Castelnuovo Berardenga is a commune in Siena province in Tuscany. It was established in 1366 by the Republic of Siena, initially as a surveillance post. Castelnuovo Berardenga is one of the nine communes entitled to the Chianti Classico DOCG, although in its case only about half the commune is entitled to the denomination (Nesto & Savino, 2016, p105). The rest is allowed the Val d’Arbia DOC (for white or pink wines only).

Localities (‘frazioni’): Montaperti. | Pianella. | Ponte a Bozzone. | Quercegrossa. | San Gusmè. | Vagliagli.

Terroir: Alessandro Masnaghetti (2014) says Castelnuovo Berardenga can be divided into two sectors, west and east of the Arbia river, and driven apart by Gaiole in Chianti which wedges itself in from the north, almost dividing Castelnuovo in two near the hamlet of Pianella, with the Vagliagli sector to the west and the San Gusmé and Villa a Sesta sectors to the east.

Western sector: In the extreme western sector Masnaghetti divides the wineries into a number of groups. The first includes the Quercegrossa and Poggiarello-La Ripa estates (at around 300 metres) with the Petroio, Vicoregio, Belvedere, Corsignano and Mocenni estates in another group slightly to the north. In the sprawling Vagliagli zone are found the Aiola, Dievole, Le Due Arbie, Borgo Scopeto and Selvole estates (300-400 metres). In another sprawling zone, Pievasciata, further inland towards the Arbia are found the Cerreto, Miscianello, Misciano, Santa Margherita, Monaciano, Pontignano, and Valiano estates (350-400 metres). In the San Giovanni a Cerreto zone along Castelnuovo’s southern boundary are found the San Giovanni a Cerreto and Villa di Geggiano estates (300 metres).

Eastern sector: In the eastern sector Masnaghetti divides the wineries into four groups. The first group in the extreme north east and on the highest ground in the Chianti Mountains (550-600 metres) comprises the vineyards of the Campi and Rosennano wineries. The next group in the extreme east (350-400 metres) comprises Arceno, Felsina (Rancia vineyard), Pagliaia, San Felice, San Gusmè, Stellino and Villa a Sesta, with another lower lying group not quite so far east comprising Bossi, Castell’in Villa, Pagliarese and San Vito (300 to 350 metres). A final group to the south on lower lying ground (250-300 metres) includes Caiano, Poggio Bonelli, and San Piero.

Altitude: Castelnuovo Berardenga’s vineyards range in altitude from 250-500 metres (820-1,640 feet) above sea level.

Climate: The climate is continental, with even very low temperatures in winter and sometimes very dry summers. The temperature variations throughout the day are also important, due to the higher altitude. Annual rainfall is around 700-800 mm (27.6–31.5 inches), concentrated mainly in late autumn and in spring.

Soil: Castelnuovo Berardenga has two main types: soils of sedimentary origin and alluvial soil. The first, from the chemical point of view, are essentially composed of calcareous-marly clays originating from the disintegration of rocks such as Alberese and Galestro. Alberese comes in the form of compact stones of variable dimensions and very resistant to the action of atmospheric agents. The Galestro, however, is a much more crumbly stone, and its breakup, under the action of rain and sun, allows the release of precious mineral elements to the plant. Among the sedimentary rocks is also found the sandstone Macigno of the Monti del Chianti (the Chianti Mountains, which rise to the east), a foreshore sandstone deposit with variable granulometry but resembling, at least physically, the Pliocene sands. These sedimentary soils are suitable for obtaining wines of structure and aging. The soils of alluvial origin, unlike the former, date back to a more recent geological epoch and consist mainly of Pliocene sand and silt. The physical structure of these soils is typically dissolved with plenty of pebbles. The wines from such alluvial soils are more suited to early drinking.

Organic matter, soil nutrients: Castelnuovo Berardenga’s soils have modest amounts of organic matter and a reduced presence of assimilable phosphorus.

Viticulture: Vines are either cane pruned (guyot) or spur pruned (cordon). Average vine density is usually between 4,000-5,500 vines per hectare.

Wine style: One frequent observation is Castelnuovo Berardenga’s red wines tend to demonstrate the fuller, more powerful and more highly structured style, making the wines from this southern part of the Chianti Classico zone stylistically more akin to those of Montalcino not far to the south.

Wineries

Certified organicAzienda Agricola Le Mafie di Maria Pellegrini. | Bindi Sergardi. | Carpineta Fontalpino. | Casalgallo. | Castell’In Villa. | Castello di Bossi. | Dievole. | Fattoria di Corsignano. | Fattoria di Petroio. | Fattoria di Valiano. | Felsina. | Podere Le Boncie. | Tenuta Mocenni. |  Terra di Seta. | Villa di Geggiano.

No certificationAntico Podere Colle ai Lecci. | Badia d’Ombrone. | Bonacchi. | Borgo Scopeto. | Caiano. | Campacci. | Canonica a Cerreto. | Cantina Colline del Chianti–Tenuta di Geggiano. | Cantine Bonacchi. | Casalino. | Castello di Badia Berardenga. | Castello di Monastero. | Castello di Orgiale. | Castello di Selvole. | Casuccio Tarletti. | Fattoria della Aiola. | Fattoria di Ruppiano Astorre Noti. | Fattoria Le Due Arbie. | Fattoria le Lodoline. | Fattoria Santa Chiara. | La Casaccia. | La Lama. | La Lodola – Podere Il Fornacino. | Lecci e Brocchi. | Losi Querciavalle. | Macia. | Miscianello. | Monteropoli. | Oliviera. | Pagliarese. | Podere Le Trosce. | Podere Olmo. | Poggio Bonelli. | San Felice. | San Giorgio a Lapi. | San Giovanni. | San Piero. | Santa Maria. | Scheggiola. | Tenuta Cappellina. | Tenuta di Arceno. | Tenuta di Monaciano. | Terra di Seta. | Tolaini. | Tomarecchio. | Vallepicciola. | Vigna al Sole. | Villa a Sesta. | Villa La Pagliaia. | Vitignano.

Classico Berardenga: Classico Berardenga is an association of Castelnuovo Berardenga wine producers, aiming to define and promote the wines from its Classico zone (www.classicoberardenga.it).

Bibliography

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

Alessandro Masnaghetti, I Cru di Enogea, Chianti Classico (Alessandro Masnaghetti Editore, first edition July 2014).