Barone Ricasoli has the distinction of being the oldest winery in Italy, said to be the second oldest in the world, dating back to 1141. The Brolio castle is majestic, regarded as a palace, a landmark in the tapestry of Tuscan history. The vineyards that surround it are among the best in the region, cited in Gaiole and Castelnuovo Berardenga. It is also responsible for the birth of modern Chianti, it was Baron Bettino Ricasoli who wrote down the formula in a famous letter to Professor Cesare Studiati at the University of Pisa. Today they continue to make a market leading and world-famous Chianti. However, since the 1990s when Francesco Ricasoli took over the firm, the Estate has invested in research and implanting modern methods to their superb terroir. This included a number of plantings of modern grape varieties and the creation of their Super Tuscan Casalferro. Casalferro is a single varietal Merlot, deriving from a single plot of land. This gives it the distinction of being a 100% Merlot, from a leading Estate: other famous example of these are Masseto which costs £350+ per bottle on release, Redigaffi £200+ per bottle and Messorio £100+ per bottle. Today we are delighted to release Barone Ricasoli Casalferro from the superb 2015 vintage for £195 per case of six. In 2015, it has been awarded 95 points from James Suckling, which at £32.50 a bottle offers immense value.
The 2015 vintage was superb across the leading regions in Europe. In Tuscany, it saw exceptionally dry and hot weather during the summer resulting in concentrated ripe berries. The wines have been met with real excitement, particularly those heralding from Chianti, reminiscent of the 2010 vintage. As such, we have chosen this vintage to introduce this superb Super Tuscan Merlot. We tasted it yesterday and it is a rich full bodied Merlot, with plenty of high notes, such as eucalyptus. It displays excellent purity of fruit, with blackberries, plums and sweet spice. There is plenty of delicious minerality and excellent power.
The vines have an average age of 30 years and are grown on the Casalferro vineyard, which has an elevation of 400 metres and faces South-southeast. The land forms part of the geological formation ‘Monte Morello’ which is Paleocene-Eocene in origin. As such the brown soil has a fine clay structure, it is very chalky, with a sub alkaline pH and little organic content. It provides superb drainage, is very stony and has average water-holding capacity. All perfect for growing Merlot in Chianti. The 2015 is a superb proposition and a superb prospect for those who want to savour Tuscany Merlot from a leading Estate, at less than an order of magnitude of the price of Masseto.
In addition to this we have a very special and hard to source wine from this Estate. Barone Ricasoli are famous for making one of the finest Vin Santo in Tuscany. Neal Martin recently awarded 98 points to their 1982, the joint second highest ever for a Vin Santo. The 2009 is a new incarnation of this, already being awarded 95 points from Neal Martin who says ‘This is a gorgeous dessert wine in the prime of its youth. It boasts stunning fruit intensity and precision. In appearance, it shows a luminous golden colour with amber highlights. It captures and reflects the ambient light with extra sparkle. On the nose, the wine peels back to layers of dried apricot, tropical fruit, honey and candied orange peel. Delicate mineral notes add to the wine’s overall elegance and persistence.’
Vin Santo is one of the world’s leading sweet wines. The Malvasia in September or October and are hung on rafters for several months, which dries them completely, with the moisture in the grape evaporating. The must is obtained by light crushing and fermentation begins and is completed slowly. They then age the wine in 225-litre half-barriques of oak. Barone Ricasoli makes this only for family and friends, with very little being sold commercially, what is sold is snapped up very quickly.
This can be enjoyed immensely now, but age for 50 years plus. It can be delightful as an aperitif, or with desert, or after dinner. What is most extraordinary is that we can offer this today for £22.50 per 50cl bottle, which with 95 points, gives it a Price Over Points Score of 16, this is hard to beat. As such, Vin Santo is one of the best priced great wines in the world. We can offer cases of six today for £135, which is amazing value.
Both are available by the end of November, ready for Christmas. I will be drinking the Vin Santo on Christmas day, hopefully dipping biscotti, it is a knockout.
Barone Ricasoli Casalferro 2015 , 6×75 – £195 IB
95 Points, James Suckling
Blackberries, blackcurrants, dark plums, Chinese spices and hints of vanilla. Full body, incredibly structured tannins, plenty of juicy blue fruit and a long finish. It’s all so balanced and refined yet muscular. Better in 2020.
Special Offer: Buy two cases or more for £190 IB per 6×75
Castello di Brolio Vin Santo 2009, 6×50 – £135 IB
95 Points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
The 2009 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio is Malvasia with tiny parts Sangiovese and Trebbiano Toscana in supporting roles. This is a gorgeous dessert wine in the prime of its youth. It boasts stunning fruit intensity and precision. In appearance, it shows a luminous golden color with amber highlights. It captures and reflects the ambient light with extra sparkle. On the nose, the wine peels back to layers of dried apricot, tropical fruit, honey and candied orange peel. Delicate mineral notes add to the wine’s overall elegance and persistence. The mouthfeel is creamy, rich and almost succulent, thanks to this Vin Santo’s expertly measured sweetness.
To buy this wine, click here