awards.
The estate also produces an excellent range of Chianti Classicos which have also previously been ranked in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines. These include the Chianti Classico Riserva Il Poggiale crafted from an outstanding single vineyard and their Chianti Classico Riserva which is made from the best grapes selected from across the estate each year.