At a recent tasting of Frescobaldi wines, Galen Crippin, the export manager, introduced a new wine, the Nipozzano Vecchie Viti 2011. As he spoke I tasted the wine and sat up in my chair. I no longer heard him speaking, my mind and my palate were telling me that this was a great traditional, classic Chianti Rufina, the type that very few producers make any more. I could not believe it! I finished the wine in my glass, asked to see the bottle and asked for some more just to make sure. It has been a very long time since I have been so impressed by Chianti. Though I often taste wines, I do not always drink them.
Nipozzano Vecchie Viti (old vines) Chianti Rufina Riserva 2011 90% Sangiovese and 10% complementary Tuscan grapes: Malvasia Nera, Colorino and Canaiolo. The vineyard is 20 hectares, located at 300 meters above sea level and the exposure is southwest. The soil is limestone, well drained and poor in organic matter. There are 2,500 vines per hectare and the vines are 40 years old.
The wine is historically dedicated to a new birth in the Frescobaldi family and originates from the oldest vines of Castello Nipozzano.
Harvest takes place in the beginning of October and is by hand. The wine is vinified in cement vats and fermentation lasts for 13 days. Maceration is for 20 days with pumping over. Malolactic fermentation takes place immediately after alcoholic fermentation. The wine is aged in 30HL French oak casks for 24 months and 2 years in bottle before release. This traditional classic Chianti Rufina is a rare find and a bargain at $30.
Nipozzano Riserva Chianti Rufina 2010 made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Malvasia Nera, Colorino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Manual harvest takes place at the end of September/beginning of October. Each variety is fermented separately in stainless steel vats for 13 days. Maceration is for 25 days and malolactic takes place right after the alcoholic fermentation. The wine is aged in barriques of second and third passage for 24 months and 3 months in bottle before release
Montesodi 2011. As of this year it is no longer Chianti Rufina but Toscana IGT. it is produced from a cru selection of Sangiovese grown in the 20 hectare Montesodi vineyard, which is at 400 meter and has a southwest exposure The training system guyot. The harvest is manual and takes place in the beginning of October. Fermentation occurs in stainless steel vats for 10 days. Maceration is for 30 days. The wine is then aged in Austrian and French oak casks of 30HL. The first vintage was 1974.
Montesodi 1974 Chianti Rufina Mostly Sangiovese. In answer to my question Mr. Crippen said that it did contain a small amount of white grapes and in answer to another of my questions Eleonora Marconi, the oenologist, said that the governo method was used (10% of the grapes are dried). For a 40 year old wine it was drinking very well with all the characteristics of a great older Chianti. This is another example of a wine made using the governo method,and adding some white grapes to the blend that can age. As we all know, Chianti producers tell us today that wines made in this method cannot age because they no longer use white grapes or the governo method. In my opinion this wine had more in common with the Nipozzano Vecchie VITI than it does with the 2011 Montesodi.