Italy’s most acclaimed and coveted wines, with names like Sassicaia and Ornellaia and Tignanello are as recognizable among collectors as Screaming Eagle and DRC. These wineries had a profound impact on winemaking in the region, and inspired a number of Tuscan wineries to begin experimenting with their own Super Tuscans. Broadly speaking, this meant incorporating Bordeaux varietals, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, and using little to no white grapes, for cuvées deep in color with smoky, thick-skinned character. These were the opposite of the light, insipid Chiantis that the region had become known, and at times mocked, for. Among these wineries would be one of Tucany’s most premium wineries Querciabella.
The Story of Querciabella
If you’re reputed to be an avid fine wine collector with a concentration in Cristal Champagne, it’s a pretty safe assumption that your own label is, at a minimum, going to hold its own with those in your cellar. Indeed, the late Giuseppe Castiglioni, who initially planted vines as a hobby, soon set about authoring a Super-Tuscan success story in 1972—restoring an ancient estate, outfitting it with state-of-the-art equipment and, over time, establishing an elite winemaking cadre, including winemaker Guido de Santi and famed consultant and Super-Tuscan specialist Giacomo Tachis. The 26-hectare estate is presently owned and directed by Castiglioni’s son, Sebastiano Castiglioni. Querciabella also possesses holdings in the Maremma zone, where it commenced an experimental project in 2000; the first official release was Mongrana 2005, a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
From Chianti Classico to the Super Tuscan Camartina
2014 Querciabella Chianti Classico| Order Online – From 100% Sangiovese grapes. Taut and refined flavors, complete with subtle hints of tannin and body that is well-supported by acidity, which make for an agile wine.
While Querciabella’s story began with its Chianti Classico—one of the region’s finest expressions and most consistent performers with respect to both quality and typicity—Castiglioni desired to figure in a movement that segued directly from an inchoate state into an international furor. Camartina—the flagship of Querciabella—was Castiglioni’s first contribution to this dynamic and historic phenonmenon. Camartina continues to be a defining example of the Super-Tuscan genre, a position that it’s earned, in no small part, due to Giacomo Tachis’ involvement. While Sangiovese was the predominant varietal for the greater part of Camartina’s early career, the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon has increased gradually over the years, with recent vintages favoring Cabernet. The highly sensitive relationship to vintage conducted by Querciabella has resulted in a wine with an impeccable record of consistency and an uncanny ability for projecting hedonism and refinement—a state wherein both virtues seem to be fully realized yet simultaneously responding to one another’s modifying influences.
2010 Camartina| Buy Online – One of the most beautiful versions of this wine I have tasted in some time. Layered and vibrant on the palate, the 2010 impresses for its finesse and nuance.
One of Italy’s Greatest White Wines Modeled after White Burgundy
Castiglioni’s follow-up landmark-to-be derived its inspiration from his passion for white Burgundy.
Despite the lack of precedent for a high-level Tuscan white, Castiglioni set out to evoke his beloved Burgundy aesthetic. He started off with circumspection, testing out the terroir with Pinot Blanc and Pinot Grigio in an 80/20 blend, respectively, named Bâtard-Pinot. Castiglioni then moved on, reducing Blanc’s contribution and dropping Grigio altogether to make way for the debut of Chardonnay, complemented by an abbreviated and highly suggestive new name—Bâtard. Wary of the opposition that this provocative statement might incur, Castiglioni and Sebastiano soon compromised, engaging in a clever homophonic exercise that involved exchanging Bâtard for Batàr, while retaining the former’s pronunciation. Although the blend has continued to reflect the 1992 split (50/50), its stylistic orientation altered with the 1998 vintage, when the use of new oak was reduced. This modified approach (50% new oak and 50% one-year-old oak) brought Batàr within much closer range of its Burgundian archetype. In order to both honor and tangibly express the exceptional quality of the1990 vintage, the estate crafted a special Vin Santo, Orlando, for the first and perhaps last time, as the winery uprooted its Trebbiano and Malvasia vines in 1991. This historic production—Orlando (named after Sebastiano’s son)—was crafted through revered traditional methods: only the best grapes were utilized and the wine was aged for a ten-year period prior to being bottled.
2014 Querciabella ‘Batár’ | Buy Online
A white with mineral and dried lemon character. Melon undertones. Medium to full body. Layered fruit and phenolic texture. Complex. Made from biodynamically grown grapes. Drink now. Blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco.
The Crown Jewel: Palafreno
Masseto fans get ready for this one! The portfolio’s penultimate bottling, Palafreno, debuted with the 2000 vintage, commencing the estate’s participation in Bolgheri’s highly successful relationship with monovarietal Merlots. Its vinification regimen entails a fairly lengthy maceration period of 18 days and aging in 100 percent French oak (60% new and 40% first passage) for approximately 18 months. While biodynamics has become something of a buzz word in today’s wine culture, biodynamic principles have always been part of Querciabella’s core philosophy. Thus, when the estate entered into a pure dynamic regimen with the 2000 vintage, it was merely concluding a process that had been in progress for several years.
2008 Palafreno Merlot | Buy Online
A concentrated red, with chocolate, berry and currant character. Full and chewy. Layered and rich. Made from organic grapes. Give this three to four years of bottle age. 100% Merlot