Rocca di Frassinello: where Italian meets French on the top-level
The big Rocca di Frassinello project came into being not from a great but from a small idea. A small idea because connected to the development of Castellare, Chianti based estates for 30 years belonged to Paolo Panerai, publisher and winemaker, but a big project when happened the arrival of Domain Baron De Rothschild-Lafite, making the first joint venture between an Italian and French wine producers.
Like other Chianti estates Castellare di Castellina at the end of the 90’s had to take account of the fact that in the Chianti Classico zone it had become very hard, almost impossible, to expand, also because there was a lack of high quality land. The traditional and natural outlet of Siena, and therefore Chianti Classico, has always been Maremma - almost all the Chianti people had gone there during last decade. Panerai/Rothschild’s choice was not to go for the obvious and already well known but to find out whether the rest of Maremma had equally or more suitable soils than those of Bolgheri and Scansano.
The first vineyards, 7 hectares near the lake, right in the centre of the natural amphitheatre, located near Gavorrano were planted in 2000. The agreement between Castellare and Domaines Barons de Rothschild envisaged right from the start a coupling of Castellare’s experience in the growing and vinification of Sangiovese and Lafite’s experience of the classic Bordeaux species. First wine appeared on the market in summer 2006. The production is followed by a partnership of two oenologists: French Christian Le Sommer and Italian Alessandro Cellai.
Another impressive thing about this project is the winery itself. This is a monumental high-tech piece of modern architecture engineered by Renzo Piano, which looks like surrealistic fortress toping the hilly landscape of vineyards.