A Tasting of the Tuscan Wines of Castello di Vicarello with the Dishes of Achilli al Parlamento in Rome

Castello di Vicarello creates wines that take your palate to a journey of penetrating rich and complex flavors which echo international imprints. While Sangiovese is the main protagonist of Tuscan winemaking, they thought laterally by marking their identity in their wines to create an alternative interpretation of Maremma. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec were each chosen to honor the classic wines of Tuscany. Their wines are made to be enjoyed now and in the future wherein the wines are narrated expressions of the vines, territory they thrive in and the family's dedication all converge in every bottle. 

Out of forty hectares of the property, six and a half hectares are dedicated to the cultivation of vines planted between 2000 and 2002 with a high-density approach and trained between classic cordon and ancient alberello or head spur. They are treated organically with natural sulphur and copper, corroborating in line with their philosophy of organic cultivation in the whole estate which includes 50 varieties of vegetables and 30 aromatic herbs in the vegetable gardens. Being organic was a choice that they have followed from the beginning, underlining their appreciation for sustainability and Tuscan traditions.

The vineyards, divided into three different plots, are situated in the heart of Maremma in Poggi del Sasso at 350 meters above sea level with soils that date back from the Eocene epoch which are rich in clay minerals and marine deposits. Arenaceous, marly and sandy limestones, dark grey clay schist and flysch have all been found through geological testing. In addition, they are rich in calcium and other micronutrients which produce lush vegetation. The surrounding dense forests and olive groves encompass biodiversity in the vineyards while the vicinity of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west offers cool late-spring and summer breezes, Mount Amiata to the southeast gives protection from strong winds and the Ombrine River to the south creates favorable temperature influences to the vines.

The Estate

Castello di Vicarello, an estate built on the 12th century that's completely renovated and modernized twenty five years ago, is one of Tuscany's best urban sanctuary for a peaceful and relaxing retreat offering in natural setting. Ancient olive groves, vineyards and gardens are spread around the property while striking views of unspoiled nature penetrates the eyes. What was once a complex originally built for defense, it had been dressed up in a new persona to highlight the genuine luxurious Tuscan charm and hospitality.

Living between Milan and Bali in Indonesia while working in fashion, textiles, and furniture, Carlo and Aurora Baccheschi Berti, bought the ruins of Castello di Vicarello in the 1980s. They embarked into a 12-year adventure of renovating the estate which became their private home with their three young sons. The restoration took time because of the careful incorporation of the original stone works, wood beams and terracotta floors. The interior furnishing brings together antique and modern elements, some of which were collected from every corner of the globe. The restorations continue until this day with the second generation, their sons Neri, Brando and Corso.

Today, Castle of Vicarello is also a boutique hotel with 9 eclectic suites immersed in the medieval estate where a tailor-made hospitality is intertwined with the natural surroundings and farm to table Tuscan cuisine using ingredients that are grown in their garden or from local farmers. The direction is divided among the three brothers.

The Wine Production

Carlo found inspiration in the wines of Bordeaux and he sought to realize his dream by creating wines that can parallel them with the terroir of Maremma. Today, Brando, his oldest son, has given his dedication to the wine production that he started. With a total of about twenty six thousand bottles per annum, they have released four red labels: Castello di Vicarello, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; Terre di Vico, a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot; Merah, pure Sangiovese; and the new entry released in 2023, Poggio Vico of pure Malbec. There is also a limited edition of Santaurora, a rosé based on Malbec that has just a little over a thousand bottles of production and produced only in the best years. To the great satisfaction of the family, the wines have received multiple important awards from national and international wine competitions and guides such as Bibenda, Veronelli, Decanter UK and Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.

Wines Tasted

Brando Baccheschi Berti chose Achilli al Parliamento in Rome as the venue for tasting the four red wines of Castello di Vicarello. The dishes that were created by Chef Pierluigi Gallo for the occasion accentuated the fine characteristics of the wines such as the: potato, Fontina cheese and truffles paired with Merah 2019; risotto, butter, aged Parmigiano Reggiano and reduction of coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stew) paired with the Terre di Vico 2018; beef rib, its stock and mustard paired with 2018 and 2011 of Castello di Vicarello; and a platter of selected cheese paired with Poggio Vico 2020.

Merah 2019

Merah means red in the Indonesian language. It is a name that creates a link to their stay in Bali that lasted for 18 years. Introduced in 2014, it is a wine that expresses the natural expression of Sangiovese in Tuscany. The Sangiovese grapes, cultivated at 500 meters above sea level, is fermented in stainless steel vats, then half continued its maturation in the steel vats while the other went to Slavonian oak barrels of 30 hectoliters for a period of 8 to 11 months then another 12 months finalized in the bottle. It is released to the market after 3 years. In the glass, the wine presents a full ruby red color turning towards garnet with a complex and intense nose of dark aromas with notes of dark berries, lean chocolate, cocoa, olives, pepper and dried violets. The mouth, round with a light creaminess, integrated tannins, has a thin layer of acidity that spreads wide lingers until the end along with savory and mineral notes. An excellent drink for a wine that is considered to be an entry-level.

Terre di Vico 2018

A blend of 65% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc which had been in production the past years but in 2013, they added the latter grape variety. The fermentation takes place in 30-hectoliter conical Slavonian oak barrels and stainless steel vats with the length of time depending on the characteristics of each year's grapes. The maturation, which lasts for 24 moths, takes place in two sizes of French oak barrels, tonneaux and barrique of second passage then another 18 months in the bottle. In the glass, the deep ruby red wine displays complexity, elegance and harmony with notes of dried tea leaves, ripe dark stone fruits, light tobacco and hint of rosemary in the end. In the mouth, it doesn't disappoint with the integrated tannins, round body and acidity that persists well and long

Castello di Vicarello 2018

A blend of 45% Cabernet Franc, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot with fermentation in 30-hectoliter conical Slavonian oak barrels then maturation in new French oak barrels of 160, 225 and 300 liters for 12 months and finally, in the bottle for 24 months. This Bordeaux-style wine is their flagship label which displays elegance and good balance. In the glass, the ruby red wine with a nose that spreads widely of red and dark berries especially raspberries, dried tea leaves, dried spices, and licorice while in the mouth, the flavors are full and bright, corresponding with the aromas, the tannins are integrated and underlined, finishes long with a glimmer of sweetness that accompanies the sip in the end. Paired with the beef rib, its stock and mustard, it complemented and accompanied the particularly rich flavors of the dish.

Poggio Vico 2020

Pure Malbec which is a rarity to see this variety that's widely planted in Argentina, in Tuscan soil. The clone is from Argentina itself recovered by Carlo. The fermentation takes place in steel and 30-hectoliter conical vats, then maturation in tonneaux and second-passage barrique for 10 months and finally, for 10 months in the bottle. In the glass, it displays a deep ruby red color with a nose that presents complexity and lots of spices, red candied berries, blush, sour cherries and notes of saltiness while in the palate, the lively acidity is notable with fine tannins, tea leaves, ripe red berries. The sip ends long with the ever-present sapidity that accompanies it until the end. It paired excellently with the aged cheese, especially the blue cheese.

Castello di Vicarello

Address: Via Vicarello 1, 58044 Poggi del Sasso (GR), Italy
Tel: +39 0564 990718
Website: https://castellodivicarellovini.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/castellodivicarellovini