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1997 Castellare I Sodi di San Niccolo

1997 Castellare I Sodi di San Niccolo

Critic Reviews

The 1997 I Sodi di San Niccolo is wonderfully elegant, pure and silky. It remains very young, but is so polished that opening a bottle today is far from a crime. Dark red cherries, flowers, mint, spices and new leather flow across the palate in this gracious, totally elegant wine. The 1997 boasts huge dry extract and a show-stopping personality to match. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.

Proprietor Paolo Panerai is adamant about it. Sangioveto is the correct name and spelling of Tuscany’s main indigenous red variety. Panerai is one of Italy’s most successful entrepreneurs. His publishing empire is vast and encompasses a number of journals running the gamut from Milano Finanza, an Italian version of Barron’s, to Class and other glossy lifestyle magazines. Since the late 1970s, Panerai has owned Castellare, one of the jewels of Chianti Classico. Castellare isn’t as well known as the trendiest estates in Tuscany, but the wines rarely fail to impress. The last few years have seen a marked increase in quality throughout the range, especially among the entry-level bottlings. Quality has never been an issue with the flagship I Sodi di San Niccolo, one of the true icons of Chianti Classico that remains under the radar. Fortunately for consumers, prices have yet to catch up with quality. Sodi is 85% Sangioveto and 15% Malvasia Nera from a vineyard in the heart of the estate, where the bunches are typically loose and naturally low in vigor. Today Sodi is fermented in stainless steel, then racked into concrete for the malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged 24 months in French oak barrels, roughly 50% new. Consulting oenologist Maurizio Castelli made the first vintages. Current winemaker Alessandro Cellai arrived in 1997. Readers who want to learn more about Castellare and I Sodi di San Niccolo may want to take a look at my recent video interview with Cellai.

Castellare I Sodi di San Niccolo Key Points:

1. 85% Sangioveto/15% Malvasia Nera aged in French oak barrels

2. Made from a low-vigor vineyard in the heart of the property in Castellina

3. Impeccable track record of consistency and excellence

4. Aging potential: 20-30 years.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RP
The 1997 I Sodi di San Niccolo is wonderfully elegant, pure and silky. It remains very young, but is so polished that opening a bottle today is far from a crime. Dark red cherries, flowers, mint, spices and new leather flow across the palate in this gracious, totally elegant wine. The 1997 boasts huge dry extract and a show stopping personality to match.

Antonio Galloni | 97 AG
Dark ruby red. Lots of blackberry and fresh cherry, with hints of chocolate and meat. Full-bodied, with tangy fruit, fresh tannins and a long finish. Balanced and rich. All there. Still very youthful. Sangiovese and Malvasia.--1997 Italian blind retrospective. Best from 2008 through 2018. 2,500 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 93 WS
No written review provided. | 92 W&S

Wine Details for 1997 Castellare I Sodi di San Niccolo

Type of Wine Italy Red
Varietal Proprietary Blend : Proprietary Blend is a general term used to indicate that a wine is comprised of multiple grape varietals which are either “proprietary” to the winery or is blended and does not meet the required maximum or minimum percentage of a particular varietal. This also is the case for the grape’s place of origin, especially for region, appellation or vineyard designated wines. There are endless examples of blended wines which are labeled as “Proprietary Blend” and in conjunction with each region’s stipulated wine laws and regulations makes for a vast blanket for wines to fall into. Perhaps the simplest example is California; if a wine is to be labeled as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it is required to have at least 75% of the varietal (Cabernet Sauvignon) and 85% of the fruit must be cultivated from the Napa Valley wine district. If the wine does not meet the requirements, it is then labeled as Proprietary Blend.

Country Italy : Italy is renowned as one of the world’s greatest gastronomic havens; from certified Prosciutto di Parma to the sea-side seafood eateries on the island of Sicily. However, this epicurean experience could not possibly be as hedonistic without the ethereal combination of the country’s plethora of fine wines. It seems unfair that a nation should be able to boast, both, some of the world’s greatest cuisine as well as its greatest wines. Italian wine is one of the most sought after in the world, and has become the second most produced in the world, behind only France.

Stretching an impressive 736 miles from northern Italy to the peninsula’s southern tip, the country’s geography generates an enormous array of topography, climate and soil structure. This is an extremely important quality of its winegrowing and making industry which lays claim to nearly 550 different grape varietals, which all desire their own necessities, in terms of terroir and climate.

The still red wines of Italy truly characterize the nation’s vast and expansive terroir; Nebbiolo dominates Piedmont, where Barolo and Barbaresco reign king and queen of the region’s production. Hailing from Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, the rockstar Sangiovese grape has become synonymous with greatness. Vin Santo sweet wines have taken on a mighty feat of competing with the glorious wines of Sauternes, and of course, Prosecco. Prosecco, located in Trieste (northeast Italy) and its creation of luxuriously effervescent styles of wine has become Italy’s answer to Champagne. The Glera grape variety, which has become synonymous with the name Prosecco, is the main ingredient and is beloved in the appellation where the village of Prosecco’s name has become world renowned.

The blurred boundary between Italy and the countries of Slovenia and Austria, where German influence still resonates through Friuli wines. The prevalence of Riesling and other such grape varietals is high in this region and have become extremely popular on today’s market.

With nearly 702,000 hectares of grapevines covering the massive and diverse landscape, Italy’s annual average of 48.3 million hectoliters of wine production is second only to France in terms of volume and Spain in terms of hectares of vines. The country is vast and overwhelming when it comes to the culinary arts, but perhaps even this is overshadowed by its production of some of the world’s most sought after wines, whether the omnipresent Chianti to the highly collectible and sought after Amarone della Valpolicalla.

Region Tuscany : Italian culture worships the concept of a shared meal, and their wines scream for a chance to be uncorked with your friends and family. The region's Mediterranean climate and hilly landscape combine to create a beautiful viticultural environment, where every chosen grape is brought to its full potential and transmuted into drinks worthy of gods. The vineyards are planted along the higher reaches of the hill slopes, creating a gorgeous view of the Italian landscape.

Once your lips kiss the wine, you're sent spiraling down a veritable whirlpool of pure flavor, touching upon notes of sensuous cherry, nuts, floral hints and undertones of honey and minerals. The wines can be as sweet as a fresh summer romance, and carry an air of dignity and elegance about them that can stimulate your intellect for months as you contemplate the seemingly infinite intricacies and details in the texture. Tuscany is an important part of Italian viticulture, and sampling their wines is the closest you can get to visiting this heavenly region and experiencing the culture.
Subregion Toscana
Climat/Vineyard I Sodi di San Niccolo


Producer Castellare di Castellina

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