The Dunkley Era | The founder of Riecine, the late John Dunkley, a British advertising executive, and his Italian wife Palmina Abbagnano-Dunkley, acquired the original 1.5 hectares of land in 1971 from the nearby monastery, Badia a Coltibuono. They restored the old stone villa on the land and began reviving and replanting vines. The first vintage of Chianti Classico, 1973, was released in 1975 to a flourish of praise. John Dunkley was respected as one of Chianti’s most astute observers, combining the detachment of an outsider with a critical spirit. He always maintained that Cabernet varieties permitted under DOCG rules for Chianti Classico had no place in the wines of Riecine. The label originally showed the Dunkley’s home, and was meant to be a spoof of the grand castles and villas that appeared on other labels but ‘it turned out to be one of the more artistically conceived of the zone,’ (Anderson, 1980, p248).
Staff | General Manager 2016+: Alessandro Campatelli.
Vineyards | 2011 Since 2011, the vineyard has doubled in size to 15 hectares with the acquisition of six additional prime hectares within the best micro terroirs of Gaiole. | 2017 22 hectares in total of which 12 hectares estate and 10 hectares rented.
Vineyards| The Gaiole estate totals 22 hectares, which is mostly woodland. There are just over 7ha of vineyards at an altitude of 500 metres, overlooking the village of Gaiole in Chianti. The Gaiole estate includes the following plots: Riecine Located directly in front of the winery on a southern-facing slope, the original Riecine vineyard produces most of the grapes used in the Riecine IGT. Its 1.54 hectares consist nearly entirely of Sangiovese, planted in 1971 at a density of 2,550 plants per hectare. The uppermost part of the vineyard is at an altitude of 500 meters. The soil is a mixture of quartz, rock and clay. Half the vineyard had belonged to John Dunkley’s brother-in-law, Carlo Abbagno, until 2013 when Riecine (re-)acquired it. This vineyard was being prepared for replanting in 2013. Diggers were breaking up hard pan and rocks in the subsoil before then carefully putting the subsoil back in the same place before patting it lightly. | Riecine Bosco Just under 1ha of Chianti Classico planted in 2006 at 5,952 plants per hectare. | Riecinino 1.2ha of Sangiovese classified as IGT planted in 2006 at 5952 plants per hectare. | Palmina 2.25ha of Chianti Classico which will be replanted in 2014 with various clones of Sangiovese including a massale selection from our oldest vineyard. Palmina will come into full production in 2017. | San Martino 2.12ha of 100% Sangiovese (Chianti Classico) planted in 2005 at 5,000 vines per hectare.
Certification | 2000 First vintage with full organic certification.
Winery | The winery which dated from 1998 was reconstructed and enlarged from autumn 2012. The design was by Christian Jakusconek. It allowed The additional space winemaking, barrel aging, bottling and bottled wines to be in one place, with a laboratory and office space too. Concrete Nomblot fermentation tanks were also installed, as was new grape handling and winemaking equipment plus state of the art temperature and humidification systems. The first harvest was September 2013. When the cantina reopens in full at the beginning of 2014, there will be two new tasting areas for guests. The three-year expansion plan was initiated by Riecine’s then winemaker, Sean O’Callaghan.
Winemaking | In 2013 Sean O’Callaghan told me the grapes are hand picked, pass along a vibrating table, are destemmed, the go into low, wide plastic bins where they are lightly crushed by foot before going to tank. The idea is to retain Sangiovese’s elegance. Fermentation is usually long and cool, followed by aging in small and large oak casks for 18 months to 2 years, depending on the wine. Séan blends just before bottling.
Riecine Bianco | Made during the Dunkley era.
Toscana Rosso, La Gioia | 2015 100% Sangiovese.
Chianti Classico DOCG, Riecine | 2007 “Steady ripeness all the way through. Darker than usual Sangiovese,” says Séan O’Callaghan. / 2011 100% Sangiovese. 18m in barrel, 5% new. 40,000 bottles. Hot year. Séan O’Callaghan blended some of the rosé into to this to lighten it. | 2012 12.5% alcohol. “A hot, dry spring led to a poor set compounded by peronospera. Subsequent hot, dry weather meant the vines never picked up,” says Séan O’Callaghan. | 2013 “High levels of malic acidity in 2013. Looking to perform MLF on skins as a result. A low yield year anyway, and especially so since fruit set in 2012 was so poor. Protracted flowering,” says Séan. 100% Sangiovese. Balletic at the winery Saturday 21st May 2016. | 2014 100% Sangiovese. Very dense at the winery Saturday 21st May 2016. | 2016 100% Sangiovese. Made by Sean O’Callaghan. | 2017 100% Sangiovese. Made by Carlo Ferrini.
Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Riecine | 2004 Superb depth and brightness at Le Logge in Siena with Silvana, Steve and Sarah Walter Monday 12th October 2009. | 2015 100% Sangiovese. | 2016 100% Sangiovese.
Riecine also has around 3ha of olive grove for Riecine’s classic oil.
Riecine, Loc. Riecine, I-53013 Gaiole in Chianti (SI = Siena), Italy / Tel+39 0577 749098 / www.riecine.it
Burton Anderson, Vino, The Wines and Winemakers of Italy (1980).
Chianti Classico Anteprima 2019, Stazione Leopolda, Florence on Monday 11th February.