Pagliarese is a historic Chianti Classico estate located in Castelnuovo Berardenga, nestled between Fèlsina and Castell’in Villa. In the 1960’s and 70’s, Pagliarese was, in fact, one of the most highly regarded estates in Chianti Classico. However, by the 1980’s, the property was in need of some investment, particularly in the vineyards. In 1995, the Poggiali family, owners of Fèlsina, bought the estate and set out to replant 28 of the 32 hectares using a massale selection from the oldest vines at the property. Since that time, some of the grapes from Pagliarese have gone into the Fèlsina’s Chianti Classico, though a majority of the grapes and wine from the estate has been sold off.
Starting with the 2015 vintage, the Poggialis decided to make their inaugural release from the estate. The range includes a Chianti Classico to be followed by a Riserva and a Vin Santo. Whereas Fèlsina is known for their 100% Sangiovese bottling, Giovanni Poggiali describes the hallmark at Pagliarese as being a “modernization of the old style.” While the wines at Paglierese are, of course, Sangiovese-based, they are also blended with small amounts of Canaiolo and Mammolo - two indigenous grapes to Tuscany that are perfect partners to blend with Sangiovese. Canaiolo can soften Sangiovese a bit and Mammolo adds floral and spicy notes when blended but neither dominates Sangiovese as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot often can.
The soil at Paglierese is a bit more sandy than that at Fèlsina. It combines sand, rock and clay with some tufo (a type of volcanic rock), whereas in Felsina’s Chianti Classico vineyards it is more dominated by stoney albarese soil. Given the differences in two terroirs, as well as the fact that the wines are blended (particularly with the Cannaiolo), means that the Pagliarese wines tend to be a bit more elegant and soft.
The graceful style is accentuated by a classical wine-making regimen that promotes elegance over extraction including a gentle maceration regime as well as extended aging in mostly in neutral 50HL Slavonian oak botti. The resulting wines are beautifully refined, pure examples of Chianti Classico. The re-birth of Pagliarese represents a true renaissance of one of Tuscany’s forgotten treasures!