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Ricasoli

The famous noble family in Tuscany has been growing wine since 1141 and is one of the oldest wineries in the world. Since that time, this family had extensive land holdings in the area between Siena and Florence. This prompted the Republic of Florence to exclude the family from public offices. However, this did not prevent the family from exerting great political influence for centuries. Around 1830, Baron Bettino Ricasoli (1809-1880) inherited the neglected family estate Castello di Brolio in the heart of the Chianti-Classico region and began to reform viticulture on a grand scale. He travelled through France and Germany, studied viticulture there and imported numerous grape varieties. In 1861 he became Prime Minister of the new Kingdom of Italy and was nicknamed the "Iron Baron".

After numerous attempts he created a generally valid recipe for Chianti around 1850 (see there). In a letter from 1872, Ricasoli summarized the results of his decades of experiments. However, the modern Chianti recipe has changed significantly since then. An even more significant influence on the quality of Chianti was the Baron's efforts to reorganize the production and marketing of Chianti wines in the sense of a division of activities. The concept was based on the assumption that the majority of winegrowers would deliver grapes to large trading houses and wineries, which would then carry out the vinification, ageing and marketing. For this reason, he founded the trading company Ricasoli, which over the next hundred years became the leading Chianti producer.

In the 1960s, Ricasoli was under the control of the Seagram Group for a few years. Although this led to a huge increase in production, it had a negative impact on quality. In 1990, Ricasoli was bought by the Australian multinational Hardy, but only three years later took its fortunes back into its own hands. Since 1993, Francesco Ricasoli has been managing the estate with its headquarters in "Castello di Brolio". Out of about 1,200 hectares of land, almost all of which are in the municipality of Gaiole, 250 hectares are vineyards. In 1994 the complete renewal of the vine cultures was started, today the density is 5.500 to 6.200 vines per hectare. Sangiovese is cultivated on more than 150 hectares. The rest is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Canaiolo Nero, Chardonnay, Malvasia del Chianti(Malvasia Bianca Lunga) and Merlot.

The main wine of the house is "Chianti-Classico Castello di Brolio" from Sangiovese, which is aged for 18 months in barriques. Other premium wines are "Chianti Classico Brolio" and "Riserva Rocca Guicciarda". The red wine "Casalferro" is blended from Sangiovese and Merlot. The white wine "Torricella" from Chardonnay is aged for eight months in barriques and the "Brolio Vinsanto" (from Malvasia del Chianti) is still pressed according to old tradition. A young Chianti called "San Ripolo" is marketed under the label "Barone Ricasoli". The "Castello di Cacchiano" with about 25 hectares of vineyards belongs to Giovanni Ricasoli-Firidolfi (cousin of the Brolio branch). The Castello has been owned by the family since 1150. A Chianti Classico "Castello di Cacchiano" (90% Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Malvasia Nero, Colorino and Merlot) is produced here.

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