Barone Ricasoli
Barone Ricasoli is one of Chianti’s most important producers; certainly the most important historically, with a remarkable story that goes back well beyond the 12th century. The most historic of wine castles, Castello di Brolio and its remarkable 250 hectare Chianti Classico vineyard, has been the home to the Ricasoli family since 1141. The most famous Barone, the “Iron Baron” Bettino Ricasoli (1809-1880), was not only Italian prime minister and one of the key figures in the unification of Italy, but also was the first to set down the grape varieties that should exclusively be utilized to make quality Chianti: predominantly Sangiovese with some Canaiolo and perhaps a little Malvasia for the early drinking wines. Today Sangiovese still dominates the Estate’s reds.

Of course it is the recent history that interests us here. The latest chapter of the Ricasoli narrative really begins in 1993 when, after several decades of decline, the 31st Barone (also Bettino Ricasoli, great-grandson of the Bettino mentioned above) and his son Francesco Ricasoli, enlisted the help of renowned Tuscan oenologist Carlo Ferrini and began a major revamp of the winery and vineyards of the estate. In short, the winery was totally restored and modernised while some 90% of the vineyards were replanted after an in-depth zoning study and a review of the clonal material in each site was undertaken in collaboration with Florence University and the Experimental Viticultural Institute at Arezzo. Sadly Bettino Ricasoli passed away in May 2009 but Francesco (now the 32nd Barone) and Carlo Ferrini are continuing the good work. Today the wines are not only amongst the very finest in Tuscany (at least one wine in the range has received Tre Bicchieri in the Gambero Rosso guide every year since 1999) but they deliver remarkable value.
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