The cru wine culture in the Chianti Classico area
We are one of the few wineries in the Chianti Classico area capable of producing wines with personality that are very different from one another, though all produced in the same area. The credit lies in its multifaceted-nature that allows us to bring out very different characteristics of a particular variety as well as its natural flair for quality. It is a very old concept: the Romans called it ‘genius loci’, today we talk about terroir.
(Francesco Ricasoli)
In the middle of the 1990s, Barone Ricasoli started a huge project to renew the vineyards in its Chianti Classico land, amounting to 235.83 hectares. They were old vineyards (all planted at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s), ripped apart by Esca, with low densities per hectare and containing all the varieties belonging to Chianti Classico, but distributed randomly. So an excellent opportunity arose to renew and improve the vineyards, while introducing international varieties, such as merlot and cabernet, at the same time.  Considering that most of the land was made up of rock and that the breaking up of the land had to be done using ploughs and explosives, the problem of reclamation proved to be complicated and hard right from the start. So far 235 hectares have been replaced in Brolio, using modern preparation techniques and genetically selected material, all aimed at obtaining long-lived vineyards capable of producing high-quality grapes. 
 

 

Soil characteristics in Brolio

The climate is Mediterranean, with concentrated rainfall in spring and autumn (about 800mm/year), mild winters with rare snowfalls and hot dry summers. The winery’s vineyards are all in the hills, with altitudes ranging from 180 to 490 metres above sea level, mostly with a south, southwest exposure.

The vineyards fall into five main geological formations:


  • at over 380 metres above sea level. (Upper Middle Oligocene and Lower Miocene) characterised by deep layers of different types of sandstone and by superficial calcareous marl and blackish clay.



  • the area is characterized by altitudes ranging between 450 and 500 m, with very thin soils and preferential exposure of the vineyards to the west and northwest.



  • famous for its calcareous alberese stone and galestro formations, in a strip between 300 and 400 metres above sea level.



  • characterised by flood lands, rich in gravel and sand in the lowest areas and close to the Arbia stream.



  • located in the southern part of the estate near the river Arbia, mainly characterized by fluvial suspended terraces connected by quite slanted slopes (15-30%) and altitudes of 240 -330 m. Note the upper fluvial terrace of Ceni, which displays a sub-planar to gently sloping morphology and ancient, probably Middle-Upper Pleistocene ( 500,00-120,000 years ago) fluvial sediments, soil is ochre colored and with a fine loamy texture (silt 40%, clay 30%).


Varieties

Countless grape varieties have been studied and grown in Brolio for centuries, such as those that we refer to today as “non native” varieties, like merlot, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and many others, as well as an incredible array of sangiovese grapes, which through time have characterised, if we can say so, the DNA of Ricasoli wines. It is precisely this wealth of varieties, as a result of old studies gathered in the field, that Ricasoli has promoted a project of clonal selection in order to preserve the most interesting biotypes of sangiovese in Brolio. The clones selected have been used to make the most recent vineyards.