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 Wine Tasting  Share this article     Summary of Wine Producers column Events 
  Wine Producers Issue 2, November 2002   
Fattoria di Castel PietraioFattoria di Castel Pietraio Cellar JournalCellar Journal  Contents 
Issue 1, October 2002 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 3, December 2002

Fattoria di Castel Pietraio

In Monteriggioni, not far from Siena, Italy, among an enchanting view, there is the ancient Castel Pietraio, where excellent quality wines are produced

 Just few kilometers from Siena, in the heart of Tuscany, Italy, among an enchanting view, there is the town of Monteriggioni, located in the Chianti Colli Senesi area and few kilometers from the Chianti Classico area, where stands the majestic and ancient Castel Pietraio, with its high tower, dated back to about 1000 AD, embellished with particular Guelph merlons. The building of Castel Pietraio is now the headquarter of a prestigious winery that also produces olive oil as well as being an agricultural tourism structure. The winery, after having been renewed few years ago, is now run by Baron Mauro Neri del Nero, who welcomes us to the castle.

Baron Mauro Neri del Nero in
his cellar
Baron Mauro Neri del Nero in his cellar

 Let's start by getting to know the winery better; Baron Neri del Nero introduces his winery to us «Fattoria di Castel Pietraio has a very long and ancient tradition in wine making. In 1996, when my father passed away, I succeeded him in the management of the winery and I decided to change the production style of the company and aimed for quality and innovation while keeping and respecting the tradition of this land. The culture of Sangiovese is therefore the basis of our products and we also cultivate Merlot for making red wines as well as Chardonnay for producing white wines. The winery is part of the “District of the Montagnola Senese” and it has been built in the castle and the most ancient part of this castle is represented by a tower, built around 1000 AD, as well as other buildings dated back to 1300 and 1500. The castle also comprises cellars dated back to 1700, and these cellars are still functional and renewed in 1999. In 1996 we planted new vineyards and we increased the previous density of vines and in 1999 we had our first vintage under the direction of our winemaker, Dr. Stefano Chioccioli. The renewal of the cellar allowed us to introduce new technologies as well as new and modern machineries in order to promote and aim toward a quality production. Since 1999 we produce wine by refining it in small casks instead of large casks, and we also have particular cask's supports that allow us a better and easy care of cask's maintenance».

 The castle where the winery is located is a beautiful monument of high historical value, and in this castle lived important persons of the local history. Concerning this aspect, Baron Neri del Nero said «the castle includes an ancient tower dated back to the 1000 AD that was used as a defense for the “Montagnola Senese”, and it was subsequently expanded with other buildings dated 1300 and 1500. In this castle lived, besides the founder, Countess Ava, of Longobard origins, who donated, about in the year 1000 AD, part of the castle's land to some Benedictine Monks and they established an abbey near Abbadia a Isola, a town not far from here, and they reclaimed the valley in order to allow cultivation of lands. In order to honor the history of this places and the memory of the renowned persons who lived in this castle, we decided to dedicate them our products and we named our wines after them: Tegrimo, who was the son of the founder of the castle, is an interesting wine made of Sangiovese grape and it is refined for six months in barrique; Sindrada, who was Tegrimo's wife, is our white wine and it is produced with Chardonnay and Malvasia bianca grapes. Another famous couple who lived in this castle was Ghinibaldo Saracini and Sapia Salvani; Ghinibaldo is our most prestigious wine and it is made from Sangiovese and Merlot grapes; it is refined for 12 months in barrique and for 3 months in bottle. To Ghinibaldo's wife, Sapia, we dedicated our rose wine, which is made from Sangiovese and it is left to ferment for three days with the wine used to make Ghinibaldo. After three days, we take the wine to make Sapia away from the container and the process is completed by means of typical techniques used for making white wines. This drawing of wine from Ghinibaldo actually improves its structure and its body».


 Castel Pietraio, besides being the headquarter of the winery, is also an agricultural tourism structure and they also allow people to visit the castle. Baron Neri del Nero talks about this particular aspect «we offer the possibility to visit the castle as well as guided tour to our cellars and we also offer the possibility to stay in our apartments. The castle also has an agricultural tourism activity as well as apartments for anyone who wants to stay here for at least one week and we also have a swimming pool as well as guided paths in the woods. We also have elegant rooms finely decorated with furniture styled as the ones of the 1700».

 Let's continue talking about the wine produced in the castle. Winery's vineyards are all located in the Chianti Colli Senesi area and the production of the wine is completely made in the winery which is in the castle. Baron Neri del Nero says «winery's activity is done in the castle and it is located in the area of controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin (DOCG) of Chianti Colli Senesi, about one kilometer and a half (about one mile) from the border of the Chianti Classico area; for this reason many consider our wine similar to the ones produced in Chianti Classico. The winery has been renewed in regard and full respect of local traditions and in that occasion we made the decision, unfortunately not well agreed by most but in our opinion represents a traditional aspect, of keeping and using our old wine containers made of concrete, however these containers, because of their thickness and a lower thermal dispersion, allow us to keep the wine to a more constant temperature. These wine containers have been restored and adapted in order to allow a modern wine making process and we installed in each of them special system for temperature control. Of course, we also have steel containers and we mainly use them to keep the wine before bottling or to blend wines».

 Being in a such an important area of the Italian viticulture represents a factor which can play a determinant role; Chianti is among the most celebrated and renowned red wines of Italy and Tuscany is one of the most famous regions of this country. In this regard, this is the comment of Baron Neri del Nero «the most important thing is to be in Tuscany. This region is not probably much appreciated by Italians, however it is highly regarded and appreciated by foreigners and, as we also sell our wine outside Italy, this is certainly a prestigious factor».

 Talking about the forthcoming vintage and the harvest of this year, Baron Neri del Nero says «thanks to the technical management of our wine maker, Dr. Stefano Chioccioli, we always prefer waiting for Sangiovese to get overripe, and according to the meteorological conditions of this year, this will probably be impossible, however, while other wineries are working on vintage already, here at Castel Pietraio we are trying as has as we can to delay harvesting in order to have a riper grape. In order to promote grape's ripeness we worked in the vineyard and thinned out grapes and got rid of some leaves in order to take the most benefits from the sun. Unfortunately this year we had lots of rainy days and we had some damages in the vineyard, mainly mold on grape's berries and our personnel is working in order to prevent any other damage and they are manually removing any mouldy berry in order not to contaminate the good ones. We just hope to have better meteorological conditions in the forthcoming weeks in order to have a good vintage, even though it will be pretty hard, we are confident to have good surprises and interesting results». In regard to the countries where Castel Pietraio's wine is sold «we are currently selling our wine in the United States of America, which is also our main market, where a young importer agrees with our philosophy. Our products are sold in Colorado, California, Washington DC, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oregon, Texas and Washington. Besides Italy, in Europe our wines are sold in Holland and in Great Britain. Last but not the least, Castel Pietraio also sell its wine directly at the castle».

An ancient wine press of 1700,
one of the many historical patrimonies of Castel Pietraio
An ancient wine press of 1700, one of the many historical patrimonies of Castel Pietraio

 Castel Pietraio, besides producing the wines we shortly talked about, also produces a Chianti Colli Senesi. Talking about the production of the winery, Baron Neri del Nero illustrates its products: «Chianti Colli Senesi represents our basic product and it is the typical wine of this land, even though the typical grapes defined by Baron Ricasoli were revised, as well as being a common habit of all the producers of the area, white wines are not part of this wine anymore and at present it is produced with 95% of Sangiovese and 5% of Canaiolo nero. Chianti Colli Senesi was the first wine we produced after winery's renewal and we had our first vintage in 1999 and produced about 6600 bottles, the same as for the year 2000, whereas we plan to produce about 13000 bottles in 2001. In 1999 we also produced for the first time Ghinibaldo and it was released in January 2002 with a production of just 2400 bottles. This wine is produced with 80% of Sangiovese and 20% of Merlot and within few days we will start bottling the vintage 2000, we plan to produce 4800 bottles and they will be released in the market at the beginning of 2003. In 2000 we produced for the first time Tegrimo, a red wine produced with Sangiovese and refined in barrique for 6 months; in the same year we also produced Sindrada, a white wine made of 90% of Chardonnay and 10% of Malvasia bianca; we had a production of 1200 bottles and 2400 bottles for the vintage 2001. In 2000 we also produced our rose wine, Sapia, and we produced 1200 bottles. The production of this wine will probably be dropped because it did not meet our commercial expectations. Besides wines, Castel Pietraio produces a grappa made of Chianti Colli Senesi's pomace which is distilled within 24 hours».

 At the end of our visit at Fattoria di Castel Pietraio, Baron Neri del Nero opens to us the doors of its cellar and we have the chance to see the modern machinery they use for making wine and their characteristics and, before leaving, in respect of the most genuine and traditional custom of any visit in a cellar, Baron Neri del Nero gives us the chance to taste his new wines, each one of them very convincing and well made. In particular we had the chance to taste the Ghinibaldo 2001, which is currently refining in barriques, and it seems to be impressive as well as promising: a great wine, no matter of its young age, it is already full of rich and astonishing promises. Lastly, a special mention goes to “Bianca di Castel Pietraio”, the grappa produced with Chianti Colli Senesi's pomace. A very well made grappa, clean, rich of fruity aromas and that leaves a clean mouth as well as a persistent flavor of hazelnut and fruit.

 In conclusion to our visit at Castel Pietraio, we remind our readers that they offer guided tours to the cellars and they directly sell their products, including wine, at the castle.


Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought

Sindrada 2000, Fattoria di Castel Pietraio
Sindrada 2000
Fattoria di Castel Pietraio
Grapes: Chardonnay (90%), Malvasia Bianca (10%)
Price: € 5,00 ($11,40) Score:
This wine shows a light straw yellow color and a tint of greenish yellow. The olfactory profile of the wine perfectly corresponds to the typical aromas of the grapes used: the mark of Chardonnay is completed by the pleasing aromatic mark of Malvasia bianca. Fruit aromas are the main perception in this wine, in particular, pineapple, banana, pear and apple followed by flower aromas of acacia and hawthorn. The bouquet is completed by a light and delicate hint of bread crust. The wine is balanced in the mouth, has good body and roundness, it is crisp and has a balanced quantity of alcohol as well as intense and persistent flavors. The finish is good and persistent with lightly crisp flavors.
Food Match: Pastas, Appetizers, Fish

Sapia 2000, Fattoria di Castel Pietraio
Sapia 2000
Fattoria di Castel Pietraio
Grapes: Sangiovese
Price: € 5,00 Score:
Interesting rose wine made of Sangiovese. The wine shows a light cherry-red color with a tint of pink. The nose is intense and persistent as well as having a good and rich variety of fruit aromas such as black cherry, cherry, strawberry and blueberry followed by an elegant hint of dried rose. In the mouth the wine has good body, a pleasing crispness and a right quantity of alcohol as well as a light hint of tannins which give the wine a good balance. The wine is also persistent and the finish has flavors of fruit confirming the sensations perceived by the nose.
Food Match: Pastas, Fish soups, White meats, Roasted fish

Chianti Colli Senesi 2001, Fattoria di Castel Pietraio
Chianti Colli Senesi 2001
Fattoria di Castel Pietraio
Grapes: Sangiovese (95%), Canaiolo nero (5%)
Price: € 5,50 ($10,75) Score:
The wine is limpid and has a ruby red color with evident hints of purplish red and has an intense bouquet mainly composed of fruit aromas, in particular black cherry, black currant and dried plum followed by pleasing hints of licorice and vanilla. In mouth the wine is balanced and pretty round, good tannins well balanced by alcohol, which is easily perceivable. The finish is persistent with evident and pleasing flavors of black cherry.
Food Match: Hard cheese, Broiled meat and Barbecue, Structured pastas

Tegrimo 2000, Fattoria di Castel Pietraio
Tegrimo 2000
Fattoria di Castel Pietraio
Grapes: Sangiovese
Price: € 13,00 ($15,15) Score:
This wine shows a beautiful ruby red color and the olfactory analysis reveal an intense and convincing bouquet, mainly of fruit: black cherry, blackberry, dried plum, raspberry and strawberry jam. Moreover the wine has a pleasing hint of vanilla which elegantly completes the bouquet. The mouth is convincing as well: the wine has a good balance and body, good intensity of flavors and tannins well balanced by alcohol, pretty perceivable. The finish is persistent with evident flavors of blackberry and black cherry. Tegrimo is refined for 6 months in barrique.
Food Match: Roasted meats, Hard cheese, Braised meats

Ghinibaldo 1999, Fattoria di Castel Pietraio
Ghinibaldo 1999
Fattoria di Castel Pietraio
Grapes: Sangiovese (80%), Merlot (20%)
Price: € 19,50 ($26,99) Score: Wine that excels in its category
Ghinibaldo shows an intense ruby red color and has intense and elegant fruit aromas of ripe cherry, blackberry and plum jam. The bouquet is completed by an intense aroma of chocolate and hints of vanilla as well as good aromas of wood. The wine has good body in the mouth as well as a good structure, alcohol is easily perceivable and however it is well balanced by tannins, pretty round. Flavors are intense and the finish is persistent with a long flavor of plum jam. Ghinibaldo is refined for 12 months in barrique.
Food Match: Braised meats, Stewed meats, Roasted meats, Hard cheese

Fattoria di Castel Pietraio - Strada di Strove, 33 - 53055 Monteriggioni, Siena (Italy) - Tel. ++39 0577 300020 - Fax. ++39 0577 300977 - Winemaker: Stefano Chioccioli - Established: - Production: 40000 bottles - E-Mail: - WEB:

 Wine Tasting  Share this article     Summary of Wine Producers column Events 
  Wine Producers Issue 2, November 2002   
Fattoria di Castel PietraioFattoria di Castel Pietraio Cellar JournalCellar Journal  Contents 
Issue 1, October 2002 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 3, December 2002

Cellar Journal

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 Wine Tasting  Share this article     Summary of Wine Producers column Events 
  Wine Producers Issue 2, November 2002   
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