Tuscany Podere 414 - Simone Castelli
The hilltop town of Scansano is found in the south west of Tuscany, in the province of Grossetto and in the region known as the Maremma, home to some of the Super Tuscans, Sassicaia, Ornellaia and Ca’Marcanda. Up until the 1930s, the Maremma was a swamp when Mussolini ordered that it be drained because of the malarial mosquitoes which bred there.
The son of famous local oenologist and consultant, Maurizio Castelli, Simone Castelli makes wine from Morellino, the local name for a clone of Sangiovese (so the same varietal as Chianti and Brunello), which stands up extremely well to the heat of the summer and a long growing season, producing wines of intensity and richness. The proximity to the Ligurian Sea of the Castelli vineyards means that the vines are cooled by the sea breezes and thus vital acidity is also retained in the grapes.
His flagship wine, Podere 414, is a delicious blend of 85% Morellino and 7% Ciliegiolo with the balance made up of Colorino, Syrah and Alicante (a clone of Grenache). The name comes from the number given to the plot when the land was divided up and Simone Castelli’s 2½ hectare, organic vineyard lies within the plot boundary. His Podere 414 spends 12 months in small wooden casks (25hl) and tonneaux (5hl) producing an intense, toasty and ripe wine that is also fresh and so moreish. A perfect pairing with roasted duck, rich pasta sauces and red grilled meats.
When Simone Castelli announced the arrival of Badilante last year, essentially reserving only the best of his Morellino fruit for his flagship 414 bottling, we weren’t entirely convinced that either wine would benefit, but it is clear that they are both so much more than the sum of their parts. Named after the men who first tilled the soils of the Maremma’s former marshland with their triangular badili spades, Badilante is a delicious snapshot of what Sangiovese can do in this corner of Tuscany. Incredibly pure and dynamic, with velvety black fruit, supple tannins, and an alluring hint of forest fruits and spice behind, this is eminently drinkable at all times.