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Le Cinciole

This is an absolutely stellar set of wines from Valeria Viganò and Luca Orsini at Le Cinciole. Over the last few years the wines have gained in precision and nuance, and that has elevated them to the upper tier in Chianti Classico. Biodynamic farming and hands-off winemaking are the rule. The wines are vinified in cement and aged in a combination of casks and smaller French oak barrels spread across several tiny, cramped cellars. The move towards a greater use of larger format oak works so well and is one of the reasons recent wines have been so expressive. Le Cinciole is not a new estate, but the wines have, quite frankly, never been better. I was blown away by the quality here.  ANTONIO GALLONI

From the fanatical attention to his biodynamic principals (which pre-date most in the area) to his commitment to all things sustainable - a solar farm here, a passive house there. He doesn't offer any of this information with bombastic bluster, he and his partner Valeria Vigano, mention them in passing with understatement and humility. All this is starting to get me itchy to taste the wines because, there's lots of sustainably run estates in the world these days who make mediocre juice, so I'm hoping Le Cinciole the excitement from the vineyard translates to the wines. They certainly do, they are brilliant!!

Luca and Valeria purchased the 7 hectare property near Panzano (Greve) with the help of Valeria's father about 30 years ago. He and Valeria had no experience in growing grapes or making wine so the first years were about learning and refining his own philosophy about the type agriculture and the type of wine he wanted to make. That led him to organics and sustainability, principles he has continued to follow for his site and indeed, his life. 

In winemaking too, it seems as though his journey has taken him from more oak heavy wines to gradually tweaking fermentation and elevage to reflect the fruit from different parts of the estate. For example, the entry Cinciorosso sees only concrete and amphora fermentation and elevage, the Chianti Classico is fermented in concrete then spends 1 year in large wood and a year in concrete, Petresco sees some older smaller oak and some larger format, and so it goes. The point is, he's refined his style over time and you get the feeling he has arrived at a point he understands his fruit completely and he understands the style of wine he prefers. Beyond that the winemaking is hands off - no enzymes, no other manipulations. 

It's already clear to you I think that I love the wines but for me the x-factor comes in the form of incredibly pure expression and a vivid enduring line of site specific character...terroir or genus loci if you likeAll the wines have excellent sanguinity and a mineral salts quality to them. The naturally higher acidity of the site also affords them great aromatic clarity and drives across the palate. Vivid fruit and aromatics and length to burn. It's not common to get it all in one estate but it's here. Michael McNamara