The Cervaro name derives from the noble family which owned Castello della Sala during the 15th century, the Monaldeschi della Cervara. The Antinori family purchased the estate in 1940. The first vintage of Cervaro della Sala to be produced was the 1985, marketed in 1987.
The 2016 vintage was characterized by a winter with frequent rainfall and by repeated and significant drops in temperature; the spring which followed was not particularly mild in its weather as well. The frequent but not particularly abundant rains between late April and mid-June, despite the important lowering of temperatures during the first ten days of May, favored the early and vigorous growth of the Chardonnay and Grechetto vine vegetation. This slightly precocious beginning of the vineyard’s cycle of growth gradually came back into balance during the month of July. A warm summer with positive temperature swings from daytime heat to evening and nighttime coolness assisted in the development of the aromatic components of the two grape varieties. The picking of the Chardonnay began during the last ten days of August and was followed by the Grechetto harvest, as usual two weeks later in time and which terminated in mid-September.
The grapes were picked during the earliest hours of the morning in order to assure that the grapes which reached the cellars were entirely whole and healthy, not stressed by high daytime temperatures. The attention given to the crop continues in the cellar thanks to the special design of the structure, conceived to take advantage of the force of gravity, avoiding mechanical intervention on the grapes and the must. After a brief four hour period of skin contact at 50° Fahrenheit (10° centigrade) the must went into stainless steel tanks before going into oak barrels. Both the primary and the malolactic fermentation took place in barrel. After approximately three months the Chardonnay went back into the stainless steel tanks to be blended with Grechetto (which had been fermented separately in stainless steel). After bottling, the wine was aged in bottle for several months in the historic cellars of the Castello della Sala before commercial release.
The wine, a light straw yellow with brief greenish highlights, expresses rich, complex, and intense aromas. The notes of citrus fruit, pears, and acacia flowers are in perfect balance with the sweet and spicy notes of vanilla. The palate is supple but vibrant, elegant and well structured, characterized by the classic mineral sensations and by the light notes of hazelnut butter.