Poderi Castellare di Castellina is a company of about 80 hectares in the heart of the Chianti Classico area, close to the village of Castellina in Chianti. The hectares of vineyard are almost 33, located on the hills of a natural amphitheatre facing southeast. The production is of about 250.000 bottles of wine per year. To a middle altitude of 370 m. above sea level the vineyards have an age between 5 and 30 years. Besides the vineyards there are about 12 hectares of olive-groves and 15 hectares with a mixed cultivation. The rest is wood. Castellare di Castellina was born in 1968 from the consolidation of five farms. The gain for hectare of Castellare are very small, clearly below what the Docgs Chianti Classico regulations determine to be the maximum allowed. A good exposure to the sun, a good drain of the water, a mixed ground of calcareous marls, galestro and little clay give wines both red and white, which are very well structured, intense and proper for a long ageing in bottle.
The production of a medium range vintage is of around 130.000 bottles of Chianti Classico and (in the best vintages) of Chianti Classico Reserva; 50.000 bottles of Governo, a red that recalls the traditions of Chianti and its fruity and fresh characteristics; 35.000 bottles of I Sodi di San Niccolò, the Tuscan wine produced with native vines (Sangioveto and Malvasia Nera) with the highest absolute rating in the classifications of Wine Spectator (96/100); and 15.000 bottles of white wines like Le Ginestre, a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc; like Canonico, a Chardonnay in purity fermented in barriques, and Lo Spartito, a Sauvignon equally fermented in barriques. Finally, some thousand of bottles of Vin Santo and 4-5.000 bottles of Coniale, an extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignon in purity fermented in barriques (90 + from Robert Parker and 92/100 from Wine Spectator), and of Poggio ai Merli, merlot in purity (92/100 from Wine Spectator).
From the end of the 70's the company belongs to Paolo Panerai. A census of the grapevines, immediately undertaken after the purchase, has allowed to select the best kind of Sangioveto, the noble native version of the Sangiovese, and Malvasia Nera, a variety that allows to give a particular character to Sodi di San Niccolò. An experimental vineyard planted in partnership with the University of Milan, the University of Florence and the Institute of San Michele all'Adige has allowed the continuous research on the best clones as well as the production of grapevines selected for the renovation of the vineyards.
The wine cellar is endowed with steel fermentation tanks and the temperature control system. The refinement of wines is made into the steel tanks, or in barriques of French wood. Both the vineyards and the wine cellar are managed by the manager and enologist Alessandro Cellai.
I Sodi di San Niccolò is the proof that the varieties of native vines of the area may give a wine with the highest international standards, without the support of French or international vines. With 85-90% of Sangioveto and 10-15% of Malvasia Nera, I Sodi comes from the two best cru of the farm. After a rigorous selection during the vintage the grapes are fermented in the steel tanks at controlled temperature. At the end of the malolactic fermentation, the wine is decanted in wood barriques of Allier, Troncais, Nevers, Limousin and Vosges oak, made from different coopers, for a 12-18 month-old elevation, according to the year.
The word "i sodi" was used by the Tuscan farmers to describe those grounds which had to be handmade, being too hard (that's I Sodi) or too steep to allow the employment of the horses , unlike the "fields", that are the grounds more easily cultivable. San Niccolò is the name of the Church of 1300 which stands in the Castellare farm and around which are some of the best positions of the vineyards. A different bird chosen among the dying species is reproduced every year on the labels of Castellare, as a sign of the care towards the environment that drives the production of Castellare. In fact, the use of herbicides and pesticides is avoided as well as of any other kind of systemic chemical product. Hunting's prohibition, together with this kind of cultivation, has favoured the return of many species of local fauna once much more diffused in the area.
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