A Really Old New Wine

ThinkstockPhotos-498063841.jpgOver a period of nearly 4,000 years the inhabitants of the Italian peninsula have fostered a wine-loving culture. Vineyards have been planted in every region of this diverse country. From the foothills of the Alps to the toe of the boot and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, wine is everywhere. But can anyone claim to be the oldest winery in Italy?

The name Ricasoli has been linked to wine since 1141 when the Brolio Castle passed into the hands of the Ricasoli family. The family tree, reproduced in print from 1584, is one of the first images we have of Chianti. After centuries of defending the lands, the Ricasolis dedicated themselves to the development of agriculture and vineyards.

In 1872, after more than 30 years of research and experimentation, Baron Bettino Ricasoli wrote down the formula for modern day Chianti. He determined that Chianti should be produced mainly from Sangiovese with the possible addition of Canaiolo and Malvasia. The production rules have been modified over the years; however Sangiovese still plays the leading role with a maximum permitted amount of 20% of other red grapes now allowed.

Today Ricasoli is the largest winery in the Chianti Classico zone. Brolio Castle, where Baron Bettino Ricasoli invented the Chianti blueprint, is surrounded by 1,200 hectares of forest as well as 235 hectares of vineyards and 26 hectares of olive groves. Francesco Ricasoli has been at the helm of the family business since 1993 and has continued a tradition of fine wine production started nearly 1,000 years ago by his ancestors.Rocca Guicciarda.JPG

Barone Ricasoli Rocca Guicciarda Chianti Classico Riserva is the newest addition to our already stellar selection of wines from the Chianti Classico region. The Wine Spectator awarded the 2012 vintage 90 points: “Bright plum, black cherry and leather flavors pick up accents of spice as this red builds on the palate. Firms up on the finish, but lingers with a crisp feel and echoes of spice.”

Paul Quaglini, Wine & Spirits Supervisor

Follow me on Twitter @abcwinepaulq

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