Pagliarese Chianti Classico Riserva 2018
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Pagliarese: "Modernisation of the traditional style.”
Having put aside any older formula for Chianti Classico, Pagliarese wines are eloquent expressions of the earth and of the terroir to which they belong, the fruit of focusing on and developing native local grape varieties. According to the tradition, Sangiovese, which remains the unchallengeable champion, is carefully complemented with small amounts of Canaiolo and Mammolo. Where Canaiolo somewhat softens Sangiovese, the now-rare Mammolo adds a delicate touch of spice and violets.
This distinctive house style is heightened by a classic vinification regime, which calls for privileging elegance over structure, for fairly light macerations, and for maturations in medium-large Slavonian oak ovals. The wine that emerges is a Chianti Classico of true breed and finesse.
The influential Pagliaresi family emerged in Siena beginning in the first half of the 1200s and provided Siena with magistrates and administrators loyal to the Ghibelline standard up until 1277, when the city’s aristocrats were forced to cede power to its merchants, who belonged to the Guelf faction. Although the Pagliaresi continued to play a prominent role in Siena’s academic and political circles, the family retired to the countryside, in the area of Berardenga, between the Fattoria di Fèlsina and Castell’in Villa, still known today as Pagliarese or Fattoria dei Pagliaresi.
Between the 1970s and the mid-1980s, Fattoria dei Pagliaresi was one of the best-known producers in Chianti Classico, thanks in part to the great maestro of Sangiovese, Giulio Gambelli, autodidact and palate extraordinaire. In fact, those were the years that saw the birth of the historic Pagliarese Chianti Classico.
Changing conditions led to the closure of the winery in the following decade. In 1995, the Poggiali family acquired ownership of the fields, vineyards, and winemaking facility, and integrated them into their operations, with the idea of re-launching the Pagliarese brand in the future.
Then began the long, hard work of recovering the genetic heritage of the ancient vineyards and re-planting a large part of them with massal selections from the oldest estate vineyards, which dated back to 1966-1974.
The project bore fruit with the harvest of 2015, the year that Giovanni Poggiali decided to restore lustre to the historic brand, revive the venerable wines, and arouse once again the fascination which that wine and that name had always enjoyed.
After various harvests and trial vinifications aimed at finding the perfect expression of the grapes now grown in new vineyards, the first vintage was finally released of the modern era’s Pagliarese, which displayed all the pleasure quintessential to a Chianti Classico of that growing area, a wine which the new owners further developed and refined, but with full respect for its classic characteristics.
The return of Pagliarese is, then, a true Renaissance for one of the Tuscany’s unforgettable winegrowing treasures. Fully respectful of this heritage, the Poggiali family intends to restore Pagliarese to its many aficionados and to pass on its history to new generations.
2015 vintage notes
92 points Vinous, Antonio Galloni: "The 2015 Chianti Classico is a new wine from Fèlsina's Pagliarese property. For what seems like forever, Giuseppe Mazzocolin has been the ultimate champion of Sangiovese, long before it was fashionable. With Pagliarese, Mazzocolin and Fèlsina return to a super-classic Chianti Classico based on Sangiovese, of course, but with dollops of Canaiolo, Mammolo and Colorino aged in cask. The debut 2015 is fabulous. Bright, red-toned fruit and an array of floral/savory notes are nicely delineated, but the wine's purity and extraordinary balance elevate it into the realm of the sublime. What a gorgeous wine this is!"