Castell’in Villa is one of the most historic estates in Chianti Classico. Princess Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa and her husband found the property in 1967 and purchased it the following year. Initially, Princess Coralia and her husband thought they would make wine for fun. Her father, a Greek aristocrat, demurred at the thought of his daughter becoming a peasant. At the time, there was just one hectare under vine, but planting began in earnest in 1968 following the suggestions the Chianti Classico Consorzio, which included the white grapes that ended up being used for the first vintages.
Stylistically, their wines are classic, elegant and traditional. The Chiantis, even the “current” releases, are held back in bottle to give added complexity and refinement. The wines display classic aromas and flavours of dried fruits and flowers, minerals and a dusty/earthy core that is uniquely Tuscan. There is an energy and razor sharp focus to all the wines with well-integrated freshness and balanced structure.
The estate’s Santacroce is a Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blend aged in French oak first produced in 1983. Although originally conceived as a pure French oak-aged Sangiovese meant to compete with the trendy wines of the day, Princess Coralia began using Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend beginning in 1988. The Cabernet was grafted onto exiting Canaiolo at the suggestion of famed oenologist Giacomo Tachis in the late 1970s. Princess Coralia met Tachis in 1977, the same year her father passed away. Tachis bought wines in bulk at Castell’in Villa for the early vintages of Antinori’s Tignanello. Although Tachis was never formally a consultant to Castell’in Villa, he advised Princess Coralia on a number of matters, including suggesting she uproot her Canaiolo and Colorino in favor of Sangiovese and later Cabernet Sauvignon.