1953 was a not a very good year in Tuscany but this was one of the best older Chiantis that I have tasted. It ranks right up there with the 1947 and 1958 Gold Label from Ruffino. I believe that it was mostly Sangiovese and Canaiolo with some white grapes, most likely Malvasia. The governo method was probably used (10% of the grapes are dried and added back into the wine). It was most likely aged in large Slavonian oak barrels.
This wine called for a Bistecca Fiorentina but at Diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, there was none to be found. However, they did have a very well prepared Petite Sirloin with roasted potatoes, chanterelle mushrooms and mixed green vegetables in buttermilk. The combination of the steak and the wine made me very happy.
The American Institute of Food and Wine (AIWF) held its monthly dinner at Macelleria Restaurant in the meatpacking district in Manhattan. When I entered the private dining room I saw on the wall the banner for the Ordine Del Cavaliere Dei Vini Nobile. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s I was a board member of the Ordine, the best Italian wine organization that ever existed in this country. The list of members included all the important wine and food people in NYC and I have a group picture to prove it.
Macelleria is owned by the daughter of Sergio Bitici. In the 1980’s and 1990 Sergio along with his brothers owned a number of Italian restaurants in NYC. Sergio was the Chairman of the Ordine. When I saw him at Macelleria, we had a long discussion about the Ordine and how tuxedos were required for the events and how the men complained about it. In reality, everyone really liked getting dressed up, especially the women!
I noticed a number of interesting watercolors on the walls of the restaurant. When Sergio saw me looking at them, he said that he had painted them. I told him that next time he had a showing to invite me as I was interested in one or two of the paintings. There was a drawing for one of Sergio’s painting that night to benefit the AIWF but I did not win. However, I did win a fabulous basket of Italian products from Coluccio and Sons.
The wine was a 2006 Chianti Classico Marchese Antinori Riserva made from 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and other complementary red grapes. After a destemming and gentle pressing the must for this wine was placed in steel tanks. Gentle pumping and destestage followed and the must was separated according to varietal. Malolatic fermentation was spontaneously completed in 225 liter oak barrels of second and third passage. The skin contact for the Sangiovese was 12 days and for the Cabernet Sauvignon a little over two weeks. The wine was then aged in small oak barrels for 14 months and tasted barrique by barrique before being bottled. It was aged for one year in bottle before being released. The wine was a little too modern in style for my taste and I hope they will go back to making wine as they did in the past.