Frascole is an organic estate in the foothills of the Tuscan Appennines. It lies in the commune of Dicomano, overlooking the town, about 30 minutes from Florence. It lies in the Sieve valley in the northern part of the Chianti DOCG region’s most northerly sub-zone, Chianti Rufina DOCG. As well as (red) Chianti Rùfina DOCG a Vin Santo del Chianti Rùfina DOC is made.

Owner: Enrico Lippi and his wife Elisa Santoni. The vineyards  have passed through the family for generations.

Staff: Consulting oenologist: Federico Staderini until 2019.

Background: Frascole extends over 80 hectares, and apart from a few hectares on the valley floor for arable crops the estate occupies the hill of Frascole. It grows olives and wine grapes, around a small complex of houses which date back to the Middle Ages.

Origins: The farm’s original name “Vico” (see below) is of Roman origin. There have been numerous archaeological finds from the Roman era (remains of a house and some coins). Before them came the Etruscans. Remains of an important Etruscan fortification and a beautiful Etruscan funerary stele were found on the estate.

Vineyards: 15 hectares. Mainly Sangiovese plus Colorino but the one found here appears to be a specific biotype rather than the Colorino del Valdarno (see Ian D’Agata: 2014 p.51). It grows at 400m.

The estate lies on the Frascole hill. It is described as being ‘ideally situated off in a side valley so its vines see less rain and more sun (D’Agata 2019 p.284), between 350 metres at the Pieve di S. Jacopo up to 470 metres at the Castello del Pozzo, and then continues gently uphill to meet the Apennines. Sangiovese grows at 450-500m with Colorino at 400m. South south-west facing.

Soil: marnosi with sandstone (‘arenaria’) and pelago marl.

Other crops: 9ha of olive groves.

Organic certification:1998 Bio sans papers. 2002 Full organic certification the first time.
 
Winemaking: Hand picked. Grapes arrive at the cellar on the terrace above the wine making zone. De-stemmed. Crushed. Via gravity runs into tronconic wooden vats in the cellar itself. Fermentation at controlled temperature no higher than 28 – 30°C. On skins for about 25-28 days. Sangiovese ferments in 20-25hl tronconic oak vats. The Colorino ferments a in 5-10 hl tronconic concrete vat. Three to four weeks on skins and 100% oak aged. After racking, the wine passes to a mix of new, 2nd- and 3rd-fill barrels (225l) and tonneaux (350l) for malolactic fermentation, where it remains for about 12 months.

White wines

Toscana Bianco DOC, In Albis: In Albis is Latin for “white”. 100% Trebbiano Toscano (planted in 2008 using budwood from five local biotypes (Prof Bandinelli from the University of Firenze advised). Clay-loam soil derived from the decomposition of the marlstones of Vicchio and the sandstones of the Pratomagno-Falterona massif. 250 metres (820 feet) above sea level. North-east facing. Guyot. 6,500 vines/ha. 420A rootstock. ‘One of the best Trebbianos you’ll taste,’ (HJPWG 2017, p.138). | 2011 Debut. Fermented and aged in cement tanks. Aged on fine lees. Around 3,000 bottles. | 2013 Very savoury, lovely lemony fruit.

Toscana Bianco DOC, In Albis Sullebucce: Picked later than the wine above. Hand picked, destemmed. Fermented wild on the skins (‘sulle buccce’) in cement tanks or wooden casks for a few days, then racked and pressed and so finishes fermenting off the skins.

Red wines

Toscana Rosso DOC, Bitornio: The soil composition is a clay loam originated by the geological formation called “Marl of Vicchio” (marl and clay marl). Old vines planted in 1967 and 1970. 2,800 vines/ha. Made from the traditional Chianti blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo & Colorino, 5% Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia Bianca. | 2002 Debut.

Toscana Rosso DOC, Limine: 100% Merlot. Clay loam derived from the geological formation called “Marl of Vicchio” (marl and clay marl).

Toscana Rosso DOC, Venia: 50% Sangiovese (clones Tin 10 and Tin 50) and 50% Merlot (clone 181). 7,000 vines/ha. 420A. | 2002 Debut.

Chianti Rùfina DOCG, Frascole: 2012 13.5% alc. Nice, classic, tight (Millésime Bio 2015). Around 25,000 bottles.Tasted on another occasion showed real bite and texture, really well made, lovely ripe tannins (tasted in 2014 I think).| 2015 14% alc.| 2016 14% alc.

Chianti Rùfina DOCG Riserva: 90% Sangiovese, 10% Colorino (see above). | 2007 14.5% alc. | 2008 Bottled. | 2010 14% alc. An absolutely beautiful wine in the early stages of its life. I tasted it over 3 days and found so much to like each time in terms of flavour, clarity and texture, its glycerol richness highlighting the maturity of the vines. The purity of the fruit and the well judged tannins from both grapes and oak aging made this wine seamless. Its subtle, light menthol freshness from cool night air is exactly what I hope to find a Rùfina too (tasted June 2021). 2011 14.5% alc. Slightly funky, not clear, even a little oxidised (Feb 2021). | 2015 14% alc. | 2016 14% alc.

Sweet wines

Vin Santo del Chianti Rùfina DOC: Clay loam originated by the geological formation “Marl of Vicchio” (marl and clay marl). 500 metres. Trebbiano, Malvasia Bianca and unknown varieties. 2,800 vines/ha. Picked mid-September and hung to dry until mid-March. Pressed and the juice is run to ‘caratelli’ (40-80 litre chestnut barrels). 1993 Debut. | 1999 14% alc.

Other activities: Five apartments for rental.

Contact

Frascole

Podere Vico, Località Frascole

Via di Frascole, 27

50062 Dicomano (FI), Italy

Tel+39 055.8386340 | www.frascole.it

Sales: The Wine Society (UK).

Bibliography

Dr Ian d’Agata, Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs (University of California Press, 2019), p.284-286.

Hugh Johnson, Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2017 (Mitchell Beazley, 2016).