Chardonnay Bramito, Castelo della Sala, Umbria, Italy 2014
The 2013 vintage was cool one, and was marked as well by frequent and abundant rainfall in all of the various phases of the growing season of the vines; it was distinguished in addition by mild temperatures without any real peaks of heat. Unlike other recent vintages, the ripening was gradual and rather late, and the harvest of the Chardonnay for the Bramito del Cervo only began during the first ten days of September, fifteen days later than usual. The grapes, when picked, were healthy and endowed with an excellent acidity and fine varietal character and aroma.
The grapes for the wine are grown in the proprietary vineyards of the Castello della Sala estate and are situated at an altitude between 900 and 1365 feet (270-400 meters) above sea level on soils which derive from deposits of marine fossils layed with clay. The grape bunches are chilled as soon as they are picked and ferment in special tanks designed to maintain temperatures of 50° Fahrenheit (10° centigrade) without altering varietal characteristics. After a few hours of contact with the skins, the liquid must goes into French oak barrels (Allier and Tronçais), where it ferments and then goes through a partial malolactic fermentation. One part of the wine is aged for approximately five months in barrel, while another part ferments in stainless steel tanks and remains there in full contact with its lees up until the final blending and successive bottling.
The first vintage of the Chardonnay Castello della Sala was the 1994. The Castello della Sala, estate, purchased by the Antinori family in 1940, is located approximately ten miles (18 kilometers) from the city of Orvieto. The castle itself is an excellent example of medieval military architecture, and its microclimate, a rather cool one, is ideal both for white wines and for Pinot Noir.
A light straw yellow color with greenish highlights, the wine shows a rich bouquet of ripe fruit, particularly of apples and pineapple. On the palate, the light mineral notes are enriched by the vibrant savor and the spiciness typical of the Castello della Sala wines. The result is a Chardonnay of finesse and elegance with an excellent mineral backbone which assists in creating both length and complexity.