I met Jarkko Peränen a few years ago at a wine symposium in Tampere, Finland. He’s Finnish, but now lives in Tuscany, where he makes the Candialle wines. He initially went to Italy just to do harvest, but stayed on to work with a small producer in Chianti Classico for 5 years, during which time this tiny domaine grew from 1 to 3.5 hectares. Then in 2002 he bought a farm in Panzano, in the middle of the region. He’s been making wine there ever since. I wrote about his wines then, but I recently had a chance to try them again.
Soils are mostly palaestra, which the typical soil of the region, consisting of clay and schist. It almost looks like just clay on the surface, but underneath there are layers of schist. There are also some big blocks of albarese, a hard limestone.
In the poorer soils on the estate, Jarkko uses clover as a cover crop. Where the soil is richer, he uses barley or oats, and these plants protect the soil against erosion. In contrast to the local weed grasses, the barley doesn’t compete for water with the vines, because it stops growing much earlier than the local weeds. When the grass growth is strong, he’ll use a mechanical means of clearing under the row. And when the inter-row barley or wheat is cut, it forms a mulch on the soil, and this is really useful in a warm climate such as Tuscany because it stops the soil from heating up too much.
Everything in the vineyard is done organically. Jarkko says that the only thing he can use against fungal diseases is copper and sulfur, and the spray is 150 g/hl of copper and 2 kg/hl of sulfur.
He also use some other organic sprays. Biopesticides are now more common the market, he says, and he’s now trying Trichoderma (a fungus, sprayed at 1.5 kg/ha), which colonizes the pruning wounds so that trunk diseases can’t come in. He’s also trialling new biological solutions against bunch rot and mildew. He uses sexual confusion against the grapevine moth, which lays eggs on the grapes, which then hatch into larvae and eat into the grapes. They make a hole in the grape, some juice comes out and you get grey rot..
There are three ways that Jarkko ages the wines. Two-thirds goes to barrel, with about 5% new oak in the cellar. Then there are the concrete tanks. And finally, a totally new container, which is called Clayver. It is a 250 litre ceramic ball made by a Genoa-based engineer, who is a wine freak. These balls are fired at almost twice the temperature of terracotta, and they are completely neutral (small amphorae release some taste to the wine). They are sealed with a heavy glass lid.
These balls allow one-tenth the oxygen transmission that barrels do, and Jarkko has 10% of the world’s production in his cellar (he has five). The great thing is that they are priced at just 700 Euros each, although the stands used to support them cost a further 250 Euros. The Mimas 2013 that we tried is the first commercially available wine in the world from these Clayvers.
MN 2016 Vino Rosso, Italy
10.5% alcohol. Fresh and supple, with some grip to the bright cherry and berry fruit. It’s really fresh and savoury, with drinkability. Grunty and food friendly with some earth and spice. Has a drying finish. 89/100
Candialle Chianti Classico 2013 Tuscany, Italy
13.5% alcohol. There’s a dusty, savoury, spicy edge to the compact red cherry and berry fruits. It’s very Chianti, but also very well done, with lovely balance, and the sweetness of fruit to carry the structure and the more savoury elements. Has so many layers of flavour with good structure, and a nice dry finish. Shows purity and balance, with good acidity. Such a lovely wine. 94/100
La Misse di Candialle Chianti Classico 2017 Tuscany, Italy
14% alcohol. This has an energy to it. It’s pure and focused with lovely black cherry and blackberry fruit, with a bit of tannic grunt, but it’s carried by the vivid fruit, showing concentrated black cherry with a nice chalky finish. This is such a lovely expression of Sangiovese. It’s serious but approachable. 93/100
Candialle Mimas 2017 IGT Toscana, Italy
13.5% alcohol. This is Sangiovese in Clayvers of 250 litres. This is wonderfully focused and pure with nice berry fruits and some cherry notes. There’s a bit of grip, but also some roundness, and a lovely flow on the palate. Has hints of tar and spice with nice intensity, but also some elegance. Lovely stuff. 94/100
Candialle Ciclope 2013 Rosso Toscano
14% alcohol. 60% Merlot, 35% Sangiovese and 5% Petit Verdot. This has nice density: it’s ripe and rich with some spice and tar alongside concentrated blackberry fruit. There’s some tannin here: it is structured and a bit drying. But it’s really well made with nice substance. A pretty serious wine, and for a ‘supertuscan’ it’s really well priced. 93/100
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