Background: Querciabella (‘beautiful oak’) was founded in 1974 when the late Giuseppe Castiglioni (d. 2003) who was from Milan bought a small vineyard (1 hectare, 2.47 acres) and attached buildings in the Collina di Ruffoli sub-zone of Greve in Chianti. With the help of winemaker Giacomo Tachis, Castiglioni planted more vines. These included Sangiovese, plus varieties from both Bordeaux and Burgundy, in the case of the white Batàr (see below). Castiglioni’s son Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni now runs Querciabella.
Owner: Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni.
Staff: Agronomists: Sr D’Alessandro (Chianti Classico). Mario Torriti (Maremma). Winemaker: Guido de Santi (from 1987). | Manfred, South African winemaker. Joined in 1999. He is credited with taking Querciabella to the next level in terms of ‘green’ practices.
Vineyards: 100 hectares (247 acres) in total of which 65 hectares in Chianti Classico DOCG, in some of the highest, wildest corners of the DOCG, surrounded by forests and woods. There are also 35 hectares near the town of Alberese in the Tuscan Maremma (2017). 2004 In Chianti Classico there were 24 hectares (acres) of estate vines plus 5 hectares of rented vines. Self-contained apart from one neighbour, Vittorio Fiore’s Poggio Scalette which is conventional. From 350-480 metres. Also 36 hectares of Syrah and Sangiovese, plus Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre in Alberese, in the Maremma, planted 1998-2003. | Querciabella has 74ha of vineyards in prime locations within the Chianti Classico zone – Greve, Panzano, Radda and Gaiole – together with another 32ha in Maremma on Tuscany’s Etruscan coast (Susan Hulme: June 2018).
Biodynamics: Between 2000-2004 Leonello Anello consulted on Biodynamics. Owner Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni became vegan in 2000 and wanted to practice what he calls ‘vegan organics’ or ‘Biologica Vegana’ at Querciabella. No animal-based products are used in either vineyard or cellar. Animal manure was substituted with green manure and cover crops, and Biodynamics was effectively dropped, seeing as six of the nine Biodynamic Preparations 500-508 require the use of animal organs (albeit as sheaths rather than as ingredients). Since 2010 the estate says its practices ‘cruelty-free biodynamics’ bu avoiding animal-derived products.
Certification: Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni wrote this to me in November 2004: “We have been fully organic since 1988. In 2000, we converted all of our vineyards (and cellar techniques) to Biodynamic techniques. The conversion was completed in one year. As [we] had been organic for twelve years, there were no problems with the quality and health level of the soil, so the conversion to biodynamic viticulture was more a matter of changing our cultivation techniques. Taking Nicolas Joly’s classification system as a reference, we deserve a three star rank.” | 2015 Certified organic.
Winery: A state of the art winery. Separate cellar for BDX varietals and Sangiovese. Automated punch down. Peristaltic pump allows contents of each barrel to go back into the same barrel. Barrels on rollers for easier lees stirring. In 2004 the winery in Chianti Classico was being used for grapes from both vineyard sites (Chianti Classico and Maremma).
Batàr: Pinot Blanc which morphed into a Pinot Blanc/Chardonnay blend whose name recalls ‘Bâtard’ of Batard-Montrachet fame. | 2015 50% each Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. 90,000 bottles. | 2001 13.5%. Round, soft, tropical fruit, balanced (Argiano, 22 January 2005). | 2003 50% each Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. | 2015 50% Pinot Bianco, 50% Chardonnay.
Chianti Classico DOCG, Querciabella: 2010 100% Sangiovese. | 2011 100% Sangiovese. | 2012 100% Sangiovese. | 2013 100% Sangiovese. | 2015 100% Sangiovese. | 2015 100% Sangiovese. Well made, creamy-modernist (Anteprima 2018). | 2017 Bottled.
Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva, Querciabella: 2003 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot. Nice bright colour, youthful fruit and smoky heavy oak, sweet tannin, some chocolate when tasted at the winery in 2005. | 2010 100% Sangiovese. | 2011 100% Sangiovese. | 2012 100% Sangiovese. | 2013 100% Sangiovese. | 2014 100% Sangiovese. | 2015 100% Sangiovese. | 2016 100% Sangiovese.
Camartina: One of the first Supertuscans. Made from Cabernet Sauvignon mainly, plus Sangiovese grown at 350-400m and south-facing. | 1981 Debut vintage. | 1991 13%. | 2001 Vina da Tavola di Toscana Rosso 55% Sangiovese, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot & Syrah. Palafreno is half the price of Camartina. A bit lean to me, quite heavy oak from barrel ageing, but not too overextracted when tasted at the winery at the winery in 2005.
Palafreno: 100% Merlot from Greve in Chianti .Palafreno is the name of the first line of horses that would be used in a medieval battle. Average production of 3,000 bottles. | | 2000 Debut vintage. | 2001 Vina da Tavola di Toscana Rosso 55% Merlot, 45% Sangiovese. Bit reduced, bit stringy too, bright colour, not convinced that so much Merlot is a good thing in Tuscany, even if now the Merlot vines are about 16 years old. Too chocolate-like for me to be honest, but this could be the oak as much as the grapes when tasted at the winery at the winery in 2005. | 2013 100% Merlot. 13.5%. Fermented in tronconic vats. Aged in 30% new oak.
Mongrana: Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot blend from vines in the Maremma.
Turpino: Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot fromGreve and the Maremma.
Via di Barbiano, 17
I-50022 Greve in Chianti (FI), Italy
Tel+39 055.854332 | www.querciabella.com
Susan Hulme, ‘Querciabella: Producer profile’, Decanter.com June 8, 2018