Great participation to the third edition of the DCC Global Tasting organized by Domini Castellare di Castellina to celebrate the 40 harvests of I Sodi di S. Niccolò, the Super Tuscan by Castellare di Castellina. On Thursday 27 May, 230 wine trade partners were connected simultaneously from 4 continents, challenging the different time zones, to exchange opinions on the 2017 vintage of I Sodi di S. Niccolò, but also to taste the new vintages of two other Grand Crus of the DCC companies : Rocca di Frassinello 2017, flagship wine of the namesake winery located in the Tuscan Maremma, and L’eterno 2016, the top label of the Sicilian winery Feudi del Pisciotto.

The tasting was opened by Paolo Panerai, President of the DCC group, who then gave the floor to the oenologist and executive vice president, Alessandro Cellai, and to the renewed Italian Wine Expert Daniele Cernilli of Doctor Wine who led the tasting with Cellai.

The new vintage of I Sodi di S. Niccolò, which this year celebrates its 40 Harvests, was presented by the oenologist Alessandro Cellai who told the story of this Super Tuscan made exclusively with Chianti Classico native vines: 85% Sangioveto and 15% Malvasia Nera from the two best Crus of Castellare di Castellina. Cellai stressed that 2017 was not an easy year “because it was characterized by a very long period of drought and rather high temperatures. However, thanks to the very favorable geographical location of Castellare vineyards, the wine has achieved an extraordinary balance ”.

Daniele Cernilli of Doctor Wine began by saying that he had tasted all the vintages of I Sodi di S. Niccolò, from 1977 to today, and that he has found the 2017 “a vintage of great elegance with a complex nose and a dynamic balance between the two key elements of a wine: acidity and tannins. A balance that is difficult to achieve in hot years, when tannins usually prevail. I Sodi is elegant, very long on the palate and persistent. The oak is not prominent and this is another plus. It’s easy to drink and excellently expresses the Chianti Classico terroir. That’s the reason why the Italian and foreign critics have always rewarded it with very high ratings”.

I Sodi di S. Niccolò 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. Since then, 40 harvests have followed (only the 1978 wasn’t bottled) collecting many important awards up to twice obtaining, first with 2013 vintage and again with 2016 vintage, the title of First Italian Red Wine. In fact, by adding the scores of 98 pts by Antonio Galloni, 96+ by Robert Parker, 96 by Wine Spectator, 95 by James Sucking, to the scores awarded by the 5 most authoritative Italian guides, in 2021 the 2016 vintage ranked first with a total score of 960 points, followed by Solaia (with 958,5 points) and Sassicaia with 956 points.

The tasting continued with L’eterno, 100% Pinot Noir of the Sicilian winery Feudi del Pisciotto. “2016 in Sicily was one of the best harvests of the last 25 years – underlined Cellai – because it was a mild year, refreshed by the sea breeze that ventilated the vineyards, especially the higher ones, where Pinot Noir grows. And the results have been amazing”.

“Pinot Noir is a very unusual variety for Sicily – said Cernilli – yet you did a great job with L’eterno. You can smell balsamic hints that are typical of the Mediterranean Pinot Noir. In addition to acidity, L’eterno shows an uncommon roundness that is another characteristic of Mediterranean wines. It has a warm finish and is very pleasant on the palate. In a few words, it’s a Pinot Noir with a perfectly recognizable Sicilian character”.

From Sicily back to Tuscany to taste Rocca di Frassinello 2017, the Grand Vin of the namesake winery born in the Tuscan Maremma from a joint-venture between Castellare di Castellina and Chateau-Lafite. Presenting the wine, Alessandro Cellai has underlined how 2017 was a difficult year also in Maremma. However, even in this case, thanks to the sea breezes and the strong temperature range that mitigated the climate, it was possible to obtain excellent results.

“The most evident characteristic of this wine – underlined Cernilli – is its concentration: Sangiovese is more mature than the one of Chianti Classico and so are Cabernet and Merlot. This is because Maremma is a sunny land and Rocca di Frassinello wines perfectly express this Mediterranean character. The 2017 vintage is warm in the mouth and, even if you can feel the tannins, they are not aggressive, they are velvety “.

At the end of the tasting, Paolo Panerai talked about the little birds of Castellare which, from the first vintage, are depicted on the labels as a symbol of the daily commitment to sustainable viticulture. To memorably celebrate the 40 harvests, a limited edition of I Sodi di S. Niccolò was produced in large sizes of 15 and 18 liters with the 40 birds of the 40 vintages on the label. The first example of both formats will be auctioned by Christie’s London in September. The large formats come together with a numbered copy of an illustrated art book, translated in Italian, English and Chinese, featuring the original drawings of the birds depicted on I Sodi di S. Niccolò hand-painted by John Gould, the most important English ornithologist and artist of the 19th century.