Castell’in Villa, the Tuscan Princess

Much can be said about the Greekborn princess Coralia Pignatellei della Leonessa, but she sure knows how to make wine! The Sangiovese grape is one of my favorites, much due to this woman.

Castell´in villa 71

I personally think that ”La Principessa” makes the best wine in all of Tuscany. She strongly dislikes the taste of oak and the modernistic way of producing wine, and believes that the Sangiovese grape needs to show its wonderful character with no disturbing elements. And I love her for that!

83Coralia entered the winemaking business in 1971 together with her husband, but since he passed in 1985, she has run the estate on her own, paying close attention to every detail in the production.

Her wine stocks are very old, even the ones that produces their Chianti Classico has an average age of 40 years, and she has 54 hectares of vineyards grown ecologically. Coralia never produces more than 100 000 bottles per year, using only the best grapes for her own wine, and selling the rest to other wine producers in the area (could be worth checking out).

Castell´in VillaAll the grapes are harvested by hand, and the wine is spontaneously fermented before stored in old, Italian “bottis” for 12 months. This creates traditional Chianti Classico wines that taste of nothing but the grape and the soil it grew up from.

She never releases her wine before she thinks they are ready to drink, and that is often several years after her colleagues have released their bottles. She believes that her regular Chianti Classico could be stored for 10-15 years, and that her Riserva bottles shows their true potential after 15-20 years. Luckily for us, she always keeps a few bottles of every vintage, which makes it possible to get hold of them years after the original release.

Castell´in Villa95Castell´in Villa makes wine that handles storage very well. The oldest bottle I have tasted was their first release, the Chianti Classico Riserva from 1971. It was pure elegance! The Sangiovese grape really keeps its freshness and fruitiness well when made right. The Riserva 75 was also perfect, while the 82 needed more time in the glass. The 1995 Riserva is one of my all time favorite bottles!

While drinking these older vintages are true highlights for me, I also love the fresh bottles. So in conclusion, if you come across older vintages of Castell´in Villa, don´t hesitate to buy, but buy the fresh ones too. It is good to drink now, or will pay off in the future.

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