Thirty years ago, world-traveler and one-eyed dreamer Sean O’Callahan handed in his thesis at a German winemaking school, then took off on his motorcycle for an Italian vineyard adventure.
On this holiday in Italy he met John Dunkley, the owner of Riecine, a leader in Chianti Classico and his oenologist Sergio Manetti (Montevertine – Le Pergole Torte), got the job as a winemaker and stayed just under a quarter of a century. In 2012, Sean partnered with Karl Egger at Tenuta di Carleone in Chianti, who had begun to restore the ruins of Castiglioni, just outside of Radda.
Using organic and biodynamic practices, they now farm a collection of small plots planted in the 1970's, 20 hectares in total, nestled among wooded hills, small streams and aged olive trees. Sean’s vision for Sangiovese is a balance between structure and fruit. His winemaking is both thoughtful and playful, making wines of “bevibilità,” a drinkability that makes bottles tend to disappear! These ethereal wines are made in small production.There’s not a hair out of place on this supremely elegant Sangiovese, which is made from the very best parcels on Tenuta di Carleone’s estate and is the ultimate expression of their terroir in Radda in Chianti. Its pale colour is a statement in itself, announcing it as an ephemeral expression of the grape and the aromas are extremely delicate, fragile even, flirting with sweet spice, damson and flowers, an exercise in aromatic seduction that will fluster even the most stubborn hearts.
It’s a wonderfully refined take on Sangiovese with tannins seemingly woven from cashmere and a light concentration of cherries and scented plums that is almost weightless in the mouth. Fermented using 10% whole bunches with a long maceration of two months, aged in a combination of stainless steel and old oak. Cherry, strawberry and rhubarb capture the lightness, brightness and depth of Radda, then come liquorice root and sweet moist earth. Though midweight, there is a sneaky tactile grip. It finishes with a green, spicy note.