Size & Type
Radda is one of the cooler parts of Chianti Classico and Sean has done the 2020 justice. Dominated by dark fruits with a pop of fresh red fruits layered with woody herbs, a little earthiness & faint lick of cigar.
There’s harmony & flow in this seamless elegant Chianti. Finishing with a fine sweep of bitterness that cleanse followed by lingering flavours. A certain delicacy.
The fine long tannins offer up a mouthfeel and flavour profile suggesting a longer maceration on skins. Building in the glass, it’s beautifully weighted and developed without any apparent oak influence.
A Sangiovese that continues to improve in the glass over several days. Such complexity, mouthfeel, development with freshness & integration is not easy to achieve. A pleasure to devour.
This is one of the best wines of the year, hands down. Antonio Galloni
In stock (can be backordered)
Careful selection of higher elevation, cool sites combined with some very clever winemaking that sits outside the typical range of Chianti production methods offers us sophisticated Sangioveses of personality. Sometimes it takes an outsider, like Sean, with significant international experience combined with decades in Chianti to find the boundaries and push through them. Something we’re used to doing in Australia working without the constraints of the establishment.
The Austrian entrepreneur Karl Egger and his family have been visitors to region of Tuscany for decades. They fell in love with a small corner, just outside the medieval town of Radda in Chianti between the cities of Siena and Florence.
“Tenuta Carleone di Castiglioni” is located in the heart of the Chianti region. It was named after the small village of “Castiglioni” (small castle) which was first mentioned in the year 1078 when the monks of “Badia al Coltibuono” founded it. There is also a typical Tuscan farmhouse called “Pian Vecchio” (old plain) on this land, where the family recently planted some white.
Among my great discoveries of the year are these exciting wines from a very original winemaker in Radda in Chianti named Sean O’Callaghan. Sean says he was born blind in one eye, and this gave him a “different perspective on things.” In a region that follows old traditions like Chianti Classico, his out-of-the-box winemaking is a welcome surprise. This is an estate worth watching …
Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
The winery Tenuta di Carleone was born in 2012. Sean O’Callaghan, to his friends “IL GUERCIO” (one eyed rascal!), was asked to join and help to build a small artisinal winery making classically defined Sangiovese with a twist. Sean’s twist. Organic and biodynamic principles are implemented in the vineyard. Nothing is added to the wines, the grappa or the olive oil. No yeast and no fining agents are used.
The whole property, which covers an area of approximately 100 hectares, comprises of wooded hills, small rivers and fertile plains. Nestled in between there are around 30 ha of mainly Sangiovese vineyards and some olive trees, some of them older than 60 years. The Egger Family has renovated the beautiful “Castiglioni” hamlet with its old chapel and the nearby farmhouse of “Pian Vecchio”.
The Winery is right in the middle of Chianti Classico, within the original borders of the Chianti Storico.
Sean O’Callaghan routinely turns out compelling, engaging wines that challenge perceptions of what Chianti Classico is and what it can be.
Essence of Radda in Chianti. Sangiovese pure. Our expression of our little corner of Tuscany. 100% Sangiovese.
Fermentation: in stainless steel, cement and open bins
Maceration: 40-60 days
Ageing: 18 months in stainless steel and cement
Something different. 100% Sangiovese selected from an old terraced vineyard just outside the beautiful hamlet of Lamole, 650 m above sea level. The grapes are picked late to get maximum ripeness from this wonderful high-lying vineyard. Fermented in cement tanks with 30% whole bunches. The very long maceration of 4-5 months gives this wine a wonderful fruit character, which differentiates it from the more classic styles.
“Every vintage defines itself! the wine is gently pushed in the right direction, urging it to find its own character…”
In making “Il Guercio,” Sean O’Callaghan treats the wine somewhat like an evolving art, a canvas where he can innovate and take greater risks, primarily because it bears his personal signature without being tied to the rules of the Consorzio. This freedom allows him to develop and refine techniques that in turn enhance the quality of his other wines.
“Il Guercio” is a product of a high-altitude vineyard, fermented and aged exclusively in cement – a method inspired by practices Sean witnessed in Burgundy, where open-top tanks are a common sight. The tanks, sourced from Burgundy, aren’t lined, presenting an interior akin to the polished cement floors typical in industrial buildings. This structure facilitates micro-oxygenation, where small oxygen particles interact with the wine during both the fermentation and aging phases. This process imparts a softness and accentuate the wine’s minerality, as opposed to diminishing it, which is often the case with other materials like stainless steel and wood.
Each batch of “Il Guercio” encapsulates Sean’s love-hate relationship with this somewhat wild winemaking process. While it leans towards the realm of natural wines, his aim is to always maintain a classic touch.
Every year, he tweaks the process slightly, but the core remains unchanged. They utilize two 55,500-liter cement tanks and some open-top plastic bins, filled entirely with whole bunches, including stalks. Following a two to three-month maceration period, the contents of the bins are pressed and used to top up the tanks. This technique, borrowed from Nebbiolo producers in Barolo and referred to as “piemonzina,” creates an infusion-like effect, similar to steeping a tea bag. If left for too long, the infusion can turn bitter. However, they’ve fine-tuned the process to encourage the wine to slightly increase in pH, thereby becoming a tad richer, albeit at the expense of a slight drop in acidity, which is generally undesirable. Despite this, the method enriches the wine with a burst of freshness, derived from the stalks and the infused tannins.
This extended maceration period lasts about four months, a considerable span that allows for the development of unique characteristics, culminating in a wine that distinctly expresses the essence of San Jose, a quality not found in any other wine. The 2020 batch, for instance, was pressed in mid-February, marking the end of its fermentation journey. Sean is genuinely passionate about this style of winemaking, which continually evolves, embodying a trend that resonates deeply with his personal approach to viniculture.
In the eyes of many, Sean embodies the rebel of the industry – the English guy with a singular vision who dares to tread a different path. But he believes there’s a growing appreciation for his unconventional approach, with many recognizing the unique qualities and nuances it brings to the table. Personally, Sean finds great satisfaction and pride in his style of winemaking. It resonates with his spirit, and he hopes that others can perceive and appreciate the distinctiveness and depth of flavors that are the hallmark of his wines. It’s not just about diverging from the norm; it’s about crafting wines that carry a fragment of his personality, a genuine reflection of his passion and dedication to the art of viticulture.
Tenuta Carleone are based in the Radda UGA, Chianti Classico, Tuscany.
This wine is created with foot-stomped Sangiovese, of which 30% is whole cluster. Made with an extended maceration (lasting two or three months) in stainless steel and cement, the Tenuta di Carleone 2020 Chianti Classico boasts a very bright and vibrant set of fruit aromas with summer cherry and blueberry. There are mild spices and clove on the close. Dusty minerality also appears. This a very fun wine.
The 2020 Chianti Classico is a very beautiful wine. Bright and vibrant, the 2020 offers up scents of dried herbs, tobacco, mint, lavender and blue-ish fruits. There is a feeling of translucence in the 2020 that is impossible to miss. It's a wine I admire for its total precision and nuance. Readers should expect a fresh and distinctive take on Chianti Classico. This is one of the best wines of the year, hands down.
Where in the world does the magic happen?
Tenuta di Carleone - Winery, Podere Aia, Radda in Chianti, Province of Siena, Italy