Le Ragnaie is an organic winery in Località Le Ragnaie on the south-western side of the Montalcino region of Italy. Le Ragnaie was founded in as a winery called ‘Musico’ by Guido Martini. The first wine was labelled with the 1991 vintage. The farm was a traditional Montalcino podere with olive groves, fruit, vegetables and a vineyard already. In 2002 Guido Martini’s family sold their vines, which consisted of those next to the winery, and the vineyard next to the town of Montalcino, plus the buildings (agritourism, winery). New owners the Campinoti family renamed the estate Le Ragnaie, converted it to organics, and expanded the vineyards by buying sites in different areas of Montalcino. In 2006 they acquired the Petroso vineyard near the town of Montalcino, then two small vineyards in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, then rented more vines in the same area, and then in 2015 they bought vines not of Montalcino in Montosoli. The main wines made here are Rosso di Montalcino DOC and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. The estate is now accepted as one of the pioneers in promoting single vineyard designated Brunello wines in Montalcino, as Riccardo acquired more vineyards. Red wine was also made under the Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG (see below).
Owner: Riccardo Campinoti, who grew up in Siena, and his wife Jennifer.
Vineyards: 2018 In 2018 there were 14 hectares (34.6 acres) of vines of which 6 hectares (14.8 acres) were classified for Brunello and the rest for Rosso di Montalcino. 2013 In 2013 there were 14 hectares (34.6 acres) of which 9.5 hectares (23.5 acres) were estate vines and 5.5 hectares (13.6 acres) were rented vines. Of the 15 hectares (37 acres) around 11.5 hectares (28.4 acres) is classified as Brunello or Rosso di Montalcino, and 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres) is classified as Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG. Altitudes range from 180 metres to 621 metres (590-2,037 feet).
The Winery vineyards: The Le Ragnaie vineyard is next to the winery and agritourism and near Passo del Lume Spento, one of the highest points in Montalcino. The vines here lie at between 530 and 621 metres (1,740-1,970 feet) in its Alberello vineyard (see below), meaning Le Ragnaie owns the highest vineyard in the Brunello denomination. In total the vineyards around the winery comprise 6.3 hectares (15.5 acres). The top soil is very sandy and fine. Underneath there is friable brownish sandstone (‘arenaria’), which chips very easily. This is the same stone used to make the buildings here. The vines are (2018) 100% grassed, with a mix of wild sward and sown cover crops, with beans (favino) sown as an over-wintering cover crop in alternate rows as a nitrogen source.
Vigna Vecchia:’Old Vineyard’. 0.8 hectares (1.98 acres). Planted in 1968. West-facing. Sandstone (arenarie). In front of the winery (I think).
Viga Capucchini: 2 hectares (4.94 acres). High, south-facing. Planted 1997. 420A rootstock.
Vigna Fonte & Vigna del Lago: Vigna Fonte (1 hectare or 2.47 acres) and Vigna del Lago (1.5 hectares or 3.7 acres) lie next to each other south of the winery and were planted in 2003. 420A rootstock. The upper part is Vigna Fonte (plateau, slopes), and the lower fully (SW-facing) sloping part leads to man-made drainage lake (‘lago‘), the other side of which is woodland. Sangiovese clones: F9, F24, PO8.
Alberello Vineyard: 1 hectare (2.47 acres) of bush vine (alberello) Sangiovese. The vines are trained to single stakes–they are not freestanding. 420A rootstock. 621 metres (2,037 feet). Planted in 2012 after the rules for Brunello changed and wines could come frtom vineyards over 600 metres like this one. Previously wine from the Alberello vineyard had to be classed as Chianti Colli Senese or Toscano Rosso. Riccardo Campinoti told me that this change allowed him to allocate his best lots to his Brunello.
Montosoli: In 2015 Le Ragnaie bought 5 hectares (12.35 acres) of land on Montosoli on the north-eastern side of Montalcino of which 1.6 hectares comprised Sangiovese vineyards in two spots. One of these comprised 1 hectare (2.47 acres) located on the north side of the Montosoli hill planted in 1998, eligible for Brunello. The other comprised 0.6 hectares (1.482 acres) of Sangiovese planted in 1998 near the Montalcino co-operative, eligible for Toscana Rosso IGT.
Petroso: This vineyard comprises just over 1 hectare (2.47 acres+) and is right next to the town of Montalcino along the Scarnacuoia road, below the fortress (near the roundabout), and in an area of terraced vines although Le Ragnaie’s plot is not terraced. This is one of the oldest winemaking zones in Montalcino. The soil is similar to Le Ragnaie The vineyard is at 380 meters (1,246 feet) above sea level and is surrounded by a forest. Rootstocks: 420A and 1103 Paulsen.
Castelnuovo dell’Abate: Le Ragnaie has three plots totalling 4 hectares (9.9 acres) around the hamlet and abbey of Castelnuovo in the south east of Montalcino.
Castelnuovo dell’Abate, La Cava:Two small plots comprising one hectare (2.47 acres) at La Cava, just below Stella di Campalto’s vineyards and near both Poggio di Sotto and Cava d’Onice and thus the old onyx (‘onice‘) mine along the Misericordia road. The vineyard faces south south-west, overlooking the Orcia river from around 200-250 metres (656-820 feet). A very hot micro-zone. The soil is white clay, alberese. First planted in 1980 by Enzo Macchetti who was from Castelnuovo dell’Abate. He worked on the railway, and so used railway sleepers as vineyard posts. Enzo sold his grapes to the Montalcino co-op. As he had no children he sold the vineyard in 2006 to Le Ragnaie which uses the grapes for its Brunello, adding softness to the blend, a nice contrast to the more structured wines that come from the vines at higher altitude near the winery.
Castelnuovo dell’Abate, Loreto: Rented vines. Two plots called Loreto are located higher up from La Cava, on the road leading from Castelnuovo dell’Abate to the Mastrojanni winery. The vines comprise 0.8 hectares and lie on clayey-sand and were planted in the 1980s (unknown clone). They lie next to Mastrojanni’s Schiena d’Asino (which was planted in the 1970s) at around 400 metres (1,312 feet). The site can be productive even in a hot year which is good otherwise the wines are too concentrated.
Castelnuovo dell’Abate, La Fornace: Rented vines. La Fornace comprises 0.8 hectares and lies near Loreto, at 400 metres (1,312 feet). The oldest vines date from the 1960s and the rest from the 1980s. The soil is redder here and with more humus (compared to Loreto).
Castelnuovo dell’Abate, Pian : A vineyard comprising 2 hectares (4.9 acres) for Rosso di Montalcino (Sangiovese) and Toscana Rosso which Le Ragnaie rented from 2010-2016 after which it was sold to Mastrojanni.
Viticulture: Sheep In 2018 Riccardo said he wanted to start putting sheep in his vineyards for their weed control and for their manure, made easy by the fact that all the vineyards he has by the winery had already been fenced, to keep wild boar and roebuck out. Spider mites Riccardo Campinoti told me on 25 May 2018 he was combatting yellow spider mites in his Castelnuovo dell’Abate vineyards by seeding (purchased) beneficial mites and by attaching budwood pruned during the previous winter to vine posts because the wood contained wild populations of beneficial predator mites.
Organic certification: 2009 Full organic certification for the first time for 15 hectares (37 acres). | 2018 Still certified organic.
Winemaking: Riccardo told me in May 2018 that harvest could take 6 weeks from start to finish. This meant he could pick every plot or sub-plot ripe, rather than under- or over-ripe. It also allowed him to concentrate on winemaking because his harvest was sporadic.
Wine style: Riccardo Campinoti described his winemaking style to me in 2017 as ‘Traditional. When we started, the first two vintages, we were a little bit more modern, because I knew less and it was kind of the trend at the time. Since 2005 we were lighter in terms of extraction and moved to age everything in large oak vats and concrete tanks (rather than smaller barrels. Also, we don’t go for too much concentration in the vineyard which is very important. Especially for our warmer vineyard sites in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. We try to avoid having really low yields because this can produce too much concentration in the wines, which I really don’t want. So I try to keep the yields slightly higher down in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Around the winery we keep yields a little bit lower as it is a little bit more difficult to get good ripening at an altitude of 600 metres (1,968 feet).’
Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG, Le Ragnaie: From Sangiovese at over 600 metres (1,970 feet) when these were not permitted for Brunello (see above) due to an altitude restriction, subsequently lifted. Riccardo told me that there was a four, if not five times price difference between Chianti Colli Senesi and Brunello. Riccardo told me you can find old bottles of Biondi Santi wines labelled as Chianti Colli Senesi.
Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Le Ragnaie: 2010 Aged in oak. 80% estate grapes plus 20% purchased grapes. 2011 18,000 bottles. 100% Fermented in cement. Wild yeast. Deepish colour, crisp red mint (Anteprima 2013). | 2012 22,000 bottles. 12 months in wood. Lovely fruit, ripe and clear, crisp and bright (Anteprima 2015). | 2013 Bit of greeness, but overall ripe and smooth (Osticcio 2016).
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Le Ragnaie: 2006 100% Fermented in cement. Then aged in botti. | 2009 27,900 bottles. Fermented in cement, then 36 months in wood. Elegant, well made, old-fashioned style with nice fruit, well extracted, not too tannic, perhaps even a bit of jam (Anteprima 2014). | 2009 14%. L3/2013. Ripe tannins with a bit of edge and savoury fruit which is showing plenty of freshness. Very drinkable tasted blind in at the Consorzio di Brunello on Tuesday 27th May 2014. | 2010 24,500 bottles. Lovely bright, classic and understated (Anteprima 2015). | 2011 Le Ragnaie made very dark wines in 2011. A very ripe wine with very pleasant, pure fruit (Osticcio 2016). | 2012 Lovely fruit, very clear tannins underneath, well structured, give it time. Lovely wild cherry fruit (Anteprima 2017).
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Fornace: From vineyards in Castelnuovo dell’Abate, from a site next to Mastrojanni’s Schiena d’Asino. 2008 1,700 bottles. 2010 2,950 bottles. Sweet, bit roasted, traditional style, plenty of depth without being heavy (Anteprima 2015). | 2011 Le Ragnaie made very dark wines in 2011.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, VV: From Le Ragnaie’s Vigna Vecchia or old vine vineyards (what in French would be termed Vieilles Vignes). This was last re-planted in 1968. It is located 600 metres (1,968 feet), making it one of the highest vineyards in Montalcino. | 2008 1,700 bottles plus 128 magnums and 36 double magnums of 3 litres. | 2009 2,750 bottles. Nice, even traditional style, really classic (Anteprima 2014). | 2010 2,800 bottles. Quite tight, slightly dry (Anteprima 2015). | 2011 15% alc (sic). Le Ragnaie made very dark wines in 2011.
Toscana Rosso IGT, Troncone: Red wine.
Agritourism: Located in the same complex as the winery. Well appointed rooms. On a clear day one can see Giglio island (Isola del Giglio) in the Mediterranean sea which is approximately 15 miles (25km) off Tuscany’s coast, and the Tuscan coast is 25 miles (40km) from Montalcino.
Sales: Justerini & Brooks (UK).
Loc Le Ragnaie 264, I-53024 Montalcino (SI), Italy
Tel+39 0577.848639 | www.leragnaie.com