Just occasionally one visits a winery when the setting is perfect, the host very competent and the wines are technically high quality but there is a lack of connection, something just doesn’t click. This happened on a very hot day – like every other hot day in summer 2012 in central Italy – visiting the well regarded Fattoria Casa Sola. The estate has a superb setting, next door to the famous Isole e Olena, on the very western edge of Chianti Classico. As you can see from the pictures, it has suitably fast draining and infertile soils and a well equipped winery with stainless steel vats for fermentation and holding young wines, plus a fine range of both barriques and larger botti, the classic more neutral but porous containers for traditional styles of wine. It also has a lovely collection of old oil jars – which cannot be used now commercially for health and safety reasons: there’s progress for you!
The style of the estate’s wine is what I would call modestly modern. They produce both Chianti at various quality levels and a Super Tuscan, with the Chianti being mostly Tuscan grape varieties but softened and enriched a touch by small amounts of Cabernet and Merlot. It is a fair compromise – but perhaps it was the real Tuscan austerity I missed?
Pergliamici, Toscana IGT, 2010 – the name means ‘for friends’ and this wine lives up to this name for its quaffable refreshment. Interestingly it is an old style Tuscan blend with white grapes as part of the mix: Sangiovese (85%), Canaiolo (9%), and then the two traditional whites, Trebbiano Toscano (3%), Malvasia (3%). Pale ruby, pleasant cherry palate, light fine tannins, pleasant light red wine.
Chianti Classico 2009 – here the blend is 90% Sangiovese with the rest being Merlot/ Cabernet (together 6%) and Canaiolo: good complexity on the nose, less interest on the palate than the nose promised, good acidic and tannic finish, some roundedness from the Cabernet.
Chianti Classico riserva 2007 – 90% Sangiovese, with here the remnant being just Cabernet and Merlot: slightly denser colour, clove, leather, balsam on the nose (ie more intense oak effects) and mainly black fruit; good weight in the mouth, fair length.
Montarsiccio IGT Toscana 2004 – a Super Tuscan made from Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (30%) with a leavening of Sangiovese (10%), aged for two years in French barriques. Aromatic black fruit nose, very soft palate but good intensity and length.
and finally, back to Tuscan history: Vin Santo 2003, Malvasia (60%) and Trebbiano (40%), picked in optimum conditions, dried out until around Christmas time and then fermented and aged for a minimum of five years in caratelli, small casks. Tinge of orange in both colour and aroma; honeyed nose; oaky notes on palate, fresh impact on the palate, then walnut and almond; good acidity; very attractive.
With thanks to all at Casa Sola – I am sure it will click the next time!
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