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San Ferdinando Ciliegiolo

San Ferdinando Ciliegiolo

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San Ferdinando is located in the hamlet of Civitella in Val di Chiana, in the Chianti Colli Aretini area southeast of Florence.  The area has an altitude and continental climate that are not dissimilar to Chianti Classico to the north.  Besides vines, this area is also known for its famed Chianina breed of cattle, which often end up on the plate in the form of the bistecca fiorentina.

The estate has 60 hectares of land, with 10 under vine. It has been in the hands of the Grifoni family since 1850, but it was in 2008 that the winery was fully restored and the vineyards revitalized and converted to, Organic methods. Today, Simone Zucchetti, winemaker and agronomist, capably guides the wines from vine to bottle.  The focus is on the indigenous varietals of the area"€�SangioveseCiliegiolo, Pugnitello, and Vermentino"€�and finding a balance between typicity, drinkability, and value.  Though farming goes well beyond the parameters of, Organics, San Ferdinando is not interested in getting certification, since Simone is bothered by negligent controls that have more to do with paperwork than actually inspecting the vineyards, and is he contrary to the sea of certified, Organic wine (but industrial wine) ending up on supermarket shelves at artificially low prices. In the cellar, fermentations occur naturally, the wines are not forced, and total SO2 levels never exceed 60mg/l (quite low, when one considers the limits in, Organic certification: 100mg/l for reds and 150mg/l for whites.

Ciliegiolo, meaning “cherry-like"�, is usually reserved as a blending grape. Bottled on its own, it shows remarkably bright red fruits and fresh acidity.  There have been conflicting studies, but Ciliegiolo is either a parent or offspring of Sangiovese. 

Vineyards
These grapes come from 1.7 hectares of vineyards at 320m, facing south-southeast.  The vines were planted in Vintage_2007 on light sandy topsoil with compact grey clay about 20cm beneath. The harvest took place at the end of September at yields of 7,000-8,000kg/ha (about 49-55hl/ha). There was then a selection of the best bunches in the cellar. 

Vinification
The grapes are mostly destemmed (there are about 10-15% whole clusters) and gently pressed. Fermentation occurs spontaneously in stainless steel with maceration lasting 10-12 days. It aged on tank on its lees for 5 months. There was no fining, but a wide filtration. So2 levels are 40mg/L total. The wine ages in bottle two months before release.

Tasting Notes
Aromas of sour cherries, raspberries, woody green herbs, and just a whiff of lavender. The palate is playful, with refreshing acidity and very soft tannins giving the wine a juicy feel. This is an honest, quaffable wine that will pair effortlessly with all sorts of food: try it with caprese salad, cured salmon, soft cheese, salami, braised pork or enjoy it on its own.

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