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14 Nov

The Heart of Chianti Classico

By: SVS Categories: Wines, Organic

Long before the appellation was created, Castello di Meleto began in the heart of Chianti, dating back to the eleventh century when the castle belonged to the Benedictine monks. However, it wasn’t until 1256 when “Meleto in Chianti” was first mentioned in the book “Libro degli Estimi.”

With its rich and long history, the most significant story of Castello di Meleto comes from the 1960s with the establishment of “Operation Vineyards,” which aimed to enhance the wine-growing potential of the territory and increasing jobs for the people of the area. The group established, known as Viticola Toscana, wanted to move away from the industrialised agricultural approach of the 1960s which led to the production of bulk wine and rediscover the ancient roots of wine production. This happened when a group of people from the community of Gaiole came together to purchase the estate and restore the property and vineyards, that had been neglected for some time.

Environmental sustainability has long been a priority to Castello di Meleto, with over 1,000 hectares to preserve and develop. Their commitment extends beyond organic viticulture, which they obtained certification for in 2021. Their mission includes being the guardian of their land and all that lives in it, including olive groves, forests, vineyards, and beehives, protecting and promoting biodiversity.

Today, Castello di Meleto is home of the largest vineyard area in Gaiole, and the largest organic winery in all of Chianti Classico. Their wines are known for being a typical and authentic expression of the area with elegance and structure. They focus on low yields and high quality and consistency throughout their 130 hectares of vineyards. In its almost thousand years of history, wine production has always accompanied Castello di Meleto, and today the focus is to best express what their terroir has to offer.

The Vineyards

The estate of Castello di Meleto stretches for approximately 1,000 hectares of land, including 130 hectares of vineyards. Their vineyards are located within 6 macro-zones which are each unique with their microclimatic characteristics, including soil composition, climate, and altitude, San Pietro, Casi, Poggiarso, Meleo, Trebbio, and Cerreta. The vineyards reach up to 600 meters above sea level with an average altitude ranging between 350 and 450 meters, which leads to significant temperature variations and is ideal for flavour development and maintaining freshness. On average, the general composition of the soils consists of clay, sand, and silt.

The Wines

2021 Castello di Meleto Chianti Classico

93 pts – Wine Spectator: Sleek and saturated with blackberry, black cherry and pomegranate flavours, this red has density and polished tannins. Balance is this version’s hallmark, with hints of mineral, spices and cocoa powder lining the long aftertaste.

2016 Castello di Meleto Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 

96 pts – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): The wine is deliciously fresh and appetising, with penetrating flavour, lashings of gently gripping tannins and stony, ferrous flavour chimes in strongly and lingers long in the aftertaste. A powerful, concentrated wine that should reward cellaring.


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