Ricasoli presents the 2024 wine collection

I had the pleasure of attending the presentation of Ricasoli‘s cru, the oldest and still existing Italian winery, founded in 1141. The presentation took place at the Borgo San Jacopo restaurant in Florence. The wine tasting was held during an extraordinary lunch, rhythmic, simple but delicious.

The menu

Each wine was presented with a dish created by chef Claudio Mengoni and the impeccable and reserve but always warm and friendly sommelier service by Salvatore Biscotti. We started with the fragrant and fruity Brolio 2022 paired with Fassona Beef Tartare with seared oyster, celery, vermouth, horseradish, and seaweed donuts.

The second wine, Sanbarnaba 2021, was a white wine with significant structure based on Tuscan Trebbiano. Its aromas of Mediterranean herbs and hints of sea breeze paired beautifully with the Mixed Pasta dish with cauliflower, spinach, mantis shrimp broth, sea urchins, and mussels.

Finally, the four Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2021 wines—Colledilà, Roncicone, CeniPrimo, Castello di Brolio—were served with the main course of Grilled Pork Ribs, spinach, sweet and sour onions, and lemon. Colledilà is the wine that impressed me the most for its elegance, its wildflowers, its aromas of dried herbs, and very refreshing small red fruits. It had the structure of an agile athlete and was full of determination. CeniPrimo was the cru with the roughest character, the deepest voice, the most structured tannins, the darkest and ripest fruit, with hints of leather and earth. Roncicone was perhaps the wine that fell between the first two with a very affable character, a sweet juice of ripe red fruits, and some balsamic sensations and great depth.

Ricasoli’s 2021 vintage

Francesco Ricasoli unveiled his four 2021 vintage Gran Selezione Chianti Classicos—Castello di Brolio, Colledilà, Roncicone and CeniPrimo—in a year of particular significance for the denomination. Ricasoli explained, “The Consorzio del Chianti Classico itself was celebrating its centenary, and 2024 marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Gran Selezione designation. I had always been a firm believer in that wine category, so much so that Ricasoli actually produced a full four interpretations of it”.

These wines were the result of a lengthy and meticulous research project conducted in collaboration with CREA (Council for Agricultural Research) of Florence and Arezzo, which had concluded in 2008 with the zoning of 240 hectares of estate vineyards. This project deepened the understanding of the soils and identified the five macro-complexes most favorable for cultivating Sangiovese. At the same time, Ricasoli had adopted vineyard and winemaking practices directed towards sustainable production and encouraging the expression of their individual vineyards in the wines.

Castello di Brolio, Colledilà, Roncicone and CeniPrimo each interpreted both Sangiovese and the 2021 growing year in their own distinctive way. As Francesco Ricasoli often emphasized, “What distinguished each of them was clearly their individual vineyards, since we used the identical vinification process for all of them.”

Castello di Brolio’s vineyards

The name Castello di Brolio was a well-deserved homage to the most significant Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. The grapes were grown in six vineyard parcels, totaling 26 hectares surrounding the Castello, planted in soils of alberese, galestro, and sandstone. This particular expression of Gran Selezione stood out for its elegance, equilibrium, remarkable length and judicious power. On the other hand, Colledilà, Roncicone, and CeniPrimo were sourced from single vineyards of the same names, with soils of alberese, seabed deposits and ancient riverine terraces, respectively. Colledilà was characterized by its complex structure and elegance, while Roncicone was distinguished by its energy, lean austerity, and pronounced minerality. CeniPrimo boasted an intense bouquet, finely-balanced structure and volume, noble tannins, and notes of pungent balsam.

The 2021 harvest

The 2021 growing year had been surprising for the high quality of its fruit despite a series of negative weather conditions. April had brought a late freeze, and June had seen high temperatures that unbalanced vine development. “But the vines proved their resilience and overcame these challenges,” reported Ricasoli Technical Director Massimiliano Biagi. “Then August had ushered in very favorable day-night temperature differentials, and rains in September had favored a textbook ripening process with optimal quality grapes.” The Sangiovese harvest for Castello di Brolio had taken place between September 22-25, for Roncicone on September 23, for Colledilà on the 29th, and for CeniPrimo on October 4. Today, these wines embodied complexity and depth and undoubtedly provided significant pleasure over time.