Notes of toasted spices, dark cedar, cocoa and bark with a mix of red and blue fruit in the background. Full, compact and lightly chewy with firm, vertical tannins. Spiced, ripe, intense, yet well-integrated and balanced with tension and persistence. Needs some time in the bottle.
Try after 2025
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (June 2023)
About this WINE
Castello di Bolgheri
Castello di Bolgheri have the oldest cantina in the area, established in 1796. They are only winery within the medieval village of Bolgheri itself. Although the most historic in the region, it is only since 1996, under the disciplined ambition of owner Conte Federico Zileri Dal Verme, that Castello di Bolgheri have started to produce and bottle their own wine. The results are truly outstanding.
Federico is a descendant of the noble Della Gherardesca family, the historical landowners of the wider Bolgheri area. His mother was one of three sisters, and following generational change, the family estate was split evenly between them all. One sister married into Incisa della Rocchetta family and started Tenuta San Guido and Sassicaia. The other married an Antinori, from whose land Masseto and Ornellaia were established. Federico’s mother Franca Spalletti Trivelli inherited land sandwiched between both famous estates, choosing to sell grapes to her sisters until the mid 1990s, when Federico took over and starting realizing their potential for greatness. Castello di Bolgheri shares terroir with the now iconic neighbouring producers with 60 hectares of prime vineyards, based on Cabernet Sauvignon on either side of the famous Viale dei Cipressi.
Production is a fraction of many Bolgheri producers, as chief winemaker Alexandro Dondi makes only 25,000 bottles of Castello di Bolgheri, and their second label Vavara. This incredible untold story, and such rare gems in the fine wine world, are increasingly harder to come by. Considering the family connections and calibre of terroir, Castello di Bolgheri offer incredible enjoyment in the glass, and investment in the cellar. These wines represent some of the highest expressions of Bolgheri, with complexity, power and elegance, and a brilliant capacity to age.
The most famous red wine grape in the world and one of the most widely planted.
It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, although it performs particularly well on well-drained, low-fertile soils. It has small, dusty, black-blue berries with thick skins that produce deeply coloured, full-bodied wines with notable tannins. Its spiritual home is the Médoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux where it thrives on the well-drained gravel-rich soils producing tannic wines with piercing blackcurrant fruits that develop complex cedarwood and cigar box nuances when fully mature.
The grape is widely planted in California where Cabernet Sauvignon based wines are distinguished by their rich mixture of cassis, mint, eucalyptus and vanilla oak. It is planted across Australia and with particular success in Coonawarra where it is suited to the famed Terra Rossa soil. In Italy barrique aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a key component in Super Tuscans such as Tignanello and Sassicaia, either on its own or as part of a blend with Sangiovese.