Rocca di Frassinello | Buy Wine Future |
Rocca di Frassinello
Inaugurated in the heart of the Tuscan Maremma on June 30, 2007, the Rocca di Frassinello winery is a joint venture between Castellare di Castellina and Domaines Barons de Rothschild-Château Lafite, an unmistakable name in the greatest wines of France and of the world. A project in the center of Maremma, between Bolgheri and Montalcino, that benefits from the dually celebrated oenological experience of both partners. In this area the vine historically flourished for about 3 thousand years since the time of the Etruscans, who cultivated it by utilizing surrounding trees as a support for the vines. Paolo Panerai and Barone Eric de Rothschild specifically selected the hill in front of the town of Giuncarico, in the municipality of Gavorrano, as the ideal place to cultivate vineyards. Here a constant breeze is channelled from the sea, wicking moisture and moderating the climate both in winter and summer. It took two years to unite the five plots that make up the estate’s 500 hectares, of which 83 are planted to vine. With conscious attention to environmental sustainability, the attentive project preserved forests inside the property boundaries encouraging biodiversity. Vineyards of Sangioveto (a specific Sangiovese clone selected at Castellare that represents 50% of total hectares), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Vermentino give birth to wines that combine the best of Italy and France. To further validate the international ambitions of the estate, architect Renzo Piano signed the project of the cellar: an elegant and highly functional building on the highest hill of the amphitheater of Rocca di Frassinello. From the first vintage of 2004 until today, Rocca di Frassinello has successfully produced 5 reds, a white and a grappa, all of which are well appreciated internationally. Poggio alla Guardia Vigne Alte is the “entry wine” with a strong personality and beloved drinkability. Le Sughere di Frassinello, in succession, is a wine of very high quality landing amongst the Top 100 of Wine Spectator. Rocca di Frassinello is the grand vin, the height of production combining strength, intensity, and elegance (93/100 by Robert Parker and Wine Spectator). In addition to these three wines are: Ornello, characterized by a substantial percentage of Syrah in the blend; and Vermentino, a white varietal that’s made a prominent name in Maremma just as it has in Sardinia. Since the 2007 harvest, Rocca di Frassinello has become the protagonist of a new suitor, Baffonero: the 100% Merlot that, since the very first vintage, has been highly successful among critics. Idealized as a challenger to Masseto, Baffonero is today one of the greatest Merlots in the world.

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Winemaker Notes

Alessandro Cellai

Rocca di Frassinello

by Alessandro Cellai
Alessandro Cellai is not only the head winemaker of the four DCC estates, but also the overall head of the company as managing director and general manager. Alessandro studied oenology at the Istituto Tecnico of Siena and chemistry at the University of Florence. He is also a doctor in agrarian studies honoris causa. When Paolo Panerai chose him for Castellare di Castellina he was 28 years old, with a great passion for viticulture and oenology passed down from his farming grandfather and his uncle Giuseppe, at that time parish priest at the Parrocchia della Piazza at Castellina in Chianti, which possessed an adjoining vineyard. He had gained experience at two Chianti estates and already acquired a great love of Pinot Noir, which he now grows not only on the DCC estates but also on his 1.5 hectare vineyard one kilometre from Castellare. Alessandro immediately agreed with the decision taken by the owners of the new Castellare winery – inaugurated just a year after his arrival – to follow tradition and a philosophy of not making wine with mixed blends of indigenous and international grape varieties. This is why the Castellare Chianti Classico is one of the very few wines not to take advantage of the new regulation that permits the mixing of Sangioveto with 20% French vines. Despite this, what emerges is a very drinkable soft Chianti. The decision to preserve the purity of the traditional wines has not prevented him from successfully producing four great wines using international varieties, including a single varietal merlot (Poggio ai Merli), cabernet sauvignon (Coniale), chardonnay (Canonico) and sauvignon blanc (Spartito). Nor has it prevented him from being chosen as heir by the great Giacomo Tachis, who has always preferred to soften and complete Sangioveto using French vines. By appointing him as his successor Tachis enabled him to benefit from his own experience, acquired through 50 years of harvests that led to the Renaissance of Italian oenology. Alessandro, who before the age of 40 was named best young winemaker for four years in a row in Canada and other countries, personally oversees exports to the major overseas markets, from the US to Russia, where he regularly travels every year.