Radda in Chianti is the smallest of the nine communes entitled to the Chianti Classico DOCG in terms of total surface area. Radda lies in the east-central part of Chianti Classico, in the upper Pesa valley, at the junction of the Pesa and Arbia valleys. This is where the river, ‘more like a big stream, does a ninety-degree turn such that its right bank (the best for vineyards) looks due south–a compensating factor for the relatively high altitudes of most of Radda’s vineyards. Its wines (especially those of its upper hillsides) are the sleekest and most refined of all Chianti Classicos,’ says Ian D’Agata (2019, p.283) who adds that the wines of Lamole in Greve-in-Chianti are similar but lack the underlying power of most of Radda’s wines.’
Terroir: Alessandro Masnaghetti (2014) describes Radda as ‘a true watershed’ in the Chianti Classico DOCG, given its altitude and central location. Two main factors shape Radda’s wines, he suggests, namely the altitude and the soils which have high concentrations of alberese. Ian D’Agata (2019, p.283) points out that there are different sub-zones in Radda. The presence of macigno (and therefore sand) in the northernmost quarter means ripening is earlier than one might expect at altitudes of 500 metres (1,640 feet). Ian D’Agata (2019, p.283) suggests the Radda topography lends itself to being sub-divided in four parallel sections running roughly east-west. He divides them thus: the high or arenaceous section, the Pesa bank, the central section, and the Arbia bank at the southernmost point of the Radda subzone; adding that wines from each of these four areas reflect clear terroir differences.
History: Radda has Etruscan origins, and was the capital of the Lega del Chianti, or Chianti League which meant it played a key, and often tortuous role in the Chianti region’s history.
Size: The commune covers a surface area of 31 square miles (80 square kilometres).
Vineyard area: 2014 553.42 hectares representing 20.77% of Chianti Classico’s total vineyard area of 6,476.66 hectares, making Radda Chianti Classico’s 6th biggest vineyard township in terms of vineyard area (Source: Enoproject, Franco Bernabei).
Other wines: Part of Radda also qualifies for the Val d’Arbia DOC (for white or pink wines only).
Winemaking: ‘The sangiovese harvest in Chianti Classico takes place about two weeks later in Gaiole in Chianti and Radda in Chianti than it does in San Casciano in Val di Pesa, only a 15-minute drive away,’ (Ian D’Agata, Vinous, Sept 2014).
Wine style: Ian D’Agata (Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs, 2019, p.283) points out that Radda’s wines are the easiest in Chianti Classico to misjudge when young, being seen as lacking in concentration, citing Castello di Albola and Castello di Volpaia, where a combination of a very specific limestone-type soil combined with high elevation makes for pure but steely, high acid wines with not much flesh. He suggests seeking out Monte Vertine.
Certified organic: Caparsa. | Casalvento. | Castello di Radda. | Castello di Volpaia. | Castello Monterinaldi. | Fattoria di Montemaggio. | Fattoria Vignavecchia. | Il Barlettaio. | Istine. | Monteraponi. | L’Erta di Radda. | Monte Vertine. | Podere L’Aja. | Poggerino. | Tenuta di Carleone. | Val delle Corti. | Via l’Inverno.
No certification: Boratini. | Borgo La Stella. | Borgo Salcetino. | Castello di Albola. | Castello di Monastero. | Castelvecchi. | Colle Bereto. | Della Villa – Il Campaccio. | CorteDomina. | Fattoria di Terrabianca. | Fattoria Vignale. | Le Fraschette. | Livernano. | Lo Spicchio. | Melini. | Podere Capaccia. | Podere Terreno. | Pruneto. | Séan O’Callaghan-Il Guercio. | Storiche Cantine. | Tenuta di Campomaggio. | Vescine.