The 700-hectare Colognole estate has been in the Spalletti family since 1892. Initially, the land was used for cattle, hunting and logging, but in 1912 Count Venceslao Spalletti planted some vines and an olive grove and started making wine. The estate now has 27 hectares of vineyards and has long been renowned for its quality; the Spalletti name has been synonymous with superb noble Tuscan wine since the 1960s. The domaine underwent great changes as of 1995 when the majority of the vineyards had to be re-planted. Guyot pruning was replaced with Royat cordon pruning, planting density was doubled and yields were significantly reduced in order to enhance the quality of the fruit. Viticultural practices were also improved; the focus is now on sustainability with organic soil enrichment and lutte raisonnée.
Countess Gabriella Spalletti, mindful of the unique terroir she has inherited, strives to improve the estate’s legacy. With the help of the consultant-agronomist Massimo Achilli and enologist Andrea Giovannini, she has reviewed all viticultural practices in the vineyards and the winery to significantly increase grape quality and produce wines that are representative of the local terroir. Today, the brothers Mario and Cesare Coda Nunzinate manage Colognole’s entire wine production. Colognole is inside the Chianti Ruffina appellation, located in north eastern Tuscany about 20 kilometers east of Florence.
One of the flagship estates of Chianti Rufina, Colognole is a consistent and respected producer. The beautiful property in the hills above Rufina includes a restaurant and a charming bed & breakfast located in the main Tuscan villa. I had a chance to informally taste through some older vintages with proprietor Cesare Coda Nunziante and was impressed...
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.