Mild spring temperatures and excellent water resources in the ground favored the budding of all of the estate’s grape varieties, slightly in advance, in fact, of the seasonal norm, and this positive initial phase was followed by an equally successful flowering and bud set. Ample rainfall in early summer enabled the vines to maintain a balanced vegetation even in the hot month of August, guaranteeing a complete color change in the grapes at the proper moment. Cool evenings and nights following warm daytime temperatures, along with sufficient ground water, assisted a gradual ripening of the crop and insured, at the beginning of the harvest period in mid-August, grapes which were both healthy, fully developed, and taut in their skins.
The grapes are cultivated in the vineyards of the Castello della Sala in Umbria, located at 650-1325 feet (200-400 meters) above sea level on soils which consist of sedimented marine fossils and layers of clay. The grape bunches, as soon as they are picked, are placed in special containers which maintain temperatures at 50° Fahrenheit (10° centigrade) without altering the varietal character of the grapes. After a few hours of skin contact, the must goes into small barrels of Allier and Tronçais oak where it ferments and goes through a partial malolactic fermentation. The wine ages for five months and is then blended, at 12.° alcohol, and bottled.
The first Chardonnay vintage at the Castello della Sala was in 1994. The estate itself was acquired by the Antinori family in 1940 and is situated at approximately ten miles (18 kilometers) from the city of Orvieto. The castle is an excellent example of medieval military architecture, and its special micro-climate, normally rather cool, make it an ideal spot for the production of white wines and Pinot Noir.
Color: straw yellow with golden highlights. Aromas: fruity and varietal with notes of vanilla and toasted oak. The wine is structured, elegant, and endowed with much mineral character.