A fine old family estate that, skilfully directed by Gabriella Spalletti and her sons, Cesare and Mari, has hardly put a foot wrong since re-creating the farm as ‘Colognole’ in 1990. In the 50’s and 60’s the wines were famously sold under the family name ’Spalletti’, it was a hugely successful enterprise which came to an end when one of the clan sold their shares to Cinzano. Today that brand still exists but it has nothing to do with the family whose name it bears.
The success of Colognole is built on a quiet obsession to overcome, even to relish the challenges presented by Rùfina. Cesare jokes that with a little more global warming his life will be easier, however, it is altitude and sparse, washed-out top soils that just cover the limestone slopes of Mount Giovi, that make this terroir so unique. Extremes between day and night temperatures mean that the vines enjoy a long growing season; the development of the grapes is perfect to preserve subtleties of flavour and these wines are amongst the most long-lived in all of Italy.
Vintage reports from Chianti Classico rarely apply to Rùfina, this is a region used to cool vintages, although in hot years the wines have more in common. Considerable work has gone into selecting the correct clones of Sangiovese at Colognole; there are also complimentary plantings of Canaiolo, a varietal legacy of their land that has been protected and nurtured throughout the years. There are plantings of Chardonnay, and some Syrah and Merlot on a tiny site at the highest point of the vineyard.
The style of Colognole’s wines is uncompromising, the Chianti is pure and expressive Sangiovese - no Merlot or Cabernet is used to moderate and colour the wine. Should there be a question mark over a vintage then no wine is made;, for example in 2010 the vineyards were hit by hail three times and the grapes of this ‘unfortunate vintage’ were sold to fortunate local cooperatives.