Castellina in Chianti commune in Siena province in Tuscany is one of nine communes entitled to the Chianti Classico DOCG. Vineyards in part of Castellina are also allowed the Val d’Arbia DOC (for white or pink wines only) and in fact the Arbia river rises in Castellina.

Size: Castellina in Chianti covers a surface area of 38 square miles (100 square kilometres) and is bordered by Greve in Chianti to the north, Radda in Chianti to the east, Castelnuovo Berardenga to the south east, Monteriggioni to the south, Poggibonsi and Barberino Val d’Elsa to the east and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa to the north-east. Historically a border town, Castellina is surrounded by ancient walls. The town boasts a castle, and the picturesque Via delle Volte which recalls the time when it was an outpost of the Florentine republic.

Sub-zones: Cellole (località). | Grignano. | Fonterutoli. | Località Le Fioraie. | Lilliano. | Piazza. | Rencine. | San Leonino. | San Quirico. | Sant’Agnese.

Vineyard area: 2014 1,335.70 hectares representing 20.62% of the Chianti Classico total vineyard area of 6,476.66 hectares, making it Chianti Classico’s biggest vineyard township (Source: Enoproject, Franco Bernabei).

Climate: Ian d’Agata (2019, p.277) made a baseline valuation based on available data that Castellina is the warmest and (relatively) driest commune compared to either Gaiole in Chianti or Greve in Chianti. He notes however that one should consider that vineyards in the higher reaches of Castellina do not have the same warm and dry mirror-climate as the rest of the commune.

Terroir: Alessandro Masnaghetti (2014) suggests using the SP76 road between San Donato in Poggio and Fonterutoli to divide Castellina in two. The eastern and this internal side of Castellina faces Radda in Chianti and Greve in Chianti, while the western side forms part of Chianti Classico’s external boundary.

Northern area: Masnaghetti says the northern area of Castellina is ‘wedged between the townships of Barberino Val d’Elsa and Greve in Chianti.’ He says Castellina’s northernmost vineyards are visible from Panzano and comprise two valleys running virtually parallel to each other. One valley rises from La Piazza towards Casanuova and Nittardi. It has, on its southern side, intensively cultivated slopes. The other valley contains Grignano, whose biggest vineyard is Terrarossa. Vineyards in both valleys are on medium rocky soils. He lists the following places as being part of the northern sector, and in two groups: 1) Casanuova-Nittardi, La Piazza, Grignano. They occupy the north-eastern side. | 2) Casanuova-Amorelli, Pietrafitta, and Querceto.

Eastern side: Alessandro Masnaghetti (2018) says the eastern side of Castellina is more inland, ‘unquestionably wilder’, and less planted than the western side. It faces Radda and Greve. Masnaghetti lists the following as being part of the eastern sector in a single group: 1) Castagneto, Collelungo, and Tregole.

Western side: The western side is more widely planted and ‘more representative’ than Castellina’s eastern side, says Masnaghetti, ‘an ample amphitheatre with breathtaking views to Monterrigioni. Here, altitudes descend the further west one goes, from over 610 to 200 metres (2,000 to 650 feet), the lowest being near Castellina’s western border. Masnaghetti identifies three soil groups here. The first and highest includes a ‘vast area’ extending from the border with Barberino Val d’Elsa as far as the road which joins Castellina with Lilliano.’ There are two sides ‘with this space’, says Masnaghetti. On one side are the Cispiano and Le Fioraie (including Gaversa) zones. On the other side are Cellole, Castellare, San Donatino, Castagnoli, Godenano, and finally Cagnano and Brucignana. This last, Masnaghetti says, could also be considered part of the Le Leccia zone (see 2, below) which share notably rocky soils.

Masnaghetti lists the following as being part of the western sector in five groups: 1) Bruciagna, Cagnano, Castagnoli, Castellare, Cellole, Cispiano, Godenano, Le Fioraie, San Donatino, and Santedame. | 2) Casa Fassi, Fonterutoli, La Leccia, Tramonti. | 3) Capraia, Fizzano, Gretole, Olivelli, and Siepi. | 4) Caggio, Campalli, Cornia, Lilliano, Macie, Pomona, San Leonino. | 5) Casale, Cerna, Cignano, Montelupo, Rencine, Rodano-Bibbiano, Trasqua-Lornano, Tuopina. Masnaghetti says this strip is characterised by often clay-rich soils, a rolling, rounded hillside topography, and generally lower altitudes, below metres (1,000 ft). There is a ridge within this area joining Bibbiano and Rodano (a sort of buffer zone he says, between strips 2) and 3) above), the highest part of the hills of Cerna and Casale, the woody reliefs of Rencine (also distinguished by their reddish soil), the high plateau of Trasqua (with occasional rocky outcrops), and finally the hill of Tuopina.

Antoine Luginbühl of Casina di Cornia told me his soil of chalky clay with a bit of slate ‘is typical for an important part of the area where Castellina overlooks the Val d’Elsa, starting at San Leonino going through us in Cornia, Tenuta di Lilliano, Bibbiano, Rodano, and part of San Fabiano Calcinaia.’

Wineries

Certified organic: Antico Podere Casanova. | Bibbiano. | Buondonno. | Casavecchia alla Piazza. | Casina di Cornia. | Castagnoli. | Castello La Leccia. | Concadoro. | Fattoria di Rodano. | Gagliole. | Il Cellese. | Nittardi. | Querceto di Castellina. | Ricudda. | San Fabiano Calcinaia. | Setriolo. | Tenuta di Lilliano. | Villa Pomona. | Villa Trasqua.

No CertificationAzienda Rocca. | Bartali. | Banfi. | Belvedere di San Leonino. | Borgo di Pietrafitta. | Campalli. | Casafrassi. | Casale dello Sparviero. | Casanuova di Pietrafitta. | Castellare di Castellina. | Castello di Fonterutoli. | Castello di Rencine. | Cecchi. | Cennino. | Collelungo. | Fattoria Campoperi. | Fattoria Castello di Monteriggioni. | Fattoria di Vegi. | Fattoria La Castellina. | Fattoria Tregole. | Grignanello. | Il Faggeto. | Il Poderino. | Il Poggiolo. | Il Villino. | La Croce. | La Castellina–see Fattoria La Castellina. | La Fioraie-see Piemaggio, below. | La Mirandola. | Lornano. | Mazza. | Montesassi. | Nardi Viticoltori. | Piccini. | Piemaggio. | Podere Fioraine. | Podere La Piaggia. | Podere Tramonti. | Poggio alla Croce. | Poggio Amorelli. | Poggio Regini. | Pomona. | Rocca delle Macie. | Rocca di Cispiano. | Ruffino. | San Donatino. | San Giorgio alla Piazza. | San Leonino. | Sant’Agnese. | Stomennano. | Tenuta Canale. | Tenuta di Lilliano. | Tenuta Santedame–Ruffino. | Tenuta Villa Rosa. | Villa Cerna.

Bibliography

Bill Nesto MW & Frances Di Savino, Chianti Classico, the Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine, (University of California Press, 2016).

Alessandro Masnaghetti (2018), I Cru di Enogea, Chianti Classico (Alessandro Masnaghetti Editore, third edition February 2018).

Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grape Terroirs (University of California Press, 2019).