LE RAGNAIE is an organic winery on the south-western side of Montalcino in Tuscany, Italy. Le Ragnaie was founded in as a winery called ‘Musico’ by Guido Martini. The first wine was labelled with the 1991 vintage. The farm was a traditional Montalcino podere with olive groves, fruit, vegetables and a vineyard already. In 2002 Guido Martini’s family sold their vines, which consisted of those next to the winery and agritourism and the vineyard next to the town of Montalcino. New owners the Campinoti family renamed the estate Le Ragnaie, converted it to organics, and expanded the vineyards by buying sites in different areas of Montalcino. In 2006 they acquired the Petroso vineyard near the town of Montalcino, then two small vineyards in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, then they rented some more in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, and then in 2015 they bought vines in  Montosoli. The main wines made here are Rosso di Montalcino DOC and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. The estate was one of the pioneers in promoting single vineyard designated Brunello wines in Montalcino, as Riccardo acquired more vineyards.

OWNER Riccardo Campinoti, who grew up in Siena, and his wife Jennifer.

LE RAGNAIE VINEYARD OVERVIEWS

The Le Ragnaie vineyard by the winery was the original vineyard when the estate was bought by the Campinoti family. Vineyards were subsequently acquired on three different sites in Castelnuovo dell’Abate in the south of Montalcino. In 2015 more vines were acquired but this time north of Montaclino, on Montosoli.

2018 In 2018 there were 14 hectares (34.6 acres) of vines of which 6 hectares (14.8 acres) were classified for Brunello and the rest for Rosso di Montalcino. 2013 In 2013 there were 14 hectares (34.6 acres) of which 9.5 hectares (23.5 acres) were estate vines and 5.5 hectares (13.6 acres) were rented vines. Of the 15 hectares (37 acres) around 11.5 hectares (28.4 acres) is classified as Brunello or Rosso di Montalcino, and 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres) is classified as Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG. Altutudes range from 180 metres to 621 metres (590-2,037 feet).

THE WINERY VINEYARDS

The Le Ragnaie vineyard is next to the winery and agritourism and near Passo del Lume Spento, one of the highest points in Montalcino. The vines here lie at between 530 and 621 metres (1,740-1,970 feet) in its Alberello vineyard (see below), meaning Le Ragnaie owns the highest vineyard in the Brunello denomination. In total the vineyards around the winery comprise 6.3 hectares (15.5 acres). The top soil is very sandy and fine. Underneath there is friable brownish sandstone (‘arenaria’), which chips very easily. This is the same stone used to make the buildings here. The vines are (2018) 100% grassed, with a mix of wild sward and sown cover crops, with beans (favino) sown as an over-wintering cover crop in alternate rows as a nitrogen source.

VIGNA VECCHIA 0.8 hectares (1.98 acres). Planted in 1968. West-facing. Sandstone (arenarie). In front of the winery (I think).

VIGNA CAPUCCHINI 2 hectares (4.94 acres). High, south-facing. Planted 1997. 420A rootstock.

VIGNA FONTE & VIGNA DEL LAGO Vigna Fonte (1 hectare or 2.47 acres) and Vigna del Lago (1.5 hectares or 3.7 acres) lie next to each other south of the winery and were planted in 2003. 420A rootstock. The upper part is Vigna Fonte (plateau, slopes), and the lower fully (SW-facing) sloping part leads to man-made drainage lake (‘lago‘), the other side of which is woodland. Sangiovese clones: F9, F24, PO8.

ALBERELLO VINEYARD 1 hectare (2.47 acres) of bush vine (alberello) Sangiovese. The vines are trained to single stakes–they are not freestanding. 420A rootstock. 621 metres (2,037 feet). Planted in 2012 after the rules for Brunello changed and wines could come frtom vineyards over 600 metres like this one. Previously wine from the Alberello vineyard had to be classed as Chianti Colli Senese or Toscano Rosso. Riccardo Campinoti told me that this change allowed him to allocate his best lots to his Brunello.

MONTOSOLI VINEYARDS

In 2015 Le Ragnaie bought 5 hectares (12.35 acres) of land on Montosoli on the north-eastern side of Montalcino of which 1.6 hectares comprised Sangiovese vineyards in two spots. One of these comprised 1 hectare (2.47 acres) located on the north side of the Montosoli hill planted in 1998, eligible for Brunello. The other comprised 0.6 hectares (1.482 acres) of Sangiovese planted in 1998 near the Montalcino co-operative, eligible for Toscana Rosso IGT.

MONTALCINO TOWN VINEYARDS

PETROSO This vineyard comprises just over 1 hectare (2.47 acres+) and is right next to the town of Montalcino along the Scarnacuoia road, below the fortress (near the roundabout), and in an area of terraced vines although Le Ragnaie’s plot is not terraced. This is one of the oldest winemaking zones in Montalcino. The soil is similar to Le Ragnaie The vineyard is at 380 meters (1,246 feet) above sea level and is surrounded by a forest. Rootstocks: 420A and 1103 Paulsen.

CASTELNUOVO DELL’ABATE VINEYARDS

PIANO A vineyard comprising 2 hectares (4.9 acres) for Rosso di Montalcino (Sangiovese) and Toscana Rosso which Le Ragnaie rented from 2010-2016 after which it was sold to Mastrojanni.

CASTELNUOVO DELL’ABATE Le Ragnaie has three plots totalling 4 hectares (9.9 acres) around the hamlet and abbey of Castelnuovo in the south east of Montalcino.

CASTELNUOVO DELL’ABATE–LA CAVA Two small plots comprising one hectare (2.47 acres) at La Cava, just below Stella di Campalto’s vineyards and near both Poggio di Sotto and Cava d’Onice and thus the old onyx (‘onice‘) mine along the Misericordia road. The vineyard faces south south-west, overlooking the Orcia river from around 200-250 metres (656-820 feet). A very hot micro-zone. The soil is white clay, alberese. First planted in 1980 by Enzo Macchetti who was from Castelnuovo dell’Abate. He worked on the railway, and so used railway sleepers as vineyard posts. Enzo sold his grapes to the Montalcino co-op. As he had no children he sold the vineyard in 2006 to Le Ragnaie which uses the grapes for its Brunello, adding softness to the blend, a nice contrast to the more structured wines that come from the vines at higher altitude near the winery.

CASTELNUOVO DELL’ABATE–LORETO Rented vines. Two plots called Loreto are located higher up from La Cava, on the road leading from Castelnuovo dell’Abate to the Mastrojanni winery. The vines comprise 0.8 hectares and lie on clayey-sand and were planted in the 1980s (unknown clone). They lie next to Mastrojanni’s Schiena d’Asino (which was planted in the 1970s) at around 400 metres (1,312 feet). The site can be productive even in a hot year which is good otherwise the wines are too concentrated.

CASTELNUOVO DELL’ABATE–LA FORNACE Rented vines. La Fornace comprises 0.8 hectares and lies near Loreto, at 400 metres (1,312 feet). The oldest vines date from the 1960s and the rest from the 1980s. The soil is redder here and with more humus (compared to Loreto).

VITICULTURE

SPIDER MITES Riccardo Campinoti told me on 25 May 2018 he was combatting yellow spider mites in his Castelnuovo dell’Abate vineyards by seeding (purchased) beneficial mites and by attaching budwood pruned during the previous winter to vine posts because the wood contained wild populations of beneficial predator mites.

BIODIVERSITY In 2018 Riccardo said he wanted to start putting sheep in his vineyards for their weed control and for their manure, made easy by the fact that all the vineyards he has by the winery fenced (to keep the wild boar and roebuck out).

ORGANIC CERTIFICATION 2009 Full organic certification for the first time for 15 hectares (37 acres).

AGRITOURISM Located in the same complex as the winery. Well appointed rooms.

WINEMAKING Riccardo told me in May 2018 that it could take him 6 weeks from start to finish to harvest all his vines, and that this meant he could pick every plot or sub-plot ripe, rather than under- or over-ripe. It also allowed him to concentrate on winemaking because his harvest was sporadic.

WINE STYLE Riccardo Campinoti described his winemaking style to me in 2017 as ‘Traditional. When we started, the first two vintages, we were a little bit more modern, because I knew less and it was kind of the trend at the time. Since 2005 we were lighter in terms of extraction and moved to age everything in large oak vats and concrete tanks (rather than smaller barrels. Also, we don’t go for too much concentration in the vineyard which is very important. Especially for our warmer vineyard sites in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. We try to avoid having really low yields because this can produce too much concentration in the wines, which I really don’t want. So I try to keep the yields slightly higher down in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Around the winery we keep yields a little bit lower as it is a little bit more difficult to get good ripening at an altitude of 600 metres (1,968 feet).’

RED WINES

CHIANTI COLLI SENESI DOCG, LE RAGNAIE This red wine was made from Sangiovese vines at over 600 metres (1,970 feet) when these were not permitted for Brunello (see above) due to an altitude restriction, subsequently lifted. Riccardo told me that there was a four, if not five times price difference between Chianti Colli Senesi and Brunello. Riccardo said you can find old bottles of Biondi Santi wines labelled as Chianti Colli Senesi.

ROSSO DI MONTALCINO DOC, LE RAGNAIE 2010 Aged in oak. 80% estate grapes plus 20% purchased grapes. 2011 18,000 bottles. 100% Fermented in cement. Wild yeast. Deepish coliur, crisp red mint in February 2013.1At Benvenuto Brunello in February 2013. 2012 22,000 bottles. 12 months in wood. Lovely fruit, ripe and clear, crisp and bright in February 2015.2At Benvenuto Brunello in February 2015. 2013 Bit of greeness, but overall ripe and smooth in Feb 2016.3Tasted with Susan Hulme MW at Osticcio in Montalcino, mid-afternoon Friday 19th February 2016.

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG, LE RAGNAIE 2006 100% Fermented in cement. Then aged in botti. 2009 27,900 bottles. Fermented in cement, then 36 months in wood. Elegant, well made, old-fashioned style with nice fruit, well extracted, not too tannic, perhaps even a bit of jam in Feb 2014.4At Benvenuto Brunello in February 2014.2009 14%. L3/2013. Lovely bright light garnet. Lovely savoury entry with ripe tannins with a bit of edge and savoury fruit which is showing plenty of freshness but which has lost it primary puppy fat. Very drinkable tasted blind in May 2014.5At the Consorzio di Brunello on Tuesday 27th May 2014 with Dr Ian d’Agata and others. 2010 24,500 bottles. Lovely bright, classic and understated in February 2015.6At Benvenuto Brunello in February 2015. 2011 Le Ragnaie made very dark wines in 2011. A very ripe wine with very pleasant, pure fruit in Feb 2016.7Tasted with Susan Hulme MW at Osticcio in Montalcino, mid-afternoon Friday 19th February 2016. 2012 Lovely fruit, very clear tannins underneath, well structured, give it time. Lovely wild cherry fruit in February 2017.8At Benvenuto Brunello in February 2017.

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG, FORNACE This comes from vineyards in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, from a site next to Mastrojanni’s Schiena d’Asino. 2008 1,700 bottles. 2010 2,950 bottles. Sweet, bit roasted, traditional style, plenty of depth without being heavy in February 2015.9At Benvenuto Brunello in February 2015. 2011 Le Ragnaie made very dark wines in 2011.

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG, VV From Le Ragnaie’s Vigna Vecchia or old vine vineyards (what in French would be termed Vieilles Vignes). This was last re-planted in 1968. It is located 600 metres (1,968 feet), making it one of the highest vineyards in Montalcino. 2008 1,700 bottles plus 128 magnums and 36 double magnums of 3 litres. 2009 2,750 bottles. Nice, even traditional style, really classic in February 2014.10At Benvenuto Brunello in February 2014. 2010 2,800 bottles. Quite tight, slightly dry in February 2015.11At Benvenuto Brunello in February 2015. 2011 Le Ragnaie made very dark wines in 2011.

TOSCANA ROSSO IGT, TRONCONE Red.

AGRITOURISM On a clear day one can see Giglio island (Isola del Giglio) in the Mediterranean sea which is approximately 15 miles (25km) off the Tuscan coast, and the Tuscan coast is 25 miles (40km) from Montalcino

CONTACT Le Ragnaie 264, Loc Le Ragnaie 264, I-53024 Montalcino (SI), Italy / Tel+39 0577.848639 / www.leragnaie.com