It is impossible to complete one's education about Badia a Coltibuono without a tasting session of the estate's historical vintages. These noble wines originate from a place which managed to keep its characteristics intact for centuries. It was an agricultural environment with a medieval imprint, run by a farm manager and sharecroppers, who lived in the farmhouses. It was the custom for the wine to be produced in the individual holdings, with the best sent to the “master's” cellars: the Riserva (reserve wine). Badia a Coltibuono became established as a wine producing company in the late 50s when sharecropping came to an end; the information that follows consists of memories passed down orally by older members of the community who are still alive today.
These Reserve wines come from the vineyards of Montebello and Argenina in Monti in Chianti, which were planted in the 30s. At that time, the vineyards covered a total surface area of 27 hectares . The vineyards were planted in a 220 x 80 arrangement, either straddling the hillside or placed along the slope; arduous vineyards, as they would be called today. The varieties: Sangiovese 65%, Canaiolo and Ciliegiolo 15%, Trebbiano and Malvasia 20%. The vineyards were cultivated using animal drawn tractors and fertilized with manure. It was only from 1968 onwards, that Fiat 411 caterpillar tractors began to be used. Towards the beginning of October, the grapes were crushed by the sharecropper himself in open wooden 90 hl vats and, once fermentation began, a special stick was used to plunge the cap. The first cement vats date back to the 70s. Crushing took place without removing the stems. After approximately 15 days, the sharecropper delivered the master's share of the devatted wine to the main farm and it was then refermented with the addition of selected berries in the Abbey's ancient cellars. With the March moon, the wine was removed from the fermentation tanks and placed in chestnut wood barrels in the master's cellars. Iron tie rods were placed inside these barrels to increase the intensity of the colour. After two rackings per year and an incalculable stay in the barrels of the Badia a Coltibuono cellars, many of these wines were only bottled in the early 80s.
Selection of Historical Reserves The pioneering vision of Piero Stucchi-Prinetti who, already back in the 50s, believed in the possibility of a top quality Chianti Classico, when nearly everybody else considered it to be a simple everyday wine, led to the creation of the very successful Selezione di Riserve Storiche [Selection of Historical Reserves] which is still to be found at Badia a Coltibuono today. Preserved for years in the Badia's cellars, in ancient chestnut barrels, these wines represent a taste of the history of Chianti Classico, an appreciable and extremely important indication of the evolution of this winemaking territory. The Riserve Storiche [Historical Reserves] of Badia a Coltibuono offer a unique opportunity to appreciate the aging capacity of these wines with a Sangiovese base, a grape of great tradition; if well preserved, these wines can mature for an exceedingly long time, acquiring even greater aromas and complexity.
The vintages recommended are: 1958, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988.