Monday, April 15, 2013

Italian Merlots: Tenuta di Castelgiocondo's Lamaione (Montalcino, Tuscany)

There are few Italian wine family names that are as storied or as pedigreed as Frescobaldi, a Florentine name that stretches back 30 generations to the 1300 start in wine production at Tenuta di Castiglioni in Val di Pesa. Today Marchesi Frescobaldi is one of the most significant wine producers in Italy with nine estates and over 1000 ha devoted to that task.

The family's wine production principles rest on two pillars: (i) respect for tradition and (ii) an openness to research and experimentation. This openness is illustrated by the family being the first producer in Italy to plant international varieties with the introduction of Bordeaux varieties at the Nippozano and Pomino estates in 1855.

Castelgiocondo, situated on the southwestern slopes of Montalcino, was acquired by the Frescobaldis in 1989. The estate, originally built in 1100 to protect the road between Siena and the sea, is 815 ha in size (230 ha of which is dedeicated to vines) and sits at elevations ranging between 180 and 400 meters.

Castelgiocondo's Merlot is a mono-varietal sourced from a 12-ha vineyard on the estate called Lamaione, also the name of the resulting wine. The Lamaione vineyard is 300 meters above sea level and has a southeast exposure and clayey soil that is rich in limestone. The vines are trained low spur pruned cordon and are planted to a density of 5500 vines /ha. The grapes undergo 12+ days of fermentation and 4 weeks of maceration. Malolactic fermentation occurs in barrique followed by 24 months of barrel aging in new French oak. The wine spends 1 year in bottle before release to the market.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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