I have tried Dievole wines before, but not recently. My old tasting notes say they were good. However, I found their Chianti Classico was made in a modern oaked “international” style, blending Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This style has international consumer appeal. Personally, I prefer something more traditional.
I hadn’t realized that Dievole changed hands in 2012. The new owners made a complete u-turn in their winegrowing philosophy, which has had a stunning impact. This is exemplified by their revised Chianti Classico.
It is nothing short of a rebirth.
In 2013, Dievole started working with Alberto Antonini, a Tuscan-born oenologist. He was named as one of the top five wine consultants in the world by Decanter magazine. He specializes in helping wineries discover their individuality and make wines designed to show a sense of place, known as terroir. Antonini’s vision is for authenticity. Now Dievole has:
- ceased using herbicides and pesticides. Organic and biodynamic methods are used, with Certification in 2017.
- replaced the international grape varieties with those indigenous to Tuscany.
- started to harvest the grapes earlier, when they are ripe but not over mature.
- used wild instead of cultured yeast for fermentation.
- removed Cabernet and Merlot from their Chianti Classico. It is now 100% Sangiovese.
- discarded small toasted-oak barriques. These have been replaced with traditional large Slavonian oak botti to avoiding wood flavors.
- changed the label to show the difference from older vintages.
Such a revolution also needs a big investment in money, in time, and in trust.
Grapes have grown at Dievole since AD 1090. In comparison, William the Conqueror had just died! In the modern day, the Dievole estate covers 400 hectares, with 80 hectares devoted to vineyards.
The 2013 vintage was the first to be transformed under Antonini, but this 2014 Chianti Classico fully reflects his new methods. The wine is aged in untoasted oak casks for fourteen months, with a further three months ageing in bottle.
This is still a young wine that I recommend decanting. A bright ruby color, it’s all cherry and violet scents on the nose. Tasting it is breathtaking. There is depth to the rich cherry and red berry fruit, with spices and balsam notes appearing. It feels fresh and alive, with a beautiful balance of fruit, tannins and acidity. The finale has a lovely sour cherry and bitters edge that keeps you coming back for more. My hallmarks of fine wine are personified here; elegance, intensity and purity. This wine will continue to develop and improve and has a long lifespan ahead.
A good Chianti Classico is an ideal wine to drink with traditional Tuscan food. I enjoyed it with Rigatino, an unsmoked salted bacon that is smothered in fennel and black pepper. Wafer-thin slices were eaten with crusty bread drizzled with olive oil. That’s a true taste of Tuscany!
On this evidence, Dievole is poised to join the top-table of great Chianti Classico producers. As Dievole is only twelve kilometres north of Siena I can’t wait to visit them!
In the USA, expect to pay around $18
Località Dievole 6
53019 Castelnuovo Berardenga