In 1974 Giorgio Bianchi and his wife decided to escape the hectic pace of Milan and made the courageous move to the town of Radda in Chianti to fulfil their dream of producing wine. It was Martino Manetti from the famous Montevertine estate who recommended the vineyard to Giorgio Bianchi and invited him to become his neighbour. The estate had been abandoned for many years and required a lot of work: the buildings were restored and the vineyards completely replanted. Now their son Roberto manages the small seven hectare estate (four owned and three leased). The vineyards are organic and Val delle Corti has become a benchmark for authentic Chianti Classico wine without heaviness and artifice. Radda’s terroir, with its stony and compact soil, consisting mainly of shale and limestone, is one of the most famous of the entire Chianti appellation.
Whether it be magazines like Gambero Rosso and Slow Wine or the Espresso Guide, major wine critics are unanimous: Roberto Bianchi is one of the Chianti Classico appellation’s greatest wine makers. His wines are remarkable for their elegance. They are pure, fine and accurately express the Radda terroir’s characteristics. More than 2,700 years ago the Etruscans were already cultivating vines on these lands; Roberto wishes to pay tribute to this rich history by labouring the vines and soils organically to demonstrate the exceptional grape quality that can be achieved.
Chianti is undoubtedly the best-known Tuscan, if not Italian, appellation. It stands out for the splendour of its landscapes, medieval villages and abundant vineyards and excellent wines. Originally a small sub-region centred around the municipalities of Radda, Gaiole and Castellina, the Chianti appellation continues to expand and now covers almost half of Tuscany: 160 km from north to south, larger than Bordeaux. The heart of the region, the Chianti Classico appellation, has also expanded from its original 1716 boundaries but remains, with Chianti Ruffina, the reference in terms of quality since the best conditions for growing top-quality Sangiovese are found here.
Most producers in the region make two forms of Chianti: a simpler version that can be enjoyed in its youth, and the more serious Riserva – for the cellar. Soils vary considerably; from calcareous marl of a fragile stone known as galestro, to warmer and sandier soils. Sangiovese is a late-ripening grape and in cooler vintages, higher altitude growers sometimes struggle to obtain mature sugars and tannins. The best producers succeed, shaping complex, firm, and aromatic wines rather than voluptuous ones.