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I recently arrived at Castello di Brolio to arrange a visit of friends from the USA to view the estate and taste the wines.

I was pleased and somewhat surprised to be welcomed by Barone Francesco Ricasoli, mainly because the following day he was to fly to New York in America to present his wines at ‘Great Wines of the World’ hosted by James Suckling.

The reason for Francesco’s appearance? He wanted to show me the new wine, label and packaging for Casalferro 2018, a 100% Merlot from the finest three parcels of his Merlot vineyards at Brolio, namely: Vigna Sodacci, Vigna Casalferro and Vigna Pecchierino. These parcels are between 400 and 500 Meters above sea level with exposure ranging from South to North East.

The effort and expertise of the label and packaging is extraordinary: the tissue paper that envelops the bottles is handmade parchment made by a small artisan company in Fabriano, without the use of chemicals. The layers of tissue contain dried fragments of the vine shoots from the three vineyards.

I noticed on the wall of Francesco’s office a sample of this labour of love, carefully pressed between two sheets of glass, framed and displayed on the wall. I made reference to its beauty and before you could say: ‘Casalferro!’ the framed piece was off the wall and being presented to me as a gift! No amount of ‘I couldn’t possibly’ or ‘It’s part of the history of Castello di Brolio’ was going to persuade the kind bestower to change his mind. A typical and extremely generous gift that I shall treasure, now occupies a place of pride in my home.

Tasting notes

Ricasoli 1141 Casalferro 2018

100% Merlot. Intense ruby red in colour. Aromatics of dark florals and rich blackberry, blueberry and blackcurrant. Nuances of dried Mediterranean herbs, balsam, liquorice, aromas of lightly toasted coffee beans and powered dark chocolate. Warm entry. Silky tannins with just the right amount of fresh acidity. Balanced. Total sensuality. Exotic beauty. Linear intensity to a long close.

Points 95 TW

© Tony Wood Italian Wine 2022

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