Barone Ricasoli Casalferro 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
During my visit to Barone Ricasoli, Francesco Ricasoli described the 2018 vintage as challenging and 2019 as balanced. The 2018 Casalferro, made from 100% Merlot, takes on that challenge. The last vintage we saw was 2016, because this wine was not produced in the scorching hot 2017 vintage. In fact, this edition was released later than normal and the price point is higher. The bottle sports a new design. Cool-climate fruit, sourced from various sites, including one that is located 500 meters above sea level, is the Casalferro secret. It delivers vertical power and intensity with dark fruit, spice and dried mint. This wine is drinking beautifully right now.
A mouthfilling version, this red delivers plum, loam, cedar and sweet spice flavors. Balanced, with dense yet well-integrated tannins. Ends with notes of rosemary and thyme. Fine length. Merlot. Drink now.
The history of Italy cannot be told without including the prominent contributions of the Ricasoli family, who have produced wine since 1141. Ricasoli is documented as the oldest winery in Italy and the fourth oldest family business in the world. A beautiful illustration of the family tree in 1584 is one of the first images of the Chianti area and the family archives include export receipts dating back to the late 1600s. However, perhaps the most famous historical contribution came from Baron Bettino Ricasoli, who was not only twice the prime minister of Italy, but after 30 years of experimentation and documentation, developed the original formula for the Chianti wine that became the standard for the region.
The heart of the Ricasoli wine production comes from the Brolio castello, a magnificent castle located in the commune of Gaiole in Chianti, which was built as an outpost to defend Florence from the rival city of Siena. Within the estate, ancient cannonballs and even more recent WWII artillery shells have been found, evidence of the historical strategic importance of the castle with views of the entire Chianti Classico area. The 3,000 acre estate includes 580 acres of sustainably farmed vineyards, ranging in altitude from 800 to 1,500 feet. Each plot is harvested and fermented separately with meticulous dedication.
Baron Francesco Ricasoli has been at the helm of the winery since 1993 and with the deepest respect for his renowned ancestors, he has guided the estate in innovation and sustainable vineyard practices. The ongoing study of soil types and the clonal selection of the Brolio Sangiovese are among his greatest passions and he has been responsible for total renovation and re-mapping of the vineyards. Today, the wines are a reflection of the family’s nine hundred year dedication to quality winemaking and innovation at the Brolio estate.
Legendary in Italy for its Renaissance art and striking landscape, Tuscany is also home to many of the country’s best red wines. Sangiovese reigns supreme here, as either the single varietal, or a dominant player, in almost all of Tuscany’s best.
A remarkable Chianti, named for its region of origin, will have a bright acidity, supple tannins and plenty of cherry fruit character. From the hills and valleys surrounding the medieval village of Montalcino, come the distinguished and age-worthy wines based on Brunello (Sangiovese). Earning global acclaim since the 1970s, the Tuscan Blends are composed solely of international grape varieties or a mix of international and Sangiovese. The wine called Vine Nobile di Montepulciano, composed of Prognolo Gentile (Sangiovese) and is recognized both for finesse and power.