Tuscany, Italy

The Story

If you’re not familiar with Riecine, the style of the wines can be described as wearing many faces, from the elegant and lifted Chianti Classico, to the more savory and deep Chianti Classico Riserva, the unapologetically top-heavy red fruited, full-throttle Sangiovese , La Gioia, and the most dainty and Burgundianesque of the pack, Riecine de Riecine.

During our first visit to the estate we were pleasantly surprised by what we tasted. Fortunately we walked in the door at a change of guard, and while the wines before the current vintages were also very good (and many absolutely fabulous), it seems that things are taking an even bigger leap in overall quality.

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Lay of the Land

Riecine’s organically farmed vineyards (since the 1970s) are in the northern zone of Gaiole, one of the highest quality communes of Chianti Classico. In the south of Gaiole, the vineyards are much lower in elevation, and the soil is less rocky than in the north. Almost entirely different from the lower area of Gaiole, the northern zone shares high altitudes—430 to 600 meters—to the vineyards of Radda in Chianti. This impacts the overall growing season, and results in higher-toned flavors, acidic snap and finely etched textures. Perhaps one of the most notable differences between these two fabulous Chianti Classico zones is that Radda has more galestro (a decomposed schistous clay soil with a very high soil pH) while the upper areas of Gaiole, where the Riecine vineyards are located, is principally on limestone and clay, which imparts more roundness and fuller flavors to balance out the freshness of the wines.

The vineyards sit between 430 and 600 meters above sea level and are mostly on very stony alluvial limestone topsoil and limestone bedrock. The limestone rock came down from the Monterossi hill by way of the Massellone River (once called the Clante, which is where the name Chianti originated). The high elevation and surrounding forests help to maintain cooler temperatures in vineyards in both the day and even more during the night. Biodiversity is an important factor in Chianti Classico and seems to accentuate the overall savory character of many of the wines. -TV