Milanese businessman Guido Serio bought San Fabiano estate in 1983. The vineyards are located in the historic Chianti Classico commune of Castellina, while the manor house and the cellar, which are part of the 10-century-old medieval hamlet, stand right on the south-western border of Chianti Classico denomination. The estate is essentially an agricultural enterprise, with grain fields, vineyards, olive groves and woods dispersed on 165 hectares. The vineyards currently occupy 42 hectares, 28 of which are planted around San Fabiano hamlet and the rest are in the locality of Cellole near Castellina.
Since the purchase of the estate Guido Serio made a considerable investment both in vine growing and wine making. The property had an old vinification cellar – it was promptly expanded and new modern equipment installed in mid 1980s. A vast new aging cellar was built in 2003. In between these years all vineyards were gradually renewed. Small replanting is still carried out each year, so the majority of today’s vines are aged 5 to 15 years. Franco Campanelli is a full time in-house winemaker, while Carlo Ferrini, a famed Tuscan enologist, followed the estate since 1984 and continues to work as a consultant.
Cellole Chianti Classico Riserva is a single vineyard wine from the eponymous parcel. The vineyard is located just one kilometre away from Castellina. Grown at the altitude of 450-550 metres above sea level, it is the highest vineyard in the commune. The exposition of the slope is south-western. The soils are very poor, consisting of typical galestro and also macigno, a harder stone. The harvest is usually picked in the first week of October. Only selected grapes are used for Cellole Chianti Classico Riserva. The wine ferments in stainless steel vats with temperature control and then ages in French barriques, partly new and partly used, for 18-20 months, followed by further refinement in bottles for 3-6 months.
Cellole is made predominantly with Sangiovese. A tiny part of Colorino was blended in until 1997. The wine’s composition remains at 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot since the 1997 vintage. Average annual production is 35,000 bottles. Short summary of weather conditions for each year was provided by Guido Serio.
Cellole Chianti Classico Riserva 1995
Cellole Chianti Classico Riserva 1996
Smaller vintage than 1995 but San Fabiano managed to obtain good results for Cellole.
Dark cherry colour. Intense nose with notes of dried fruit, especially prunes, cherry jam, and coal. Aromas have lost vivacity. Palate, though, is still lively thanks to bright acidity. Flavours of red fruit and spice. Nice volume in the finish, but unpleasant woody bitterness and dryness give the evidence that the wine is past its peak. 84
Cellole Chianti Classico Riserva 1997
“The vintage was announced as a year of the century, but I don’t think it was perfect”, says Guido Serio. It got very cold in the end of April, so yields were reduced naturally. Results in general were good.
Dark cherry colour. Deep, intense, powerful nose with aromas of ripe dark cherry and even black fruit, as well as spice. The palate is harmonious, well balanced between the freshness of acidity, maturity of tannins and ripeness of fruit. Cherry notes are enhanced by spice, good minerality is retained. Full, powerful chocolatey finish with a velvety, dryish tannic sensation. 90
The vintage is squeezed between two famous years of 1997 and 1999. Guido Serio believes it is superior to 1997. Nice rain in spring, summer hot, but not too much. Harvest was difficult as it rained at a few occasions, and careful selection was required. The wine was ready sooner than others.
Dark garnet-ruby colour. Open, powerful nose, built on sweet balsamic and licorice notes. The palate is balanced, also with sweet licorice, but more on juicy cherry-plummy fruit. Ripe tannins, attractive toasty notes, medium length. 89
A perfectly steady year in terms of weather conditions. “It is a winemaker’s dream to have every year like this”, says Guido Serio.
Dark ruby colour. A very attractive, fresh, savoury nose with nuanced ripe fruit. Palate is fresh, intense, with an excellent balance between acidity, tannin and fruit component. Ripe fruit are underlined by minerality, there is plenty of spice. Long chocolatey-toasty finish. 92
Dark, almost opaque ruby colour. Rich, intense, deep, complex, clean nose. Aromas of well ripened cherry and dark fruit, balsamic nuances. Palate is fresh, combines power and elegance. Dense flavours of ripe fruit, especially cherry, and underlying minerality. The fruit and tannin components are so intense that they practically mask any presence of wood. Full, persistent finish, continues on the fruit-and-minerals theme. Still young, this monumental wine has a great long life ahead. 93