Vigneto Erchi Riserva: Decanter rewards the excellence of Selvapiana and the Terraelectae project
The Erchi Riserva Chianti Rufina 2018 vineyard receives another important confirmation from the prestigious Decanter magazine. With the award of an excellent grade of 95 points, the wine is distinguished by its excellent quality and is praised by Michael Apstein, a well-known international wine journalist and judge.
This wine produced by Fattoria di Selvapiana is part of the Terraelectae project, which is an initiative of the producers belonging to the Chianti Rufina Consortium, which aims to give their wines a greater characterization than those required by the disciplinary in force in the Val di Sieve.
In order to use the brand, the wines must meet some strict requirements, such as being obtained exclusively from grapes produced in the Chianti Rufina DOCG production area, having a 100% Sangiovese ampelographic base, bearing the mention “Vigna” or “Vigneto ” and be tracked.
Furthermore, the wines must be in the Riserva category, meet the parameters of the specification, have a maximum production of grapes/ha of 70 Qli/ha, an alcohol content of no less than 12.5% vol., 30 months of aging of which 18 in wood and at least 6 in bottles. The use of flask-type containers is prohibited.
The full article below provides more detail on this quality claim.
DECANTER PREMIUM 11GEN23
ANOTHER ADDITION TO THE CHIANTI QUALITY PYRAMID: TASTING RÙFINA’S TERRAELECTAE WINES
In response to Chianti Classico’s top category Gran Selezione, producers in Chianti Rùfina have added the new category Terraelectae to their quality pyramid, starting with the 2018 vintage.
Michael Apstein January 11, 2023
Federico Giuntini Masseti, president of the Chianti Rùfina Consorzio, says that the purpose of Terraelectae – Chianti Rùfina’s new top-tier category- is to highlight the special character of the Sangiovese-based wines from Rùfina’s unique terroir. The producers hope the category will allow Chianti Rùfina to emerge from Chianti Classico’s shadow and be considered a top Tuscan DOCG, like Brunello.
Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores
for the 10 inaugural Terraelectae wines
Chianti Rùfina, the smallest of the sub-regions of the greater Chianti area – just one-tenth the size of Chianti Classico – lies about 30 minutes by car northeast of Florence.
With a more rugged terrain and vineyards that lie at a higher elevation, the region has an overall cooler climate compared to Chianti Classico, which gives the wines a more savory and engaging wild component – Gerardo Gondi of Tenuta Bossi, one of Rùfina’s top estates, aptly calls the wines ‘mountain Chianti.’
Faye Lotero, owner of Fattoria Lavacchio, another leading estate, believes that Chianti Rùfina has an advantage with climate change because of its elevation and wind-swept terroir. Meanwhile, the under-the-radar status of Chianti Rùfina is a boon for consumers because the wines deliver more than their prices suggest.
The requirements for Terraelectae differ from those of Chianti Classico’s Gran Selezione category, which need not come from a single vineyard, nor be made entirely from Sangiovese. In contrast, to be included in the new Terraelectae category the wines must meet Chianti Rùfina Riserva standards, come from a single vineyard, and be made exclusively from Sangiovese.
Other regulations require that Terraelectae be made from a reduced yield (70 quintals/ha) and undergo 30 months of ageing prior to release, 18 of which must be in barrel and six in bottle. The specifics of barrel ageing – size and age of the barrel, and the type and origin of the wood – are left to individual producers.
Each producer in Chianti Rùfina – there are only about 20 of them – can select a single vineyard for their Terraelectae bottling. If the wine meets the requirements and receives approval from a group of Chianti Rùfina producers, it will carry the Terraelectae moniker on the label. The producers themselves, not a regulatory authority, have set the criteria for inclusion and judge the quality and character of the wines.
Ten producers have designated a Terraelectae with the 2018 vintage: Tenuta Bossi, Colognole, Frascole, Marchese Frescobaldi, Grignano, Fattoria Lavacchio, Fattoria Selvapiana, Villa Travagnoli, Castello del Trebbio, and I Veroni.
That three more producers – Podere Il Pozzo, Fattoria Il Lago and Ormae Vinae – opted to wait and release their first Terraelectae with the 2019 or 2020 vintage is either a sign that that the self-policing by producers may be working, or is just an example of inefficiency or indecisiveness.
Predicting the future success of new wine projects is hazardous. Who would have predicted the popularity of Bolgheri wines? That said, Terraelectae has at least one thing going for it – SuperTuscan wines are not common in Chianti Rùfina, so the confusion that has arisen in Chianti Classico about whether a producer’s Gran Selezione or their SuperTuscan sits atop the quality pyramid is unlikely to surface.
As the tasting notes indicate, the 2018 Terraelectae releases showed very well, with almost all receiving more than 90 points. If the wines remain high-quality and a unique expression of Sangiovese reflecting the distinctive terroir of Chianti Rùfina, the Terraelectae moniker on the label will be useful to consumers. Self-policing by producers will be critical and will ultimately determine whether the Terraelectae designation elevates the entire region or is meaningless.
The inaugural Terraelectae wine:
Fattoria Selvapiana, Vigneto Erchi Riserva, Chianti Rufina 2018
Fattoria Selvapiana, one of the area’s top producers, designated their 5ha Vigna Erchi, a site that has more iron in the soil compared to their iconic Bucerchiale vineyard. Owner Federico Giuntini thinks the difference in terroir explains why Vigna Erchi produces a bolder wine. Extraordinary elegance and a silky suaveness…