The oldest winery of Italy, and the second oldest in the world, Ricasoli is the most representative wine producer in the Chianti Classico area. The history of the Ricasoli family has been linked to wine since 1141, its oldest vineyard. With its gentle hills, velvety valleys and thick woodlands of oaks and chestnuts, the 1,200 hectares of property include almost 240 hectares of vineyards and 26 olive groves.
The Ricasoli family appeared among the feudal noble dignitaries in the court of Emperor Charlemagne. From the thirteenth century onwards the branches of the family multiplied and then reunited once more in the late 1700s, early 1800s.
With their armies, generations of Ricasoli nobles have charted the course of history against the backdrop of Brolio Castle, defending Florence since 1200, from the eternal battles against Siena until the unity of Italy. Bettino Ricasoli, the Iron Baron, was twice Prime Minister of the newly united Italy after Cavour.
A Timeless History
The history of the Ricasoli family has been linked to wine since 1141, when there is written testimony attesting that the Ricasoli family already possessed Brolio Castle. After centuries defending their lands and feudal sovereignty, the Ricasoli family understood the great potential of the Brolio territory and were among the first to dedicate themselves to the improvement of agriculture and vineyards. In fact, the family tree, reproduced in a print from 1584, is one of the first images of the Chianti area.
Interesting documents from the late 1600s report the first exports to Amsterdam and England, whereas at the start of the 1900s, the wines from Brolio were well known and appreciated, requested and exported all over the world: from China to Saudi Arabia, from South Africa to Guatemala, from Costa Rica to the one-time British colonies in Africa. Most especially, in 1872 Baron Bettino Ricasoli (1809 – 1880), illustrious politician and visionary wine entrepreneur, originated the formula for Chianti wine, now called Chianti Classico.
Brolio Castle: symbol of the territory of the Chianti Classico area
The Ricasoli vineyards are built surrounding the Brolio Castle, which is located within the town limits of Gaiole in Chianti. Since 1993, Baron Francesco Ricasoli has been guiding this central Tuscan company in innovative challenges. This has been done with the deepest respect for his renowned ancestors who have made this territory great, Bettino Ricasoli first and foremost.
Francesco Ricasoli, current owner and President of the company, has generated new ideas and concepts to render the vineyards sustainable. The ongoing study of soil types and the clonal selection of the Brolio Sangiovese are among his greatest passions, and he has totally renovated the vineyards and completely mapped them.
The new wines are therefore the expression of research carried out with the same scientific rigor of his illustrious ancestor but with a contemporary spirit, like a runner receiving the baton and carrying it forward with renewed energy.
Vineyards at the heart of Ricasoli
Each vineyard plot is harvested separately. Once gathered, the grapes are taken to the vat room in containers with a maximum capacity of 200 kg; vinification takes place in small steel vats, enabling careful regulation of the fermentation process and keeping the characteristics of every single vineyard plot separate.
Experimentation and a thorough knowledge of the land have led us to vinify separately even within the same plot, according to the morphological similarities of the subsoil. The structure of the winemaking cellar is devised so that the vats are filled by means of gravity, which allows a gentle punching down and extracts the most desirable substances from the skins.
At the end of the fermentation process the wines are transferred to barrels of various sizes and oak barriques in the barrel aging cellar. Frequent laboratory monitoring accompanies Ricasoli wines throughout their development right up to their long (sometimes very long) bottle aging in temperature-controlled rooms, before being sent off to their destinations in the four corners of the earth.
Sustainability at Ricasoli
Ricasoli is located in one of the purest and least contaminated places in Tuscany. Over the centuries, this area was nearly inaccessible due to its stony ground and thick, compact woods. It became habitable thanks to all those who cultivated beauty, balance, and harmony. In a context like this, it has not been difficult for Ricasoli to choose nature-friendly viticulture. They make the extra effort to employ agronomic techniques with low environmental impact. Research and applied technologies have allowed them to respect the territory fully while producing quality wines.
The five pillars of sustainability (image above) are therefore all respected and the wines produced reflect the winery’s vision and the magnificent terroir in which they are produced. In this way, Ricasoli interprets and practices the concept of sustainability and consider it a point of pride.
The Wines of Barone Ricasoli
Through all that history and age-old winemaking techniques, comes the birth of some of the finest Chianti Classicos and Super Tuscans the world has ever seen.
All of Ricasoli’s wines are created from a meticulous selection of the best Sangiovese and Abrusco grapes from the estate’s best vineyards. Each lot of grapes is treated separately and meticulously, for these grapes are the expression of the finest locations, making them particularly rich in aromas and body.
Some of these wines are only produced in their best years, giving each vintage an iconic mark with its own personality. They are then carefully aged in the cellars at Brolio Castle with optimum conditions, giving each bottle the longevity that increases in elegance and freshness with each passing year.
Check out Barone Ricasoli’s full range of wines on TWDC!