Chianti is arguably the most popular Italian red wine in the U. S. Older wine drinkers like me remember the wicker-basket bottles of Chianti that were prominent 50 years ago in many small family-owned Italian restaurants. Fortunately, the selection of Chiantis today is far greater and generally better than in the past.
The Castello di Radda winery, located just north of the city of Siena in the town of Radda in Chianti in Tuscany, is part of Agricole Gussalli Beretta. Castello di Radda was acquired by the Beretta family in 2003 and comprises 45 hectares of vineyards at an altitude of 400 meters above sea level.
We recently had an opportunity to taste some of their wines.
The first wine we tried was a 2016 Castello di Radda Chianti Classico DOCG, a 14%-alcohol wine made with 90% Sangiovese and 10% other local red grapes. This wine was fermented in thermo-conditioned stainless steel vats followed by maceration on the skins for 2-3 weeks. Malolactic fermentation followed in both stainless steel and wood. Aging was split between oak tonneaux and 20hl Slavonian oak casks. Finally, there was 6 months’ aging in the bottle. The finished product was a wine of deep garnet color and a light but complex nose. It finished medium long and very smooth. I rated this excellent wine a 91/92.
Our second Castello di Radda wine was a 2014 Chianti Classico DOCG Vigna Il Corno Gran Selection. The Vigna Il Corno was a single vineyard 100% Sangiovese grape, 14.5% Alcohol wine. Another hand picked product from 20 year old vines, its alcoholic fermentation took place in 50hl stainless steel vats with maceration of four weeks on the skins. Malolactic fermentation was in new 5hl oak barrels along with the lees for about five months. The wine was then aged in the same barrels for 20 additional months, followed by another 12 months in the bottle. The resulting wine was deep garnet in color with a chocolate nose. It finished medium and smooth with an elegant taste. However, I felt that it should have finished longer and thus I only rated this very good wine a 90.
The final wine was a 2014 Castello di Radda Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, a 100% Sangiovese, 14.5% alcohol offering. Using hand selected grapes, the Riserva was initially fermented in stainless steel tanks with the wine remaining on the skins for 3-4 weeks depending on the ripeness of the grapes. Malolactic fermentation was 20% in oak with the remaining 80% in stainless steel tanks. Aging was 20% in new French oak tonneaux and the remaining 80% in a combination of once-used tonneaux and 20hl Slavonian oak casks, all for a total time of 20 months. A further 9 months’ aging occurred in the bottle. The resulting wine was a bright garnet in color with a light nose. The Riserva had a pleasant medium start and a long, very smooth and elegant finish. I really liked this wine and rated it a 92/93.
For a relatively new winery (by Italian standards), Castello di Radda has done an excellent job with its Chiantis. I highly recommend these wines. They are available in the U. S. at http://www.bestwinevalues.com.
Thanks to Annalisa Chiavazza at Well Com in Italy, who sent me samples from Castello di Radda .