In the Insider Weekly column of the wine bible, Castellare flagship wine is the Italian label with the highest score.

1 The Insider Weekly column of the American magazine Wine Spectator, issued on 28 July, has awarded the vintage 2017 of I Sodi di S. Niccolò by Castellare di Castellina with 96 points, the highest score assigned to Italian wines. A great result considering that the 2017 harvest was particularly difficult, characterized by a very long period of drought and rather high temperatures. The same score of 96 has been attributed to Masseto by Ornellaia, but to the 2018 vintage, definitely more favorable than the 2017.

“Toasty oak – writes Bruce Sanderson in his review on the vintage 2017 – gives way to bright cherry, blackberry and violet aromas and flavors in this sleek, vibrant red, with wild herb, tobacco and mineral notes adding complexity. Supple, yet there’s a firm matrix of refined tannins and the finish is defined by lively acidity and finesse. Sangioveto and Malvasia Nera. Best from 2024 through 2045”.

The 96 points to the vintage 2017 come when I Sodi di S. Niccolò celebrate its 40 harvests. And it’s a further confirmation for Castellare’s flagship wine that both with the 2013 and 2016 vintages was ranked 1st Italian red wine, ahead of Solaia and Sassicaia, by adding the scores of the Italian and international wine critics.

I Sodi di S. Niccolò has marked the history of Italian oenology. In fact, it was the first Italian wine to be included in Wine Spectator’s inaugural Top 100 list (1988) with the 1985 vintage, and again in 1989 with the 1986 vintage. A wine whose name was suggested by the famous wine writer and connoisseur Luigi Veronelli after tasting the first vintage, the 1977.

“With Luigi Veronelli”, tells Paolo Panerai, journalist, editor and patron of Castellare di Castellina, “we were descending from Castellare di Castellina cellar towards the most beautiful vineyard of the estate: the one that the old sharecroppers had named “Vigna de’ sodi” (“sodi” meaning “hard” in Italian) because of the soil rich in stones: the best for making wine. On the right appeared the Church of St. Niccolò, dating from the 1300s, surrounded by another vineyard, called after the saint, with the same hard soil. Luigi suddenly stopped and said: ‘Paolo, here is the name for your extraordinary wine: I Sodi di S. Niccolò, but with the article ‘I’ before the name, please. Because that, and only that, will be the amazing wine that will bear this name”.

Still in the Insider Weekly column issued on 28 July, Wine Spectator rated two other Castellare’s Grand Crus: Poggio ai Merli 2019, Merlot in purity which got 94 points, and Coniale 2017, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon awarded with 93 points:

Poggio ai Merli 2019: “This rich red is saturated with black cherry, black currant, tar, wild rosemary and cedar flavors. Beautifully layered, ripe and fresh, with a lingering fruity and savory aftertaste and refined tannins. Merlot. Drink now through 2030”. – B.S.

Poggio ai Merli 19

Coniale 2017: “This red features ripe cherry, currant, loam, Tuscan scrub and bitter almond flavors, with a mineral underpinning. Firm and taut, with a beam of acidity driving the lingering finish. Balanced in a compact way, this should unwind in a year or two. Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2023 through 2032”. – B.S.

Coniale 17