Reproduced from Year 5, Issue #26 of Spirito di Vino Asia...
A fascinating historical tasting of Lamole di Lamole Vigneto di Campolungo stemming from a hidden corner of the Chianti Classico region
When driving across the Chianti Classico region of Italy, from Florence to Siena 2 hours away, it would be easy to miss the small town of Lamole. It would also be a pity for it is perhaps one of the most picturesque village of the entire region, and it is also home to some of its most fascinating wines.
Lamole, a hamlet of the municipality Greve in Chianti, has a long history of winemaking. It is the Romans who first recognized its potential, planting vineyards and olive groves almost 2000 years ago. In the middle-ages, more than a 1000 residents lived in the village which was an important agricultural center producing not only wine and olive oil but also orris root essence, cultivated for perfumery and prized for its fragrance at the French court of Catherine de’ Medici. In the 13th century, it became so important that in 1250, the Castello di Lamole became part of the Val di Greve alliance, responsible to Florence for the control and defense of the Chianti region and in the 14th century, it became one of the most important military center of the territory. Today, due to the industrialization of the valley floor, only 89 villagers remain making agriculture more challenging and the sole preserve of a small group of tenacious farmers overseeing the 8 wineries located in the area.
Lamole is situated at 600 meters above sea level overlooking Panzano and the valley from which the river Greve arises to its North- East. The area, a potential cru of the Chianti Classico, is the highest point of the appellation at 700 meters in altitude, metaphorically “at the door of paradise” as enologist Andrea Daldin mused during our tour. Here the climate is never above 33c in the hottest days of summer. But the key factor that affects its style is the high diurnal range, the difference between day and night temperatures, which ensure the preservation of its high acidity and a long and slow ripening of its grapes. Key conditions to enable excellent fruit for wines with long ageing ability, high intensity and an ethereal quality. The word Lamole refers to the ancient terms “lama”, meaning a stony basin from which several streams converge, in this case forming the source of the river Greve. It is characterized by blades of land that defines the area and creates a complex terrain and it is subject to a high degree of erosion, which explains it complex system of terraces gracing the vineyards still today.
Lamole di Lamole became one of the stars in the Santa Margherita firmament when it was acquired by the firm in 1993. From the outset, work immediately commenced to increase the cultural value of the sub-zone by recovering old vineyards and rebuilding long abandoned terraces by hand. Out of its 173 hectares, only 57 are planted with vines. The result is a combination of a great diversity of raw materials stemming from vineyards positioned in various exposure and altitude from 400 to 650 meters above sea level. Organic conversion started several years ago and certification for the entire surface is forecasted to become reality later this year.
The Campolungo vineyard, the largest and possibly the best in Lamole, was once owned by the church of the village. Now most of it is under the ownership of Santa Margherita but a small parcel, its most historical, of it is still rented to the church which was built in 1350. It sits at an altitude of 350 to 500 meter at its highest point. With roots up to 3 meters deep it produces some of the lowest yield in Italy. Planted mostly with Sangiovese, it also has a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. However, as some of these were planted in 1982, a program of replanting is in place to convert the entire vineyard to grow Sangiovese exclusively in the future.
With a medium garnet and a thin rim. Displaying a wide array of dried berry fruits, the nose still shows depth and elegance with beautiful balsamic notes and exotic spices. On the palate a velvety texture with a delicate and fine finish. Beautiful to drink now, can keep for some time. 89
With a medium garnet and a wide rim. Dusty, with dried cherries and violets, the nose shows balsamic notes and sandalwood character. The palate is tense and firm, yet balanced, and silky. The finish is long, intense and perfumed. Beautiful to drink now, can keep for some time. 91
Medium garnet with ruby highlights still. The nose shows depth with dried berry fruits and cherries and notes of coffee, vanilla, and sweet spices. The palate, velvety with some flesh but balanced and long on the palate. A long spicy finish reminiscent of ginger bread. Wonderful. 92
Deep ruby with thin rim. The nose is dusty and ripe displaying black berries, black cherries and plums together with notes of vanilla and sweet spices. The palate, rich, mouth-filling and powerful with a slight lack of tension. The finish, fruity and spicy. Can it age as well the 1990? 89
Deep ruby all the way to the rim. The nose shows depth with ripe black and red fruits and notes of vanilla and coffee. The palate is dense, fleshy but lively and silky and in balance. The finish is fruity and velvety. A “modern” wine still in youth to age some years. 90
Deep ruby all the way to the rim. The nose is dusty and savory with notes of dried black and red fruits and displays some earthiness. The palate is silky with an interesting interplay of firmness but also looseness. The finish is floral and fruity but falls quickly. I question the bottle condition. 89
Deep ruby all the way to the rime. The nose displays youthfulness with fresh black and red fruits and notes of violets and exotic spices. The palate, well balanced, supple and silky, all in good proportion. The finish is floral and spicy with intensity. A keeper. 91
Deep ruby all the way to the rim. The nose displays black berries, red cherries and violets with notes of vanilla and liquorice. The palate, fleshy and silky, but firm and tense. The finish is firm with flora and spicy notes. A keeper with an excellent structure for long ageing. 93
Medium ruby. The nose is dusty with sour red fruits, red cherries and red currant. On the palate, modest weight and tense but silky and supple. The finish is unremarkable. Was it due to a rainy and cool vintage? 89
Medium ruby all the way to the rim. ON the nose, savory with notes of red cherries, exortic spices and violets. On the palate more density than ’10, but less than ’09. Silky with a nice tension. The finish is fruity and spicy. Needs time. 90