Category Archives: Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

The Impressive Wines of Montefili

On a recent trip to Italy, Michele and I were planning to go to Florence. We wanted to have lunch outside the city at Antica Macelleria Cecchini, owned by Dario Cecchini, known as “The Butcher of Panzano”. Nicola Marzovilla, owner of I Trulli Restaurant, who is a friend of Dario’s made a reservation for us. Nicola also suggested we visit Vecchie Terre di Montefili in nearby Greve before lunch. Nicola is a partner in the winery and it is a short distance from the restaurant.

I tasted Nicola’s wines of Montefili last February at Restaurant I Trulli and was very impressed by them. Nicola said the winemaker was the talented Serena Gusmeri and he hired her because they both have the same approach to winemaking. It would be interesting to see how the wines developed and to speak to Serena about the wines.

We left Florence and about an hour later we arrived at the winery.

Serena welcomed us and said there are 12.5 hectares of vineyards planted mostly with Sangiovese in the heart of Chianti Classico on the highest hill outside of Panzano.

Serena

Like Nicola, she believes in as little interference in the winemaking process as possible, the grapes should speak for themselves. The vines are very old and they produced a wine that is very concentrated and can last for 20 years or more. This concentration and longevity come from the grapes themselves and not from anything that is done during the winemaking process.

We had some local products to eat with the wine

Serena said that none of the wines undergo filtration or fining and with the 2015 vintage they use spontaneous fermentation for the alcoholic fermentation, malolactic fermentation and the final refinement. When asked about the 2015 and 2016 vintages she said that in 2015 the grapes were perfect and the wines produced are big wines and will last for many years. The 2016 produced fresher wines with more acidity and will be ready to drink sooner.

The Wines

Montefili Rosso Toscana IGT 2015 made from 35% Sangiovese and 65% Cabernet Franc. The vineyards are at 500 meters and the terrain is hilly. The soil is galestro and alberese and the training system is spurred cordon. Vinification takes place in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. The wine is aged for a minimum of 20 in tonneau of 3.5 HL for the Cabernet Franc and large 20 HL barrels for the Sangiovese. The wine is aged in bottle for a minimum of 6 months before release.

Chianti Classico DOCG 2016 made from 100% Sangiovese. The terrain is hilly and the vineyards are at 500 meters. The soil is galestro and alberese. The vineyards were planted in the late nineties and Serena said these were the youngest vines on the property. The training system is spurred cordon. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Aging is for a minimum of 15 months in 3,000 liter Slavonian oak barrels and 6 months in bottle before release.  This is a wine with hints of blackberry  and cherry with a touch of violets and and a note of almonds. This is a fruity wine with hints of cherry and blackberries with good acidity.  $30

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015 made from 100% Sangiovese from a careful selection of grapes from vineyards with the best exposure. The vineyards were planted in the late 1980’s. The training system is spurred cordon and guyot. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Aging is in Slavonian oak barrels of 3,000 and 2,000 liters for a minimum of 22 months and 6 months in bottle before release.This is a  well structed wine with hints of blackberry  and cherry with a touch of violets and and a note of almonds. . $50

Vigna Vecchia “Gran Selezione” DOCG 2015 made from 100% Sangiovese from a single vineyard called Vigna Vecchia planted in 1981. The training system is spurred  cordon and fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. The wine is rotated between 30HL and 10HL oak barrels for 26 months and 8 months in bottle before release.  This is elegant wine with red and black fruit aromas and hints of blueberries and cherries and a hint of violets .$75

Anfiteatro IGT Colli Toscana Centrale made from 100% Sangiovese from the Anfiteatro vineyard planted in 1985. Serena said this is their best vineyard. The training system is bilateral cordon. Fermentation is in stainless steel with indigenous yeast. The wine is aged for 28 months in 5HL barrels and 10 Hl barrels and a minimum of 12 months in bottle before release. This is a very big wine that needs more time. In fact all of the wines from the 2015 vintage will last for many years. Serena said because of the position of vineyards and because they are at 500 meters the microclimate is not like any other in Tuscany. $120

Bruno di Rocca IGT Colli Toscana Centrale 2015 made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Sangiovese from vineyards planted in the early 1980’s. The soil is galestro and the training system is spurred cordon. Vinification is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Aging for a minimum of 28 months in tonneaux for the Sangiovese and for the Cabernet Sauvignon in barriques (350 liters).  Nicola said Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be aged in barriques. The wine spends a minimum of 12 months in bottle before release. It is difficult to make this type of wine where the Cabernet Sauvignon does not dominate but this is a soft elegant wine.

It was a pleasure listening to the knowledgeable and interesting Serena speak about the wines of Montefili, the different grapes, and the other wineries in the area. Nicola made the right choice when he hired her.

Serena gave use a few bottles of wine to have at lunch and what better choice can there be than steak and Sangiovese.

Note: When we were at the winery they were harvesting the olives. Serena said 2019 was not a great year for olives but because of their location and microclimate their oil will be fine.

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Chianti Classico Gran Selectione, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Montefili, Uncategorized

Castello di Meleto: The Wines of Tuscany

A few months ago I was contacted by wellcomonline.com, a PR agency based in Alba, Italy. They wanted to know if I wanted to taste wine samples from Castello di Meleto, a winery in Tuscany. Wellcom handles some of Italy’s top wine clients, so I told them I would except the samples and was very pleased that I did.

The Castello di Meleto estate consists of 2,470 acres of which 300 acres are planted with vines. It is located just over a half mile from the town of Gaiole in Chianti. The castle, the heart of the estate, once belonged to the monks of the Coltibuono Abbey. The name Meleto can be traced back to 1256. Today the vineyards are spread in five different plots that surround the castle, leaving the winery in an ideal central location.

The Wines IMG_0984

Vermentino 2015 IGT Toscana Bianco made from 100% Vermentino. The vineyard was planted in 2010 and is at 360 to 420 meters. There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the training system is guyot. The grapes are handpicked in small containers in order to reduce skin breakage. After being gently destemmed and soft pressed the free run juice is chilled and left on the skins for a few hours. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. During fermentation, a small portion of the wine undergoes a brief aging in second or third passage barriques. The wine in aged in stainless steel for 4 months before release. This is a fresh slightly tangy wine with hints of citrus and nice minerality. $12 IMG_0985

Chianti Classico DOCG 2013 made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyard is at 360 to 450 meters with a south, southeast and south-west exposure and the soil is gravelly, rich in galestro and alberese. There are 3,500/ 5,000 vines per hectare and the vines were planted in 1970-2000. The training system is spurred cordon, guyot and alberello (bush). The grapes are harvested by hand and by machine and then destemmed and lightly pressed. Maceration is on the skins for 15 to 20 days. Spontaneous alcoholic fermentation is in stainless steel tanks, without adding exogenous yeast, for 7-10 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place in cement vat. The wine is aged in 54HL Slavonian oak barrels (botti) for 12 months. The wine is aged in the bottle for 6 months before release. The wine has hints of cherry, blueberry and a hint of pine. It is a very pleasant wine that is very food friendly. $18IMG_0986

Chianti Classico Riserva “Vigna Casi” DOCG 2012 made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyard is located in Gaiole in Chianti. The exposure is west, south and southwest at 400 meters. There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred cordon and alberello. The vines were planted in 1990-1995. Harvest and selection is by hand. Maceration and spontaneous fermentation is at a minimum temperature of 78-82F in wooden vats with delestage and pump-over. The wine is kept in contact with the skins for 20 to 25 days before it goes into cement vats for malolactic fermentation. One half of the wine is aged in 52 Slavonian oak barrels, the rest in second or third passage 225-liter barriques for 18 months depending on the vintage. The wine remains in the bottle for 6 months before release. This is an elegant wine with hints of cherries, violets and spice and a long and intense finish. $30IMG_0987

 Chianti Classico “Gran Selezione” DOCG 2011 made from 85 % Sangiovese and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard is south facing and is at 400 meters and were planted in 2000 and 2003. There are 5,000 vines per hectare; the training system is spurred cordon and the soil is gravelly, rich in galestro and alberese. Great care is taken in thinning shoots, foliage canopy management, and pruning. Harvest is by hand with 10-kilogram bins. In the cellar the grapes are refrigerated to a temperature of 8/10C for at least 24 hours. After the fermentation, which is in oak barrels, there is a long maceration. The Cabernet Sauvignon is aged in second passage French barriques, while the Sangiovese is aged in second and third passage barriques. The wine is aged between 14 to 18 months depending on the vintage. The wine remains in bottle for one year before release. This is an intense complex wine with hints of spice and berries. It will need a few more years to bring out all of its aromas and flavors.  $50

Gran Selezione is a new classification at the top of the Chianti Classico pyramid. The grapes for these wines must be estate grown and come from a single vineyard, or selected from the estates best-suited vineyards. Gran Selezione wines can be released on the market 30 months from the grape harvest, including at least 3 months of bottle age. The alcohol must be at least 13% IMG_0989

Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC 2008 90% Trebbiano, 5% Sangiovese and 5% Malvasia. The vineyard has western exposure and is at 400 meters. The soil is limestone mixed with sandstone. Training system is guyot, there are 3,000 vines per hectare. The vines were planted in 1972 -1974. Manual harvest and the grapes are naturally dried in well-ventilated rooms followed by fermentation and aging is barrels of different woods and sizes, which are sealed and kept in rooms with shifting temperatures. Aging is for 4 to 5 years in mixed wooden casks called caratelli of 60, 100 and 120 liters. The caratelli are filled up to 70%. This is a full dessert wine has hints of dried fruit, honey and apricot with a touch of vanilla. $45 – 375 bottle

Leave a comment

Filed under Castello di Meleto, Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Vermentino, Vin Santo

The New Chianti Classico Classification: Gran Selezione

I had been waiting for an opportunity to taste the 2010 vintage Chianti Classico Gran Selezione  DOCG to see what they were all about so I was pleased to attend a seminar and tasting of the wines.IMG_7875_2

The seminar was billed as a Master Class: “An Exploration of the Territory of Chianti Classico,” and was presented by Antonio Galloni. He selected 7 wines from the Gran Selezione category. This new classification is at the top of the Chianti Classico pyramid. In order to qualify for this classificatio, the grapes for these wines must be estate grown and come from a single vineyard, or selected from the estates best-suited vineyards. Gran Selezione wines can be released on the market after 30 months from the grape harvest, including at least 3 months of bottle aging. The alcohol must be at least 13%.IMG_7879_2

The Chianti Classico zone is between Florence and Siena and includes the communities of Castellina in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti, Greve in Chianti and Radda in Chianti and includes parts of Barberino Val d’Elsa, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Poggibonsi, San Casciano Val di Pesa and Tavarnella Val di Pesa.

As of 2005, all Chianti Classico has the Gallo Nero (Black Rooster) on the label. Before 2005 a Chianti Classico producer did not have to belong to the Consortium and therefore did not have to put the Black Rooster on the neck label. This was very confusing for the consumer.IMG_7873_2

Chianti produced outside this Classical zone cannot have the word Classico on the label and cannot have the Black Rooster symbol of the Chianti Classico Consortium on the neck label. For more information see my blog

https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/chianti-the-best-known-wine-and-the-least-known-wine/

Grand Riserva Wines – Mr. Galloni used the wines of different producers of the Grand Riserva as examples of how the vineyard elevation, soil type and exposure will produce different styles of wine.IMG_7865_2

Badia a Passignano 100% Sangiovese Antinori The production zone is Tavarnella Val di Pesa. Fermentation lasts for 10 days and the must is in contact with the skins for another 10-12 days. After racking, the various lots were aged for 14 months in Hungarian oak barrels and in French oak barrels. The wine remained in the bottle for another 12 months. The wine has aromas of ripe fruit, with hints of cherries and a slight touch of vanilla. It has a nice finish and long aftertaste. $60IMG_7866_2

Isole e Olena 82% Sangiovese, 9% Syrah, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petite Verdot. The production area is 9 km north of Castellina in Chianti. Fermentation is in conical open vats for 3 weeks for the Sangiovese and Cabernet and 2 weeks for the Syrah. The wine spends 22 months in French barriques (225 liters) of which 30 are new, and 10 months in casks. The wine was bottled in July 2013. It has hints of cherries, blackberries and spice with a touch of balsamic. $ Not yet released.IMG_7867

Castello di Fonterutoli 92% Sangiovese, 8% Malvasia and Colorino. Marchesi Mazzei Production zone is Castellina in Chianti. The grapes are hand harvested starting on October 1. The wine is aged is barriques and 500 liter tonnneaux of which 60% are new. It has nice fruit with hints of cherries and a touch of violets. $70IMG_7868_2

Mona Lisa Vignamaggio 85% Sangiovese,15% Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Production area is Greve in Chianti. There are 16/18 days of fermentation and maceration on the skins. After malolactic fermentation there is 18/20 months of barrique aging and 12/14 months in the bottle before release. The wine has hints of cherry and plums. $40IMG_7869_2

Vigna del Sorbo Fontodi 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Production area is Panzano in Chianti. Fermentation takes place with indigenous yeast in inox tanks and maceration lasts for 25 days. The wine is aged in 225 liter French barrels for 2 years. Not all the barrels are new. It has hints of cherries, violets and a touch of spice.  $70IMG_7870

San Lorenzo Castello di Ama 80% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot and Malvasia Nera. Area of Production Gaiole in Chianti. The wine spends 12 months in French oak and 2 years in bottle. It has red fruit aromas and flavors with a long finish and nice aftertaste. $50IMG_7871

San Marcellino Rocca di Montegrossi 95% Sangiovese and 5% Pugnitello. Production area Monti in Chianti and Gaiole in Chianti. The wine spends 28 months in 49% barriques and 51% in tonneaux of Allier oak, 20% new wood, 10% two years and 70% 3 years. The wine was bottled on April 19, 2013 and remained in the bottle for at least 24 months before release. $50. They are certified organic. The wine has hints of black cherry and plum with a touch of cedar and leather. $50IMG_7872_2

Colonia Felsina 100% Sangiovese Area of production Castelnouovo Berardenga. Fermentation and maceration are for 16/20 days in steel tanks with punchdowns and popovers at controlled temperatures. In March/April the wine is transferred into new and once-used oak barriques for 18/20 months maturation followed by at least 6/8 months in the bottle. It has hints of cherry and plum with a touch of cinnamon. $85

In answer to a question, Mr. Galloni pointed out that two of the wines we tasted shared the same oenologist, Franco Bernabei. But the wines do not taste the same because the vineyards are located in different zones.

3 Comments

Filed under Antinori, Castello di Ama, Castello Fonterutoli, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Fonti, Isole e Olena, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Rocca di Montegrossi, Vigamaggio