Ciao Tutti! Welcome back to The Wining Hour! Beginning this year, each month I will be featuring an Italian wine that I sipped and enjoyed during The Wining Hour. The featured wine will be made from Italian indigenous grapes, and it could be a white, rose, red or sparkling…o una bianco, rosato, rosso o bollicine. This month’s feature is an Italian red: Castiglion del Bosco Campo del Drago Brunello di Montalcino.
Castiglion del Bosco, with history dating back to 1100 A.D., is located in Tuscany, in the heart and home of Brunello, in the UNESCO designated Val d’Orcia. Their Capanna vineyards are located at 450 meters above sea level. Today, the winery is owned by Massimo Ferragamo (yes, the son of designer Salvatore Ferragamo), who mentions, in regards to the region, “I was so incredibly moved by the limitless views by the Brunello vineyards as well as the scenery that can only be found in the Val d’Orcia.” The region is truly breathtaking!
Castiglion del Bosco demonstrates an intimate knowledge of their vineyards and terroir. Harvests are done manually and the winery obtained the certification for organic vineyard management in 2016, in an effort to maintain the balance in their natural vineyards. According to their winemaker, Cecilia Leoneschi, “Our aim is to produce exceptional wines that our soil enables us to make, distinctive wines of great integrity that are more rooted in the land, more complex and more enduring thanks to this type of viticulture.” This philosophy is manifested in every bottle they produce.
Notably, Castiglion del Bosco was actually one of the founding members of the Consorzio del Brunello di Montalcino in 1967.
As per specifications by the Consorzio, Brunello di Montalcino is made from Sangiovese grapes. Typically, Brunello is bright garnet in color and delivers complex notes of flowers, earth and tobacco. It is common to experience hints of aromatic wood, red fruits, vanilla and composite jam. Brunello has an elegant and harmonious body. It is dry with long aromatic persistence, and known for having the longest aging requirements in Italy. The wines must be aged for a minimum of four years, while the riserva must be aged for a minimum of five years.
The Wining Hour
All lovers of Brunello would acknowledge that 2015 is a vintage to be reckoned with. It proved to be the best year for Brunello since the famed 2010 vintage. Due to the growing season (consistent weather pattern of warmth and delicate rain) the 2015 vintage is marked by power and purity, vibrant acidity, finesse and age-worthiness. I had the pleasure of attending the “Benvenuto Brunello” event last year, which is the consortium’s flagship event to present the new vintage, award Stars to the Brunello harvest and award (Leccio d’Oro award) outstanding restaurants and wine shops around the world for their wide and representative range of Brunello di Montalcino. I also attended the lovely gala event, an Evening under The Stars, with the Consortium del Brunello di Montalcino, to celebrate the exceptional 2015 vintage, where I tasted many fantastic 2015 Brunellos.
Campo del Drago is a cru of Brunello di Montalcino, from a superior growing site in the appellation. “Campo del Drago” derives its name from the foot of the vineyard, which is in the shape of a dragon’s tail. This vino is, of course, made from 100% Sangiovese, aged for two years in French oak and then another two years in the bottle. Campo del Drago is a lush and intense, with dark berry fruit. Beautiful ruby red in appearance, with dried black cherry, blackberry, plum, licorice, leather and spice, and a hint of minerality (indicative of the clay shale and gravel-pebble soil). This wine is complex, with great character. It delivers a great integration of ripe fruit and acidity. Medium to full-bodied, with velvety smooth tannins and a persistent finish. Beautiful and balanced. 14.5% ABV.
I could not wait to indulge with this bottle, and it was more than fine that I didn’t wait. It was excellent, with lots of life yet to live! Awesome aging capability indeed!
What are your thoughts about this wine?
If you enjoy Brunello di Montalcino and/or like the region, check out Picturesque Pienza: The Ideal Renaissance Town (In Val d’Orcia)