Castell in Villa
Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena, Toscana
Castell’in Villa is one of the great names in Chianti Classico.
It is owned and run by Princess Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa who bought the estate with her husband in 1968 as part of a planned retirement.
At that time the couple had no real interest in making wine, it was when the old collective based feudal system (mezzadria) was crumbling and much of Tuscany was for sale. With the 298 hectares had come a community whose labours had maintained and shaped the hamlet, a rural idyll that is no more.
The first vineyards were planted under the advice of the Consorzio of Chianti Classico; Sangiovese, some Canaiolo and Colorino along with the mandatory white grapes.
Fortunately, Giacomo Tachis got involved with the estate having spent a number of years buying their grapes (for Antinori’s Tignanello). He advised that Cabernet Sauvignon should be grafted over the Canaiolo and Colorino and that the white grapes only be used for a limited production of Vin Santo.
Coralia’s wines are remarkably consistent; they have no time for fashion and follow her long held theory that ‘Sangiovese is a very delicate variety, perhaps not the greatest, but a charming variety which with bottle age can achieve greatness.
The 298 hectare estate (with a modest 54 hectares of vineyards) sits atop a hill in Castelnuovo Berardenga. Most of its vineyards are on the south facing sides of the hill – with olive groves and forest interspersed throughout.