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Podere Castellinuzza: the 2015 vintage, ultimate Chianti Classico from Lamole

by Claudio Celio

Podere Castellinuzza is a small winery in Lamole, an enclave of the Greve in Chianti municipality at approximately 1,640 feet (500 meters) above sea level, where we find some of the highest-altitude vineyards in Chianti Classico.

Now a favorite location to those who appreciate a more elegant, delicate style of Chianti, Lamole was once home to generations of sharecroppers and tough, unrewarding work on difficult terrain.

That’s how it was for Podere Castellinuzza: a small, family-run farm going back to the early 1960s and now run by Paolo Coccia with his wife and daughters. A little over 3 hectares (7.4 acres), organically cultivated and planted with very old vines (up to 50 years old), and minimal outside intervention in the winery yield wines that are, overall, excellent year after year. These wines reflect their terroir to an amazing degree and provide a quality-price ratio that’s very hard to beat.

If this is true for many of the vintages I’ve tasted over the years, it is all the more so for the 2015 vintage I encountered in the course of the Chianti Classico yearly preview recently held in Florence.

The wine has actually not yet been released: “The 2015 vintage is completing its élevage in cement vats, where it will sojourn several more months at least, prior to bottling and release, no earlier than September,” says Serena Coccia.

2015 was surely a hot vintage, generally conducive to forward, up-front wines ready to be enjoyed early on; Podere Castellinuzza 2015 Chianti Classico managed to combine this characteristic with a finesse and delicacy hard to find in other Chiantis from this vintage. “2015 was a favorable year that gave us perfectly ripe, pristine and wholesome grapes,” said Serena. “Unlike many Chianti districts where the vintage was outright hot, Lamole’s higher altitude turned it into a very well balanced year.”

This balance went straight into the wines: their 2015 Chianti Classico welcomes one with an unbelievably generous bouquet showing distinctively ‘Lamole’ notes with clear-cut floral sensations, particularly reminiscent of blue flowers like iris.

The palate is firm, clean, lively and fresh throughout, with no softness or weakness from the elsewhere sultry vintage; it steers towards fruitier nuances of raspberry and cherry on the finish, with an aftertaste of red flowers, notably geranium.

In the kitchen, recommended pairings are classically Tuscan: from pici al ragù [traditional thick, handmade spaghetti from the area around Siena, with meat sauce] to charcoal-grilled meat.