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1090 was a very good year. The purpose of man was Dieulele – the divine valley. The purpose of Dieulele was man himself. And that is still true for Dievole today. The human and the divine – some things never change. Still today, after a thousand years, a Dievole vintner is known by his fathers first name – in acknow-ledgement of his fathers forte as a vintner. “Vinizio, son of the late Sichelmi, and Rodolfino, son of the late Ardimanno” were born to this strongly defined sense of purpose.
On 10th May 1090 they founded Dieulele, paying the first year rent: two capons, three loaves of bread and six silver coins. In the same year the Chinese discovered gunpowder and invented the magnet; ninety years earlier Leif Erikson reportedly had discovered North America. But the single most dramatic achievement of human civilization – the evolution from nomadic agriculture to an agricultural village – which had lasted unbroken in the Dievole estate for fifteen generations, was erased: in the 1950s the sharecroppers of Dievole, who had been farming the land in pride and freedom, were persuaded to join the communist party. They came to wisdom through failure only after abandoning Dievole. In 1986 Mario Felice Schwenn, age 21, called them back – and their children too. They are todays master vintners in Dievole sixteen single vineyards, which used to be their sharecropping fields.
Dievole Novecent Chianti Classico Riserva is named after an anniversary of sorts. 1090 was the birth year of the last winemaker and caretaker of the Dievole Estate. Nine hundred years later, six direct descendants of the first Dievole, manage the Estate again. Each of the six are winemakers, each brings his own talent to the collaboration. Novecent is a celebration of the grapes, the ability to late-harvest, traditions, and resurrection. As they at Dievole put it best, it is "Hazard and Opportunity." Because the grapes dry and concentrate on the vine, the wine is aggressive, thought provoking, and violet in the glass. It conjures memories of Amarone or Ripasso, only different. Mouthwatering flavors of plum, cassis, earth, chocolate, rosehips, and dried anise dance on the palate. The acidity is "Old World" style and the tannins are sultry.
Dievoles single vineyards compose this lush, interesting, juicy, balanced Chianti. This field blend represents the various Sangiovese clones on the Dievole Estate, along with Malvasia Nera, Canaiolo, Colorino, and the heritage-varietals of Barsaglina, Prugnolo, Saragiolo, and Mammolo. Now that is a mouthful. The fruit is ripe, the structure approachable, and the finish soft and earthy. They have a talent for blending and an ability to consider history and then think outside of the box. If you combine this with the terroir they have been blessed with, I think we are going to be hearing great things about these six gentlemen winemakers in the future.