Tuscany’s beautiful countryside is littered with castles, palaces, and a seemingly endless supply of once-abandoned, now refurbished farmhouses. One of my favorite areas is a stretch of land in the Chianti Classico commune of Barberino Val d’Elsa that houses three of my favorite producers. The Castello della Paneretta, Castello di Monsanto, and Isole e Olena all have histories dating back longer than we in North America can fathom, but quality winemaking in this region is much more recent. Castello della Paneretta was the last of these estates to bloom under the guidance of consulting enologist Attilio Pagli who makes use of sangiovese and who has resurrected the local blending grape canaiolo as well. All of these wineries make excellent wine, stylistically unique but communally attached. The terroir of this region is evident and expressed consistently: spicy, mineral laden, complex fruits, and good acidity. The 'Terrine' is an unctuously smooth wine made from 50% sangivoese and 50% of an old-vine, pre-phylloxera clone of cannaiolo (an indigenous local grape, in this case special). Touches of new French oak and lots of palate pleasing flavors.
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