Chianti Classico Gran Selezione and Barolo Tasting at Gattopardo NYC


I was very happy to have the opportunity to host a wine tasting dinner featuring 3 top Gran Selezione Chianti Classico wines and 3 top Barolo’s at Il Gattopardo, one of New York City’s greatest Italian restaurants.

Duccio Corsini

The speaker for Chianti Classico Gran Selezione was Duccio Corsini, owner of Principe Corsini and counselor for the Chianti Classico Consortium. The Corsini Family is one of the oldest in Italy, going back to the 13th century.

One of Duccio’s ancestors, the Cardinal Lorenzo Corsini, became Pope Clemente XII.

Corsini began by speaking about the Chianti Classico Gran Selection classification of 2010. He said that the wine must be produced from a single vineyard or from a selection of the estate’s best grapes. The minimum aging is 30 months including 3 months of bottle age. The wine must have excellent chemical and organoleptic characteristics. The producer must declare in advance that the wine is going to be Gran Selezione and the wine is tested. Minimum alcohol is 13%. He pointed out that this was the first time a new classification became the top of a wine classification pyramid.

Chianti Classico DOCG 2013 Gran Selezione 100% Sangiovese Castello di Radda Winery located in Radda in Chianti.The harvest takes place the second half of September. The grapes come from a single vineyard Il Corno (The Horn) which is at 400 meters with a southern exposure. The soil is clayey-calcareous with a rich texture. The vineyard is 20 years old. The grapes are picked at perfect ripeness and are sorted in the vineyard and at the winery.

Fermentation is in 50 hl stainless steel vats with maceration on skins for about 4 weeks. The wine is on the lees for 5 months in 5hl barrels. Then it is put in the same barrels for 20 months and 12 months in bottle before release.

This is a wine with nice red berry fruit with hints of spice and vanilla. It is complex and well balanced and can age for 20 years. $46

Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione “Dom Tommaso” 2013 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot Principe Corsini. The winery is located in San Casciano Val di Pesa. The vineyards are at 270-350 meters and have a southern exposure. Pilocenic hills rich in river stones. There are 5,800 plants per hectare. The training system is low-spurred cordon and the average age of vines is 25 years. This is a selection of the best grapes; hand harvested, destemmed and put in open frustum, cone–shaped stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. After 24 hours at 20C the grapes are inoculated with selected indigenous yeasts. Fermentation for the Sangiovese is 18 days and for the Merlot is 16 days at a max temp of 28C. The wine is aged in 70% new barriques and 30% in used barriques for 18 months and 12 months in bottle before release.

This is a very impressive wine with hints of dark cherries, plums, violets dried roses licqorice and spice. $44

Chianti Classico DOCG 2013 Gran Selezione “Prunaio” 100% Sangiovese Grosso Viticcio $? The winery is in Greve in Chianti. When the wine was first produced in 1985 it was an IGT Toscana because it was against the rules to make a wine from 100% Sangivese and call it Chianti Classico. The grapes are from two single vineyards at 300 and 430 meters, and the exposure is south-southeast, east and west. Biodynamic agriculture is practiced and the Sangiovese Gross came from a massal selection in Montalcino. Soil is alberese stone and schist-based galestro. The training system is guyot. The vines are 13 and 10 years old and there are 6,000 plants per hectare. Manual harvest takes place the first week of October.

Fermentation is at 28/30C in stainless steel and maceration is for 25 days. Malolactic fermentation is in wood. The wine is aged in 225 liter and 500 liter barrels for 18 months and then in large Slavonian oak barrels for 6 months. The wine has ripe fruit aromas and flavors with hints of plum and violets. The wine can age for ten years or more. they are looking for an importer.

Corsini said that 2013 was an excellent vintage for Chianti Classico. In fact, he added, there has not been a bad vintage for Chianti Classico since 2002!

Speaking about Barolo was Giovanni Minetti the former President of the Barolo and Barbaresco Consortium. He has also served as the CEO for some of Piedmont’s most important estates including Tenuta Carretta. Giovanni Is one of the most respected and knowledgeable people working in Italian wine.

Giovanni Minetti

Minetti spoke about the 2012 vintage for Barolo. He said that this was a good but not a great vintage but the wines have balance and elegance. They are more approachable and would be ready to drink sooner than the 2011 and 2013 vintage. After tasting the wines, the other journalists agreed with him. I was in agreement on the first two wines but not the Tenuta Carretta. The grapes for this come from the Canubbi vineyard, which may be the best vineyard in Barolo, and the wine has great structure and body.

Barolo DOCG 2012 cru Rocche di Castelletto 100% Nebbiolo Cascina Chicco in Monforte d’Alba. In 2007, the Faccenda Family purchased a 5 hectare plot of land. This 5 hectare vineyard was purchased in 2007 in the Ginestre zone where the Barolo Rocche di Castelletto DOCG comes from. The vineyard has a southwest and west exposure and the soil is clay and limestone. Manual harvest takes place the second half of October and each plant in harvest twice.

Fermentation lasts for 15 days in small stainless steel tanks with pumping over for color extraction. Maceration is for 40 to 45 days. Malolactic fermentation is in wood. The wine is put into barrels of 2,000, 2,500 and 5,000 liters for 30 months followed by 8 months in stainless steel. It is released 4 years after the harvest. This is an elegant, complex, full bodied wine with hints of raspberry, liquorice and spice. $75

 Barolo DOCG 2012 cru Ravera 100% Nebbiolo Réva Monforte d’Alba Ravera sub-zone. 100% Michet, one of the 3 principal sub varieties of Nebbiolo. The exposure is east and southeast and the vineyard is 1.1 ha at 380 meters and 4,500 plants per hectare. The soil is clay and limestone, alternating with marl and fossilferous sandstone, tending to “elveziano”.

This is an organic wine growing estate which uses only certified bio-products, organic fertilizers and natural yeast. The harvest is manual.

Spontaneous fermentation is on the skins in stainless steel tanks for 30 to 35 days. 80% of the malolactic fermentation takes place in large Austrian oak barrels and 20% in used barriques. Aging is for 24 months in oak barrels and wine was bottled in August. This is a complex, full bodied and balanced wine with hints of violets, blackberries and tobacco. They make 6 wines. Every that works in the winery is under 35!  $79

Minetti made it clear that Michet is not a clone of Nebbiolo but a sub variety. 

Barolo DOCG cru Cannubi 2012 100% Nebbiolo Tenuta Carretta in Piobesi d’Alba in the heart of the Roero zone. The vineyards are at 2.5 hectares. Cannubi may be the best vineyard for Barolo-best exposure and microclimate. The vineyards are at 250 and 350 meters and the training system is guyot. The soil is clay marl with layers of yellow stone and pebble, rich in mineral salts. The exposure is southern/ southwest.

Aging for a minimum of 36 months-at least 24 in casks a and 9 months in bottle. Wine does not go on sale before the 4th year after the harvest. This is a very impressive Barolo complex with hints of wild red berries, tobacco, spice and chocolate. $130


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