The 2012 vintage has been one of the most peculiar and hottest on record. There were many unprecedented events during the 2012 growing cycle, but the biggest impacts by far were the three months of intense, record breaking hot temperatures and no rain. Although comparisons with 2003, another very hot vintage, automatically springs to mind, in 2012 the effect the heat had on the vines was completely different. In 2003 the sudden intense August heat took the vines by complete surprise burning the vine’s leaves. This greatly affected photosynthesis and blocked fruit ripening. But in spite of the ongoing heat, in 2012 the leaves seemed much less affected, as if the vines had had time to get adjusted to the high temperature. There must have been a slowing down in ripening, because although the vines did not shut down during the heat, the vintage resulted in wines of great freshness and modest alcohol levels.
The grapes were hand harvested and transported in small crates to the cellar. Bunches were de-stemmed but not crushed, and the berries and must were fermented in cement tanks without temperature control and by their own yeast. The same care is given to all of our vineyards, giving us balanced quality grapes in every plot, therefore, during harvest we select the best grapes for the Riserva. Each vineyard plot and grape variety and is fermented separately, with the exception of Canaiolo and Colorino from the Colle ai Lecci property because their quantities were too small to be fermented on their own so they were added to the Sangiovese.
After the alcoholic fermentation was terminated, the wines stayed in cement tank and on the skins for a month, while several batches stayed on the skins for more than 8 weeks. After this prolonged skin maceration, the wines were racked off in large oak casks of up to 33hl and oval Stockinger casks of 10 and 25hl. They stayed on the fine lees for 10 months.
After the cask ageing period was terminated we tasted each and every cask to decide which of them would be destined for the blend of the Chianti Classico and which would be suitable to become the Riserva. During the tasting we set aside the wines that have the structure and concentration to gain in complexity through prolonged bottle ageing. However this year we chose against making a Riserva, because we preferred to produce a great ageworthy Chianti Classico and to that purpose blended in the superior barrels with the rest of the wine. The wine that we obtained still has all the properties of a Riserva, with a true capacity to improve over time, while being an original expression of our vineyards. -Producer
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