Owner: Castiglion del Bosco is an historic winery and one of the founders of the Consorzio del Brunello. It was only in 2003, when Massimo Ferragamo bought it, that it started taking care of the vineyards of the property as well as producing wine with a defined philosophy.
Organic certification: 2016 First vintage with full organic certification. | 2020 Still certified organic.
Viticulture: In line with the low-intervention philosophy of natural viticulture, the use of machinery is minimal and work is restricted. Organics was adopted to obtain the balance required in a natural vineyard, not as an end in itself. A change in the guyot pruning, making the canes horizontal rather than a half-moon or bow has given more evenly sized bunches, and more even ripeness. Cecilia told me (visit 2020) her cover crop regime comprised crucifers (Brassica family), legumes like Squarrose clover (Trifolium squarrosum) rather than broad beans (Vicia faba), and with barley and wheat on lower-lying sites.
Biodiversity in Montalcino: In 2020 1,200ha of forest, 2ha of olives. 7ha of arable crops. 11.5ha of Alfalfa, also called lucerne.
Vineyards in Montalcino: 62ha.100% Sangiovese. 360m is the average altitude. 430m is the highest vineyard. The main vineyard is Capanna (42 hectares). Its highest and best plot is the 1.5ha Campo del Drago (see the wine of that name, below). Lower vineyards on clay-rich soils, galestro appears higher up. 4.500 vines per hectare. The Gauggiole Vineyard lies on soft hill at 250–350 metres above sea level. Cool site facing north-easy, clayey soil.
Vineyards in Riparbella: Massimo Ferragamo bought 11ha of vines in Riparbella (north of Caiarossa estate) in the Maremma in 2005, before he bought Castiglion del Bosco. Planted 20% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Pinot Blanc and 50% Merlot.
Winery, winemaking: 100% hand picked. Gravity-fed winery on two floors on a hill slope, shielded by poplar and beech trees. 100% fermented in stainless steel. The barrel cellar is said to be an impressive wooden amphitheatre. Consultant Nicolò d’Afflito did his last vintage here in 2013. Cecilia Leoneschi told me (visit, 2013) she was looking to ferment longer and cooler to get more aromatics, more austerity [savouriness] and “less denseness”. 26–28ºC. 20-25 days on skins. The previous team fermented the wine hotter and quicker. She wanted to move from barrels to larger wooden ovals. She also added cement tanks from 2020 onwards. She told me (Visit 2020) that ‘the terroir here is not a terroir for heavily oaked Sangiovese. The style of Sangiovese here is frank, refreshing, easy to understand but also easy to enjoy. The grapes are hand picked, and go into a cool truck so they arrive cool. The fermentation temperature of 25-27 °C on average is mainly self-regulating because the yeast self-regulate. We ferment slow and don’t force anything and we can now macerate for longer as the vines were more mature. Cover cropping has helped give the vines and grapes the nitrogen the yeast need to ferment grape juice into wine.’
IGT Toscana Chardonnay
Prima Pietra, Toscana Rosso: From vines in Riparbella (see above). | 2007 Debut. | 2010 Some methoxypyrazine. Darkish ruby-black, blackcurrant and mint, OK, shortish at the winery 30th May 2014 with Ian d’Agata.
Rosso di Montalcino DOCG, Castiglion del Bosco: The Rosso comes from lower-lying, more clayey Sangiovese vineyards with more clay (Kerin O’Keefe: 2012, p.175-7). | 2011 Showed a deepish crimson core with a brightish crimson rim; a muddy nose, and muddy palate, the tannins being a bit too pinched and dry under rather leafy raspberry fruit, so perhaps with better grape selection life would have been easier in the winery (Waldin, M: 28 May 2013). | 2011 Bright, bit hot and short at the winery (30 May 2014 with Ian d’Agata). | 2012 50,000 bottles. OK but lacks a bit of a middle, has oak and blancmange notes, easily digestible (Anteprima 2014). Good, Light red fruit, simpler compared to the 2011 (Visit 30th May 2014 with Ian d’Agata). | 2013 40,000 bottles. | 2018 Pale garnet, red cherry nose with vanilla oak, fluid on the palate, smooth, alcohol fairly well integrated, more of a Super Rosso than Brunello in my view but perfectly acceptable (Anteprima 2019).
Rosso di Montalcino DOCG, Rosso Gauggiole Cru: ‘From a range of parcels, soils, such as clay, loam, stones, shingle. No oak, Fresh, round, primary red fruit,’ Cecilia told me (Visit, 2020). | 2015 35,000 bottles. Debut. Vines at 300m on ‘medio impasto con buona presenza di argilla’. ‘6 months in stainless steel, 18 months in concrete tanks. | 2018 36,000 bottles.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Castiglion del Bosco: 120.000 bottles. ‘The Brunello ferments in stainless steel and ages 70% in wooded vats and 30% in first, second and third fill barrels. | 2000 Dry, dull, and the fruit rather simple despite some decent wild flavours (Anteprima 2005). | 2007 30-35% new oak. Quite roasted, bit of funk, very sweet tasting, lots of alcohol, maybe also some glycerol, dense (Visit 30th May 2014 with Ian d’Agata). The 2007 had a real disconnect between the acid and the tannins 08th July at 32 Viale Piave, with aggressive acid and no mid-palate. | 2008 Very oaky, splintery. 15% alcohol (on the label). Real struggle to drink, the tannins being blurred and over-ripe and the fruit fluid and sticky (tasted in Torrenieri in July 2013). | 2008 Lots of sticky oak, no middle, toffee (Anteprima 2014). Sweet open flat nose, cedar and brick colour/nose. 30% New oak. Sweet fruit, dry tannin, cedar, weight (Visit 30th May 2014 with Ian d’Agata). | 2009 80,000 bottles. Dry tannin, sweet fruit, no depth to tannin (Anteprima 2014). | 2009 14.5%. Cedar-garnet from centre to rim. Nose reeks ripeness and new oak. Makes Palate all bunched up in the middle, a mass of sweet fluffy fruit and vanilla but don’t expect much length. A wine you can swig with pleasure without having to engage your front cortex at the Consorzio Tues 27th May 2014 with Ian d’Agata and others. | 2009 Quite rich/flat, black. Interesting. 25% new barrique. Nice tannins in this, ripe and full/toasty, soft, but not bad, savoury end (Visit, 30th May 2014 with Ian d’Agata). | 2009 Nice limpid colour, clear rim, nice perfume if ephemeral, bit short and too dry and pressy on second tasted blind (at Col d’Orcia 14 June 2014). | 2010 100,000 bottles. Bright mid-ruby. Nice cherry mint/vanilla plus some tangerine in the nose, ripe in a minor key. 22 months in wood, 25% new. Youthful, sapid, different weight, finer and longer compared to 2009 at the winery 30th May 2014 with Ian d’Agata. Smooth, sweet, not bad (Anteprima 2015). | 2011 Bit of blur, orange, faded bruised apple (with Susan Hulme MW at Osticcio, Friday 19 February 2016). | 2015 143,000 bottles.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Campo del Drago: From grapes selected from a single, and picturesque 2.5ha vineyard (its average height is c.360 metres and its high point is 430 metres). The previous owners also fermented this apart. Their 1999 was in vat in 2003 when Massimo Ferragamo bought the estate. On 01st October 2014 Cecilia told me the vineyard is a toponimo because the name refers to the dragon-tail shaped trench, the Fosso del Dragone, at the foot of the vineyard. Galestro. 420A rootstock. Low yields, loose clusters. Cool nights, hot afternoons (south-west facing). Cecilia told me 2014 was her first vinification of this wine. 1999 Debut.| 2007 28 months in French oak barrels apparently. I found it pretty horrifying, lots of splintery oak, no centre, gloopy fruit, headachey (early August 2013). | 2008 More fruit than the 2009. jammy middle (Anteprima 2014). Very dense and ripe, deep, quite thick and a bit too sticky for me, new oak at end and a bit of raisin (Visit 30th May 2014 with Ian d’Agata). | 2009 7,000 bottles. Sticky start, dry middle, confused (Anteprima 2014). | 2010 Quite woody, bit atypical and sticky (with Susan Hulme MW, Osticcio, 19th February 2016). | 2015 7,000 bottles. | 2020 No longer being made as the vines were now old enough to go into the Brunello.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva: 2010 14.5%. Very youthful, bit sticky (tasted with Susan Hulme MW (Osticcio in Montalcino mid-afternoon 19th February 2016).
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva, Millecento: A selection of grapes from the southeast-facing Millecento vineyard planted in 1998 and and a southwest-facing parcel. | 2010 Debut.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva Limited Edition Zodiac: A collectors’ label. Every vintage is celebrated with a personalized label featuring the corresponding Chinese zodiac sign, exclusively designed for Castiglion del Bosco by renowned Chinese artists, selected by Massimo Ferragamo. Every year, some of the bottles are sold at auction during an annual fundraising event with proceeds going to charities in Italy and in China. | 2013 Debut. From the best grapes.
Other crops: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, honey, Grappa del Drago (oak aged).
Visits to the winery: 24th June 2013, 11 August 2020.
Visits: Book ahead. Visits can be tailored. Two restaurants. Also a traditional trattoria and wine bar with a terrace overlooking the valley. Spa. Golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf.
Castiglion del Bosco
Località Castiglion del Bosco, I-53024 Montalcino (SI = Siena), Italy
Tel+39 0577.807078 Website www.castigliondelbosco.com