Le Miccine | Estate winery in the commune of Gaiole-in-Chianti in the Chianti Classico DOCG region of Tuscany, Italy. Americans Clifford and Donna Meneghetti Weaver bought Le Miccine in spring 1996. At the time it was selling bulk wine, and the new owners were financing a rebuild of both winery and ageing cellar ready for direct sale of estate grown bottled wine. In 2010 they sold to a Canadian, Paula Papini Cook, a Quebeçoise. She studied viticulture and oenology (in Angers, Loire valley), and converted Le Miccine to organics, eliminating Merlot from her Chianti Classico wines and creating a new wine for it called Carduus (see below). This is an outstanding estate if, like me, you are like wines with naturally pristine wild fruit flavours. Reports the estate had been put up for sale in 2016 were inaccurate.
Vineyards | 7 hectares (17.3 acres) of vines on a 13 hectare estate in Gaiole bounded by a wood and two watercourses. 80% Sangiovese. 20% Merlot, Colorino, Malvasia nera and Vermentino. The vines are below the locality (‘frazione’) of Vertine, due west of Gaiole. Mainly south and west facing. Average elevation of 380 metres, but going as high as 410 metres. Paola told me the soils here were around one-third each calcareous (‘alberese‘) which in her case is white coloured, one-third sandstone (‘macigno‘), and one-third clay (the lighter greyish clay). Her main rootstock is 1103 Paulsen, ‘good on salty soil’, Paola told me.
Organic certification | 2016 First vintage with full organic certification.
Winemaking | Paola told me she has divided all her plots into micro-plots, picking (100% by hand) what is ripe and similar together, and fermenting them in an extensive range of small tanks (mainly 25-50hl). Then she ages each lot on its own too (in oak, some of which are French oak barrels), then does the final blends.
Toscana Bianco, L’aura | Dry white. Traditional Chianti white grapes from vines on a cool riparian site. No longer made.
Chianti Classico DOCG, Le Miccine | Prior to 1999, virtually 100% Sangiovese. 1999+ Malvasia nera and Canaiolo blended in. | 2010 85% Sangiovese, 10% Malvasia Nera, 5% Colorino. Aged in 40hl botti. Crisp minor key red fruit, slightly unclear, stalky element. No medal at DWWA 1st May 2013. | 2011 85% Sangiovese, 10% Malvasia nera, 5% Colorino. | 2014 100% Sangiovese. | 2016 100% Sangiovese. Lovely red cherry fruit (Anteprima 2018). | 2017 15,000 bottles. Barrel sample: Bright, limpid crimson, clear, pure red fruit, extremely good (Anteprima 2019). | 2018 95% Sangiovese, 5% Colorino. Cruncy, bright, lovely texture, harmonic (Anteprima 2020).
Chianti Classico DOCG, Don Gino | 75-80% Sangiovese, plus Malvasia Nera and Canaiolo. Aged in French oak. No longer made.
Chianti Classico DOCG, Don Alberto | 100% single-vineyard Sangiovese aged in new French oak. No longer made.
Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, Le Miccine Usually comes from the sunniest sites, Paola told me (Anteprima 2020).| 2010 95% Sangiovese, 5% Malvasia Nera. Really good example of traditional Chianti Classico, only medium bodied but packed with peony and violet flavours. Elegant and refreshing (Commended, DWWA 2013). | 2010 Juicy, signs of age, a bit tannins, still some nice wild fruit notes (Anteprima 2020). 2012 100% Sangiovese. | 2013 Bottled. | 2014 Rated by Ben Robson. | 2015 100% Sangiovese. Savoury, clear and well-textured (Anteprima 2018). | 2016 6,000 bottles. Lovely purity of fruit, like and infusion (Anteprima 2019).
Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione DOCG, Le Miccine 100% Sangiovese, a single plot, SW-facing on calcareous soil (‘alberese‘). Mid-hill site, so dry. Small berries. | 2015 100% Sangiovese. Lovely depth, layered fruit, very youthful with a great future ahead (Anteprima 2019). | 2016 36m in 500-tonneaux. 1,500 bottles. Very bright and moreish (Anteprima 2020).
Carduus | 2011 100% Merlot. From 0.5ha.
La Gloria | No longer made. A llate-harvest wine (aperitif/dessert wine made from dried grapes). Select bunches of Malvasia bianca and Trebbiano grapes are dried for approximately four months, crushed and pressed, and then fermented and aged in French oak barriques of 225 litres for two years. To add to the complexity of the wine, some of the bunches are cordon cut and left in the field to dry while others are dried indoors by the traditional cordon-hanging method.
Loc. Le Miccine, 44 (SP2 S Traversa Chiantigiana)
I-53013 Gaiole in Chianti (SI = Siena), Italy
Tel+39 0577 749526 | www.lemiccine.com
Bill Nesto MW & Frances Di Savino, Chianti Classico, the Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine, (University of California Press, 2016).
Telephone call with Paula Papini Cook 19 Oct 2018, evening.