Eloquent expressions of a distinctive terroir: Castello di Querceto
At Castello di Querceto, the growing conditions of 2020 and 2019 allowed us, more than in recent seasons, to fashion wines that were eloquently expressive of the terroir of this historic wine estate and in particular wines that displayed the vibrant crispness and depth classic to this distinctive spot lying at elevations of over 400 metres on the highest hills of Greve in Chianti.
Chianti Classico 2020 is fruit of a growing season that was hot but with below-average night-time temperatures. Plentiful rainfall in May and June fortunately topped up groundwater reserves to enable the vines to cope with summer conditions, but it was the day-night temperature ranges that brought the clusters to optimal ripeness and aromatic development. The crop came in slightly less than the norm, but the resultant wines, carefully vinified for 8 months in steel and concrete, have emerged with exceptional structure and acidity.
As for Chianti Classico Riserva, the 2019 growing year was more gradual and balanced. A fairly dry June delayed veraison some two weeks, beyond mid-August, in fact, but the rains, limited though they were, kept conditions to the historical norm, so that cluster development was thoroughly satisfactory. Gorgeous weather in September and October allowed us to push back the start of harvest, and the high quality of the Sangiovese reflected that gift. The wine fermented and macerated in steel some two weeks, followed by 12 months’ maturation in large oak ovals. The overall result is an elegant, intense expression of Castello di Querceto that presages many sensory surprises over the years to come.
“Thanks to the zonation studies carried out since the 1970s,” stated Castello di Querceto producer Alessandro François, “we now have an in-depth understanding of the characteristics and expressive properties of our vineyards. They lie at elevations higher than the Chianti average, and the soils are rich in polychrome schists, manganese and iron, and earth-alkaline metals. All these factors play an important role in ensuring lively acidities and supple tannins in our wines, qualities emblematic of Castello di Querceto and evident in both these expressions of Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva.”
To these gifts of nature must be added the François family’s intimate familiarity with its estate Sangiovese, after a full 125 years of experience, plus the near-obsessive attention by the Castello di Querceto team in vineyard and winemaking cellar, both guarantees of authentic, classic Chianti Classico wines, each an impressive marriage of aristocratic austerity and excellent structure.
“We strive, constantly and ever more sensitively, to infuse into our wines the entire wealth of our experience and passion, since each of our wines is an ambassador to the world of our winemaking philosophy and of our terroir here at Castello di Querceto,” concludes Simone François, who supports his father Alessandro in directing the winery.
Castello di Querceto, property of the François family and one of the founders of the Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico in 1924, lies in a small valley in the high hills in Greve in Chianti. The estate, with its agriturism, Castello, and luxuriant park, includes 65 hectares of vineyards. The denomination wine, Chianti Classico, the long-standing estate standard-bearer, is produced in a number of interpretations: standard and Riserva, and two Gran Selezione crus, Il Picchio and La Corte. The portfolio contains a number of IGT crus, the fruit of zonation studies carried out by Alessandro François.