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First release from French – Italian collaboration in Maremma

Castellare di Castellina owner Paolo Panerai has launched the first wine from his Tuscan estate – with help from DBR winemaker, Christian Le Sommer.

The 500ha Rocca di Frassinello estate is a €20m investment in which DBR (Domaines Barons de Rothschild), owns a minority stake.

Bought in 1999, the Maremma estate has 80ha of vines – the owners intend to extend the vineyard capacity to 125ha.

The state of the art cellar was designed by Italy’s top architect Renzo Piano – whose most famous building is the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

The first wine to be released is the Poggio alla Guardia 2004, an entry level blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It was made by Castellare winemaker Alessandro Cellai and consultant Christian Le Sommer.

The new wine, however, does not form part of the DBR stable of estates which include the chateaux Lafite and Rieussec (Bordeaux), Quinta do Carmo (Portugal), Viña Los Vascos (Chile) and Bodegas Caro (Argentina).

Production of Poggio alla Guardia is expected to reach 100,000 bottles when the winery is working at capacity.

A second label, Le Sughere di Frassinello 2004, a similar blend, will be released later this month.

Then there is the ‘grand vin’, Rocca di Frassinello 2004, aged in new French oak with a bottle run of around 45,000 going up to 100,000 at capacity.

Written by Michele Shah

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