The history of Italy cannot be told without including the prominent contributions of the Ricasoli family, who have produced wine since 1141. Ricasoli is documented as the oldest winery in Italy and the fourth oldest family business in the world. A beautiful illustration of the family tree in 1584 is one of the first images of the Chianti area and the family archives include export receipts dating back to the late 1600s. However, perhaps the most famous historical contribution came from Baron Bettino Ricasoli, who was not only twice the prime minister of Italy, but after 30 years of experimentation and documentation, developed the original formula for the Chianti wine that became the standard for the region.
The heart of the Ricasoli wine production comes from the Brolio castello, a magnificent castle located in the commune of Gaiole in Chianti, which was built as an outpost to defend Florence from the rival city of Siena. Within the estate, ancient cannonballs and even more recent WWII artillery shells have been found, evidence of the historical strategic importance of the castle with views of the entire Chianti Classico area. The 3,000 acre estate includes 580 acres of sustainably farmed vineyards, ranging in altitude from 800 to 1,500 feet. Each plot is harvested and fermented separately with meticulous dedication.
Baron Francesco Ricasoli has been at the helm of the winery since 1993 and with the deepest respect for his renowned ancestors, he has guided the estate in innovation and sustainable vineyard practices. The ongoing study of soil types and the clonal selection of the Brolio Sangiovese are among his greatest passions and he has been responsible for total renovation and re-mapping of the vineyards. Today, the wines are a reflection of the family’s nine hundred year dedication to quality winemaking and innovation at the Brolio estate. - Folio Fine Wine
Follow the Ricasoli #winestudio chat on Twitter
January 14, 21, 28, February 4 - 9:00pm - 10:00pm ET
WSET Wine Educator Lyn Farmer @fizzfan
Week 1 - January 14: Ricasoli and the Birth of Modern Chianti
Week 2 - January 21: Legacy and Romance of the Brolio Estate
Week 3 - January 28: The Power of Chianti Classico Terroir - How Merlot Imbues the Flavors of Tuscany
Week 4 - February 4: Ricasoli Single Vineyard Crus: Clonal Research and Soil Mapping at Brolio