Castell’In Villa is located in Castelnuovo Berardenga in the Chianti Classico DOCG region of Tuscany, Italy. It is one of the finest Tuscan estates in my view. Castell’in Villa is centred on a fortified medieval village dating to 1200, when it was as community within the Sienese district, protecting the city state of Siena from its rival Florence further to the north. The medieval stone tower is the home of the estate’s owner, Princess Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa. A chapel situated close to the tower allows one to observe features of medieval structure and works of art. One of these works of art is an impressive bronze crucifix dating back to the first half of the 12th century and now kept temporarily at Castelnuovo Berardenga. As well as being a country house, winemaking has long been the central focus of Castell’in Villa.
Owners: The Pignatelli family. Coralia Pignatelli and her husband Riccardo bought the estate in 1968, using it as a weekend retreat from Rome where they were living with their two children. Riccardo was from Naples and worked as a diplomat in the Italian foreign service. Coralia was born in Greece (Princess Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa is her full name) but grew up in Switzerland. There were 2.5 hectares of vines at the time. These were expanded, and the grapes were sold to the Chianti Geografico co-operative. The co-op’s oenologist Antonio Pacini gave Coralia some winemaking advice, and she made her first wine in 1971. She later gained experience from winemaker Giacomo Tachis who she met in 1977. By now she was selling most of her wines in bulk to Ruffino or Antinori, but also developed sales to the USA. After Riccardo died in 1985, she sold the house in Rome and developed other activities, developing a restaurant, and accomodation with bed and breakfast. She hired Federico Staderini as consultant. However, in 2019 there was no consultant I was told (2019 Anteprima).
Terroir: The estate covers 298 hectares, mostly native woodland which is a hunting ground for hare, pheasants and wild boar. In 2019 there were around 47 hectares of vineyards (90% Sangiovese) across eight vineyard sites. Mostly south-facing. 250-350 metres mainly. The highest vineyard is Poggio delle Rose which rises to 350 metres. The soils are mainly alluvial pebbles, sand and marine fossils, with Poggio delle Rose also containing some alberese (Bill Nesto & Frances Di Savino: 2016, p.230).
Organic certification: Check.
Winemaking: Fermentation in stainless steel. All red wines see some oak ageing. Aged in large Slavonian oak for 24 to 36 months.
Chianti Classico DOCG, Poggio delle Rose: 1998 Bottled. | 2018 100% Sangiovese.
Chianti Classico DOCG, Castel’In Villa: Recommended by Séan O’Callaghan and Ben Robson who says this ‘is a pure Sangiovese taken from the eight different vineyard sites. The vines are on typical Tuscan galestro, a mixture of stone, sand and clay over limestone. The grapes are picked by hand and fermented using wild yeasts in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in large Slavonian botti for 24 months before bottling.’ | 2014 100% Sangiovese. Limpid colour, lovely crunchy fluid style of fruit, very good (2019 Anteprima).
Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, Castell’In Villa: 1971 A renowned wine. | 1982 Bottled. | 1986 Bottled. | 1993 Bottled. | 1994 Bottled. | 1995 Bottled. | 2001 Bottled. | 2005 Bottled. | 2006 Bottled. | 2010 Bottled. | 2011 100% Sangiovese. | 2013 100% Sangiovese. Limpid colour, aged in botti, rich, warming but not at all heavy with plenty of life ahead (2019 Anteprima). | 2015 Bottled. Fermented in stainless steel. Ambient yeast. Aged in a mix of Allier barrels, then in large Slavonian oak vats.
Toscana Rosso, Balastrada: 100% Sangiovese.
Toscana Rosso, Santacroce: 1997 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in French oak. 13.5% alc. | 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese.
Vin Santo: Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia.
Other activities: Extra Virgin Olive Oil from 26 hectares of olive groves. 30 hectares of arable land. | Restaurant. | Bed & breakfast. | Wine shop.
Bill Nesto MW & Frances Di Savino, Chianti Classico, the Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine, (University of California Press, 2016), p.229-230.
Loc. Castell’in Villa
I-53019 Castelnuovo Berardenga (SI = Siena), Italy
Tel+39 0577 359074 or 222 | www.castellinvilla.com