RESEARCH

FRANCESCO RICASOLI AND HIS RESEARCH

From the oldest roots to the most recent innovations

Aware of the great potential of the Brolio terroir, Francesco Ricasoli was the first to desire a zonation of the lands cultivated as vineyards in the Chianti Classico area. His intention was to learn more about the peculiarities of the viticultural patrimony of his property and use this information for improved production. A greater level of excellence in the company’s agronomic and enological choices led to modern and sustainable precision viticulture. Integrating old studies with new ones, a project of clonal selection was begun, aimed at conserving the most interesting biotypes of the Sangiovese present at Brolio. These clones are unique to Brolio and listed in the National Grape Register of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, and have been used to create the most recent vineyards.
… because it’s the birthplace of that modern wine that reinvented itself in the 19th century.
- Francesco Ricasoli, great grandson of Bettino -

SUSTAINABILITY

The company is located in one of the purist and least contaminated places in Tuscany. Over the centuries, this area was nearly inaccessible due to its stony ground and thick, compact woods. It became habitable in harmony with nature, thanks to the many locals who have understood the importance of respecting its beauty and harmony. In a context like this, it has not been difficult for the company to choose nature-friendly viticulture: we are not organic, but we make extra effort to employ agronomic techniques with low environmental impact.

The research we have carried out over the years, together with our applied technologies, demonstrate our respect the territory and allow us to produce quality wines of the territory. For all these reasons, we interpret and practice the concept of sustainability fully and consider it a point of pride. Barone Ricasoli has always been aware of its role as a protagonist in the Chianti Classico and is focused on conserving the territory and making it useable for local inhabitants and tourists alike.

The reconstruction of the estate farmhouses, the maintenance of the old estate roads and of their dry-stone walls, demonstrate the effort and the care the company has for the conservation and safeguarding of a countryside and land unique in their kind. The three pillars of sustainability (social, environmental and economic) are thus all considered, because for Barone Ricasoli the territory is itself an added value: its wines reflect the company mentality and the magnificent terroir in which they are produced.

VINEYARDS AND GRAPE VARIETIES

Territorial extension and varietal wealth

Each wine we produce has a very independent personality, though all are produced in the same territory. The credit lies in the multifaceted soils, altitudes and microclimates that allow us to bring out the true nature of the Brolio Terroir.
- Francesco Ricasoli -

Ricasoli’s vineyards are all on hills, with altitudes ranging from 180 to 490 meters above sea level, mostly with a south/southwest exposure. The climate is Mediterranean, with concentrated rainfall in spring and autumn (about 800mm/year), mild winters with rare snowfalls and hot dry summers. Sangiovese is the reigning variety; here it finds an ideal environment where it can develop all its natural potential.

Attention to the terroir guides choices at Barone Ricasoli, such as the most suitable variety to plant, the most appropriate rootstock, correct row orientation and best agronomic practices.

Soil characteristics at Brolio

The zonation that Francesco Ricasoli implemented identified nineteen different soil types at Brolio, indicating the varied soil composition found in much of the Chianti Classico area. The wide variety typical of the Brolio vineyards is evident when walking through.

Wine produced plot by plot has identified areas with particular qualities and potentials, from which wines of structure and distinctive flavors are produced. Some Crus of exceptional quality have been produced thanks to the company’s propensity for the Cru concept.

The vineyards are located on five main geological formations:

Monte Morello

Its calcareous clay soil is one of the types most representative of the Chianti Classico area. It is rocky soil, rich in calcium carbonate and clay and poor in organic matter. The vineyard is located 390 meters above sea level south of Brolio Castle, in the central part of the property, with a southeastern exposition. Grapes planted in this area include Sangiovese (primarily), Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot; planting density is 6,600 vines per hectare. These soils yield wines extremely intense on the nose, with evident notes of ripe red fruit and plum. Excellent structure, body and persistence, with soft and sweet tannin. The area has always been considered ideal for Sangiovese, and includes the Colledilà vineyard.

Marine deposit

The soil is composed of Pliocene marine sediments, with sandy deposits and rocks smoothed by the action of the sea, and clay at deeper levels. Good levels of organic matter. Marine fossils and lignite emerge from the soil. Altitudes range from 300 to 350 meters above sea level and the slopes are gentle. The vineyard is in the central part of the property, south of the calcareous clay soils. Wines produced from these soils are fresh and fruity, with spicy notes, elegant acidity and decided minerality.

Ancient fluvial terrace

Located in the southernmost part of the estate, in the great Arbia River valley. The soil is particular and complex; it originated in an ancient fluvial terrace formed in the Pliocene-Pleistocene. The deposits are silty, with little skeletal structure, with clay, chalk-poor and poor in organic matter. The altitude is around 300 meters above sea level and the exposition is southwestern.

Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon are planted in the steeper slopes and the higher area, with Malvasia Bianca del Chianti and Sauvignon Blanc in the fluvial terraces. Planting density is 6,600 vines per hectare. Wines from this area are very intense on the nose: fresh fruit, violet flowers and balsamic notes. Good structure, body and persistence.

Macigno del Chianti

This soil is also present in many zones of the Chianti Classico territory. Composed by sands and rocks, well drained and furnished with little organic matter. The slopes are quite steep with altitudes of 460 meters above sea level and southern exposure. The vineyards in this area to the north of the company are planted with Sangiovese, Merlot, Chardonnay; planting density ranges from 5,500 to 6,600 vines per hectare. The soils yield complex wines that are quite fruity and well structured. This area is especially well suited to viticulture and includes part of the Casalferro vineyard, which is the source of the Merlot used to make the Casalferro wine.

Scaglia Toscana

Altitudes varying from 450 to 500 meters above sea level. The soils are very thin and the preferred exposure of the vineyards is to the west, northwest and south. The geological formations found in this area are the Scaglia Toscana (a pink limestone) and the Macigno formation. The Sangiovese is the variety present in this area, and the wine obtained is very concentrated, with a complex structure and intense minerality.

VARIETIES

Besides an incredible array of Sangiovese grapes, for centuries countless grapevines that today we refer to as “nonnative” varieties have been studied and grown in Brolio. These include Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and many others. These are the matrix of the DNA of Ricasoli wines.

The main variety is Sangiovese, which grows perfectly in the lands of Brolio.