Our first visit of the day was to Casa Emma – a classic Chianti vineyard which uses modern stainless steel drums and new new machinery to produce a high quality wine. To be honest I had always believed that old wood barrels would give a finer oak aged flavouring to the wine but our host Paulo Paffi – who has been working these vines all his life gave a good case for clean casks with less risk of previous disease corrupting the bouquet of the wine.
After the first fermentation the wine is moved to barrels but these too are kept free from infection through regular rotation and buying new barrels every few years.
Paulo is clearly a man committed to perfection – there has been a huge financial investment in this vineyard and the wine processing materials he uses but nevertheless in 2002, the year when they had an unsatisfactory harvest, rather than risk the reputation of his wines he chose not to make or bottle any wine and focus on getting a better harvest for the following year.
Casa Emma like most Chianti vineyards produces four distinct types of wine – Chianti Classico 80%+ Sangiovese grape, Chianti Riserva , The Vigna di Bufati wine which is made with two common grape varieties, Sangiovese and Malvasia Nera, and an experimental grape variety called Galmay. The name of the wine comes from the name of their smaller vineyard, Bufati – 1,5 hectares, completely surrounded by woods – and serious electric fencing to keep the wild boar and deer at bay when the grapes are ripe! Their final wine is called Soloio -100% Merlot – so named for the only one man brave enough at that time to attempt to grow Merlot in the Chianti region!
The vineyard also produces Olive Oil, Vinegar, and Vin Santo – all of these were served at our wine tasting – except the vinegar!