Founded in 1974, Querciabella, located in Greve in Chianti, is one of the leading biodynamic estates in Chianti Classico. While there are disagreements among various practitioners of biodynamic viticulture over the specific steps required in this philosophy, the Querciabella wines display an exceptional sense of finesse, cleanliness and varietal purity that is largely due to this detailed viticulture.
Recently I sat down with Giorgio Fragiacomo, export director of Querciabella for the past nine years, to interview him about the estate, the work in the vineyard and cellar, and how the market is reacting to their wines.
(…)TH: I find your wines to be extremely elegant and subtle, as opposed to various Tuscan wines that I believe are more international in style, as they are heavily oaked to appeal to a wide range of customers. What are your thoughts on this?
GF: Sebastiano’s thoughts are crystal clear on this subject. In 2010 we changed our technical director, as Luca Currado from Vietti joined us and brought Manfried Ing, who’s our in-house winemaker. The first thing they introduced was lot by lot fermentation in small 3.5 to 5-ton fermenters.
The second thing that followed as a consequence was less use of new oak. We’re picking on a lot by lot basis. Biodynamics and plant-based biodynamics have given us grapes with real genuine terroir. Biodynamics give us nuance for each of our individual plots of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and the white grapes that we have. Each individual plot has different nuances brought out by biodynamics and then carried through into the vineyard with individual fermentation and individual barreling.
There is a very rigorous selection of barrels, from the toast the barrels receive to the grain of the barrels, but very little new oak. There’s always some new oak, but much less than what was done before 2010. The idea is that we have gone to so much trouble to get individual and site-specific tasting fruit, and we want to enhance that through a very limited use of new oak. It’s all about the fruit, not the coconut and vanilla. We’re in the business of making ultra fine quality wine, not Piña Colada.
— Tom Hyland · Forbes
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Giorgio Fragiacomo portrait by Tom Hyland