Category Archives: Chianti Classico

Tasting Chianti Classico

Before I left for Rome in March, I went to a Chianti Classico Consortium walk around tasting. There  were more than 60 producers presenting their wines. I attended a seminar entitled Chianti Classico UGA “No wine is an Island.” It featured 11 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione wines representing the nine UGA villages (see link above). After this interesting and informative seminar I was able to taste some of the wines.

CHIANTI CLASSICO

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Giulia Cecchi

Chianti Classico Villa Rosa Gran Selezione 2016 Cecchi made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyard is at 340 meters in Castellina in Chianti. The soil is calcareous clay characterized by heterogeneous profiles that combine “alberese” limestone with marl slate. There are 4,800 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred cordon. Traditional temperature controlled vinification on the skins and fermentation and maceration lasts for 22 days. The wine ages for 15 months in tonneaux and 3 months in concrete and then a minimum of one year in bottle before release. The wine has floral hints, a touch of spice, anddelicate note of red fruit. I have been enjoying the wines from Cecchi for many years.

Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 Villa Cerna Cecchi made from 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino. The vineyards are at 280 meters, the soil is alkaline with stones. There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred cordon. Traditional temperature fermentation on the skins. Fermentation and maceration lasts for 15 days. The wine ages for 14 months in barriques and barrels of medium capacity and spends a minimum of 9 months in barrel before release. It is produced only in the best vintages. The wine has floral aromas with hints of red cherry, forest berries and a note of toasted almond.

IMG_6908Margherita Manetti

Chianti Classico Filetta di Lamole 2018 Fontodi made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyard is at 620 meters and the soil is sandy. The wine has hints of cherry, plum, spice and a note of cranberries.

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Alex Pagano – Enoclassica Selections

Chianti Classico Tagliafune Riserva Villa Montepaldi made from 80% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet, 5% Alicante and 5% Colorino. Harvest takes place from mid September to early October. Maturation takes place in wooden vats for at least 21 months. The wine has hints of dark berries, dried black cherries and a hint of spice. This renaissance property, once owned by Leonardo Medici, with its 300 hectares of vineyards and olive groves is also owned by the University of Florence and doubles as a field station for the Oenology department. It is run as a non-profit organization and therefore the wines are a good value. This was the first time I tasted this wine and I was very impressed with it.

IMG_6900Chianti Classico 2019 Castello La Leccia made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyards are at 350 to 500 meters, soil is clay, silt sand, schistous clay and alberese. There are 4,500/ 5,200 vines per hectare and the vines are 9 to 15 years old. There is a south/southwest exposure and the training system is guyot. Harvest is manual in September/October and there is a selection in the vineyard. Destemmed grapes are gently crushed and transferred to steel thanks which are temperature controlled. There is a pre-fermentation cryomaceration for 24 hours followed by the alcoholic fermentation with short and frequent pumping over. Maceration lasts for 10 to 12 days. After racking, malolactic fermentation and maturation takes place in concrete tanks. The wine remains for 12 months in French and Austrian oak barrels of 2,000 to 2,500 liters. The wine has hints of red fruit, cherry, and violets.

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Elena Ercole – Export Manager

Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. 2019 Castello Di Radda made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% other grapes. The vineyards are at 400 meters with a southeast and southwest exposure. The soil has a clay and limestone structure with a good presence of silica skeleton. Harvest is by hand and then sorted in the cellar. Fermentation is in stainless steel thermo-conditioned 50hl and 100hl vats, followed by maceration on the skins for two to three weeks. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in both stainless steel and wood. Part of the wine is aged in tonneaux and part in 20hl Slavonian oak barrels. The wine then remains in the bottle for at least 6 months before release. The wine has hints of violet, ripe plum, cherries and blackberries.

IMG_6901Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2018 made from 100% Sangiovese. The production area is Bibbiano and Castellina in Chianti from all the vineyards of the estate (25 hectares) from both the southwest and northeast slopes. The soil is calcareous-clay mixed with (limestone based) alberese rock. This wine represents the territorial characteristics of the estate since it is produced from Sangiovese grapes grown on both sides of the estate with the addition of a small amount of Colorino. Havesting of the Sangiovese began on September 20th and Colorino a few days later. The vinification takes place in cement vats and fermentation on the skins lasts for 18 days. There is a further stage of maturation while the wine is still in the cement vats, followed by a 3 months refining period in the bottle. This is a very well balanced wine with fruity hints of cherry and prune and a touch of violets. 

IMG_6886 2Chianti Classico 2016 Grand Seclezione Volpaia Made from 95% Sangiovese and 5%  Mammal vines planted 1972-2004. Light soil consisting of sandstone except for the Castellino and Santa Maria vineyards, which have clay and Montanino which is sandstone and clay. Vineyards are on slopes 397 /570 meters and the exposure is southern. There are 2,564 to 5,683 wines/hectares and the training system is guyot. The wine is aged in barriques of French oak of first and second passage  for 18 months  and in bottle for 12 months before release. The wine has hints of red berries, cherry, mint, a touch of licorice and a note of vanilla.

IMG_6891 2Monsanto Chianti Classico “Il Poggio” 2016 made from 95% Sangiovese and 3% Colorino and 2% Canaiolo. The training system is guyot and spurred cordon. The soil is sandstone content with limestone. There are 5,500 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred cordon. Fermentation lasts for 15 days with prefermentation maceration lasting 3 days in temperature controlled truncated-cone vats with indigenous yeasts.  Delestage and pumping over lasts for 22 days. The wine is aged in 38 HL French oak barrels for 18 months. The wine has hints of black cherry, cassis, coffee, tobacco and a note of violets. 

 I have a long history with Monsanto going back almost 40 years and the wonderful 1977 vintage.

IMG_6896Chianti Classico Badia a Colibuono 2011 90% Sangiovese 10% Colorino and 5% Ciliegiolo. The vineyards are at 250/330 meters and the soil in clay loam and limestone rock. The training system is guyot and the wines are 6 to 30 years old. There are 5,000 to 7,300 vines per hectare. Indigenous yeast from grapes with a starter. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. There is a light gelatin fining and a membrane filtration. The wine is aged in 2,000 to 2,500 liter French and Austrian oak casks for about 12 months. Then aged in bottle for about 3 months before release. The winery has been organic since 1995. The wine has hints strawberry and raspberry with good acidity, a note of violet and a touch of sunshine on the Tuscan pines. I have been drinking this Chianti Classico since the 1978 vintage.

IMG_6892 2Principe Corsini Villa Le Corti Don Tommaso  2016 Gran Selezione. Made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. The vineyard is at 270 to 350 meters and the soil is loamy stone content with limestone. Fermentation is in open, frustum cone-shaped stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature for 14 days and after 24 hours at 20C the grapes are inoculated with selected indigenous yeast. Skin contact is for 10 days and punch down and delestage is in stainless steel. The wine ages for 16 months mainly in tonneaux of 500 to 700 liters. The wine has hints of black cherry, cassis, coffee, tobacco and a note of vanilla.

IMG_6902Banfi Tuscany Chianti Classico Riserva 2017 made from Sangiovese Canaiolo Nero and Cabernet Sauvignon. The soil is calcareous and well structured. The alcoholic fermentation takes place with a medium period of maceration. Aging for two years of which a minimum of 12 months is in Slavonian oak barrels. The wine is then aged in bottle for at least 6 months before release. This wine has hints of cherries, plums and iris with a note of leather.

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Filed under Badia a Coltibuono, Banfi, Bibbiano, Castello Radda, Cecchi, Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Gran Selectione, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Monsanto, Uncategorized, Volpaia

Understanding Gran Selezione Chianti Classico UGA

The Chianti Classico Consortium returned to NYC with a tasting of Chianti Classico wines from 60 producers. Over 300 wine professionals and media attended.IMG_7062

The event also celebrated the recent introduction of the UGA (Additional Geographic Units) classification system, which differentiate and highlight the differences in climate and soil type of 11 villages of the region. The walk around tasting was arranged to group the wineries of each UGA in order, and it also featured a large wine bar where attendees could taste 65 Chianti Classico wines from the 11 UGAs.

The event also featured two educational seminars, one for the media and one for the trade. The media seminar was accompanied by a tasting of 11 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione wines, representing the 11 UGA villages.

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 “No Wine is an Island” was the title of the seminar, hosted by the renowned Italian Cartographer, Alessandro Masnaghetti. He explained how the project developed and how the UGAs reflect defined expressions of the Chianti Classico territory.

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 The other speaker was Giovanni Manetti, President of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico and owner of Fontodi.

The new classification system, approved in June 2021, as for now applies only to the Gran Selezione (GS) category, which are the only ones allowed to add the specific UGA mention on the label. The 11 villages were identified based on specific criteria such as oenological recognizability, historical authenticity, renown, and significance in terms of volumes produced: San Casciano, Greve, Montefioralle, Lamole, Panzano, Radda, Gaiole, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Vagliagli, Castellina, San Donato in Poggio. 

We were given 11 sheets detailing each wine. This is one of them:

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The wines

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Castello Di Querceto, Greve, made from 100% Sangiovese

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I Fabbri, Lamole, made from 100% Sangiovese

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Le Cinciole, Panzano, made from 100% Sangiovese

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Castello di Volpaia, Radda, Made from 95% Sangiovese and 5% Mammolo

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Rocca di Montegrossi Gaiole made from 92% Sangiovese and  8% Pugnitello

Alessandro Masnaghetti said, “The introduction of the additional geographical units (UGA) that divide the Chianti Classico territory into more specific areas represents an epochal turning point for the denomination. A change of perspective that leads producers and their wines to be no longer single actors, but expressions of a territory in relation to each other. A decision destined to leave its mark. “

He said several of these UGAs, such as Greve, Radda and Gaiole are communes in this part of Tuscany, while others are municipalities or frazioni (akin to suburbs or neighborhoods) of communes; for example, Lamole, Montefioralle and Panzano are all part of the commune of Greve. These new changes now allow producers to list the UGA on the front label, under the words Chianti Classico; previously a producer located in Panzano, Castelnuovo Berardenga or any of these 11 units could only list that name on their back label (as part of the winery’s address), as the wine had to be identified merely as Chianti Classico.

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Felsina, Castelnuovo Berardenga, made from 100% Sangiovese

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Dievole, Vagliagli, made from 100% Sangiovese

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Castello di Monsanto, San Donato in Poggio, made from 95% Sangiovese, 3% Colorino and 2% Canaiolo


IMG_6890Castello di Fonterutoli
, Castellina, made from 92% Sangiovese, and 8% Malvasia Nera and Colorino

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Principe Corsini-Villa Le Corti, San Casciano made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot

IMG_6893Conti-Capponi-Villa Calcinaia, Montefioralle made from 100% Sangiovese

Giovanni Manetti said, “The phrase, ‘the territory makes the difference,’ has always been one of our favorite mottos.” He continued, “Chianti Classico is a truly unique territory, which is covered two third by woodland and only one-tenth is devoted to wine growing, with more than 50% dedicated to organic farming (52.5% of the area under vine).  As I have often said in my three years as President, wine reflects the territory like a negative photographic image, and this is why it is so important to preserve its environmental context and landscape and be able to communicate this to the consumer in all its various facets, also through the label.”

To clarify, Masnaghetti said that wines with UGA names will be limited to Gran Selezione, one of the three types of Chianti Classico: the other two being annata (vintage) and riserva. Any Gran Selezione that will include a UGA on the label must contain a minimum of 90 percent Sangiovese (currently, that minimum is 80 percent); international varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot will not be permitted in these Gran Selezione wines, as only indigenous varieties including CanaioloColorino and Mammolo will be allowed as a maximum of 10 percent of the blend.

Monetti said the elimination of international varieties was a relatively easy decision. “If you want to exalt the specifics of every territory, if you use the same variety, or a higher amount of Sangiovese without international varieties, I think it will be much better to compare Gran Selezione wines coming from different territories.”

This was one of the most informative and interesting seminars I have ever attended. These changes will enhance the understanding of Chianti Classico wines and the terroir from which it is derived. In addition, I applaud the elimination of international grape varieties in Gran Selezione Chianti Classico and the exclusive use of indigenous grapes.

 

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The Red Wines of Tuscany

My recent trip to Tuscany reminded me of how many fine red wines are produced in that region.  Here are just a few that I have enjoyed both in Tuscany and at home.

IMG_6543Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018 Riserva made from 100% Sangiovese Tenuta Di Nozzole. The estate is located in the village of Greve in the heart of the Chianti Classico region. The vineyard is at  300 meters. Harvest begins on the 10th of September. The grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed and crushed.  Fermentation takes place with the skins in temperature controlled steel tanks and the maceration lasts for 15/20 days. The wine is racked into stainless steel tanks for malolactic fermentation. Aging is for 16 months in large Slavonian oak vats with a minimum of 3 months in bottle before release. This is a classic, traditional wine with hints of red berries, cherry, raspberry, violets and a touch of cedar. I have been enjoying the wines of the Folonari family for many years.

IMG_6542Insoglio del Cinghiale Toscana IGT 2019 made from 33% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and  6% Petit Verdot. The wine is made by Tenuta Biserno but the majority of the vineyards are in a different location called Campo Sasso (Upper Maremma) just further down the hill from Tenuta di Biserno. The soil is mostly sand with a small amount of clay. 40% of the wine is aged in second passage French oak barrels. The oenologist are Michel Rolland and Helena Lindberg. The wine has hints of blackberries, strawberries, with peppery notes and a touch of vanilla.

IMG_6544Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015 made from 100% Sangiovese. Silvio Nardi. This Brunello is a blend of the finest grapes from the Manachiara and Castel del Bosco estates with a northwest and southeast exposure at 350 meters. The soil is a composition of jasper and shale. The grapes are hand picked and sorted and only 70% of the grapes are used to make the wine.  Fermentation and maceration takes at least 24 hours, depending on the parcel, at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged for 12 months in new and used Allier French oak barriques and then for 18 months in large Slavonian oak barrels. Then it remains in the bottle for 12 months before release. This is a full bodied wine with hints of red berries, leather, tobacco and a touch of spice.

IMG_5067Chianti Classico 2019 Lilliano made from 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  After the quality-selected clusters are destemmed and pressed, the must is fermented and macerated in stainless steel for 18-20 days at a controlled temperature with programmed punch-downs and daily pumpovers. Maceration fermentation takes place in concrete and small stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature for 18-20 days depending on the vintage. The wine ages for about 12 to 14 months in large casks of French oak and partly in concrete. After maturation, the final blend is assembled, bottled and aged in glass for a minimum of 3 months. This is a wine with hints of red fruit, cherry, violets and a touch of cassis.

A0A7F85F-6BC8-496B-9537-050A996113D5_1_105_cChianti Classico Gran Selezione D.O.C.G.”Vigna di Corno”  Castello di Radda 2015 made from 100% Sangiovese. The grapes come from the single vineyard Il Corno (the vineyard) at 400 meters. The age of the vineyard is about 20 years. The soil is a clayey-calcareous type rich in texture. Harvesting  is done by hand in 20kg boxes by selecting the grapes first in the vineyard and then on a sorting table at the winery. Harvest is in the  beginning of October. The grapes are crushed and destemmed before fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks of 50hl.  Maceration is for 4 weeks or so depending on the ripeness of the grapes. Malolactic is in 5hl new tonneaux and the wine spends about 5 months on the lees. Aging continues in the same tonneaux for another 20 months, then in bottle for at least 12 months before release. The wine has hints of blackberries, spice, cassis, with a touch of cedar and a note of violets.

IMG_5898Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2015 Cecchi made mostly from  Sangiovese. The vineyard is at 350 meters and the soil is of medium consistency, calcareous Pliocene. Guyot training system. Traditional temperature controlled red wine vinification with the skins and fermentation and maceration lasts for 15 days. The wine is aged in small oak barrels for 24 months and remains for 3 months in bottle before release. This is a full bodied wine with hints of cherry, blackberry, violets and a note of leather and a touch of prune.

IMG_6035Carmignano 2017 Capezzana by Contini Bonaccossi Villa di Capezzana. Made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The elevation is 180/220 meters and the soil is clay, limestone, schist and marl. The age of the vines is 20/40 years and the training system is guyot cordon spur. There are 4,500 vines per hectare and they use organic farming practices. Fermentation is with native indigenous yeast. There is a 13 day extended maceration period. Malolactic fermentation takes place in French tonneaux. Aging: 60% in 2nd and 3rd or 4th passage French oak tonneaux, 10% in new French oak tonneaux and 30% in 5/30 year old untoasted Allier or Slavonian 24 HL barrels for 12 months. The wine is aged for another 12 months in bottle before release. This is an elegant wine with hints of red berries with a note of blueberries and a touch of violets. I have a long history with this estate going back 40 years. This is a wine that can age. In 1985 I had the 1925 which at the time was labeled Chianti Montalbano.

IMG_1428Bruno di Rocca IGT Colli Toscana Centrale 2015 Montefili 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). 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.

IMG_5481 copyChianti Colli Senesi 2017 “San Nicola”  Az Agricola Campochiarenti, San Gimignano, Tuscany, made from 85% Savgiovese and 15% Canaiolo, Colorino, Foglia Tonda and Mammolo. The exposure is south, southwest along a hill at 180/230 meters. The soil is composed of silt and sand with a little clay. Harvest is by hand. Fermentation is in glazed cement basins of 90hl at a controlled temperature with pumping over and delestage. Maceration lasts for 12/15 days in order to obtain the highest extraction of color from the skins. The wine is naturally clarified, without adding any chemical products. Aging is in 20hl oak barrels for at least 9 months. The wine is bottled and stored in the cellar until release. The wine has hints of red berries, spice, tobacco and a touch of jam with a long finish and a very pleasing aftertaste. This wine will age.

IMG_5873Chianti Montalbano 2019 Artimino 1596 made from Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Colorino. The vineyards are at 110 meters and the soil is silt and sand with a good percentage of clay. Guyot is the training system for the older vineyards and the rest cordon spur. The gapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks at a temperature of 22°C for 16 /18 days with a daily skin maceration process and frequent pumping of the must over the skins. After the first fermentation, the wine matures in stainless steel tanks for at least 6 months, 2 of which are on the lees. The wine is then refined in bottles for 3 months. The wine has hints of red berries and violets. 

IMG_5872Chianti Colli Fiorentino Darno Tenuta San Vito made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo. Harvest takes place in October. Traditional red wine vinification with 10 to 15 day maceration on the skins with daily pumperovers for several days followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in glass lined tanks and stainless steel followed by some bottle aging. The wine has hints of red berries, cherries and violets.

IMG_1378 2Castello di Mugazzena “Gargatura” IGT Toscana 2017 made from 100% Syrah. The soil is clayey sandy terraced alluvial deposits. Training system is unilateral spurred cordon. Manual harvest. Grapes are destemmed and sorted. The grapes are pressed and then pumped into conditioned steel tanks where the juice ferments at a controlled temperature. There is pumping over, punching down and delestages. At the end of the alcoholic fermentation the wine is left to mature in contact with the skins between 10 and 30 days. The wine is separated from the vinaccia and it is pressed. Malolactic fermentation is complete two weeks after. The coarse lees are removed and the wine is pumped into French oak barrels, where it ages from 12 to 18 months. The wine has hints of blueberries, black cherry and a note of black pepper.

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Filed under Brunello, Chianti, Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Gran Selectione, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Nozzole CCR, Tenuta di Lilliano, Tenute Silvio Nardi, Tuscany

Red Wine and Bistecca in Florence

Last month when I was in Florence, Riccardo Gabriele of Pr-vino, a wine public relations firm, invited me to a tasting of the White and Red wines of the producers he represents. The tasting was held at da Burde, a traditional Tuscan trattoria, about a 20 minute drive from the center.

IMG_6057 2After the wine tasting, we enjoyed a lunch of many of the classic dishes of the region.  One of the courses was Bistecca alla Fiorentina from Chianina cattle, and the following red wines were a perfect combination with the steak.

IMG_6040Chianti Classico 2019 Castello La Leccia made from 100% Sangiovese. The vineyards are at 350 to 500 meters, soil is clay, silt sand, schistous  clay and alberese. There are 4,500/ 5,200 vines per hectare and the vines are 9 to 15 years old. There is a south/southwest exposure and the training system is guyot. Harvest is manual in September/October and there is a selection in the vineyard. Destemmed grapes are gently crushed and transferred to steel thanks which are temperature controlled. There is a pre-fermentation cryomaceration for 24 hours followed by the alcoholic fermentation with short and frequent pumping over. Maceration lasts for 10 to 12 days. After racking, malolactic fermentation and maturation is in concrete tanks. The wine remains for 12 months in French and Austrian oak barrels of 2,000 to 2,500 liters. The wine has hints of red fruit, cherry, and violets. 

IMG_6041Chianti Classico 2015 DOCG Quercia Al Poggio Made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Ciliegiolo, Canaiolo and Colorino, all indigenous Tuscan grapes which are certified organic. The soil is limestone, clay, schist and calcareous clay galestro. The vines are Cordon trained and spur-pruned guyot. Harvest is manual. Traditional red winemaking in temperature controlled stainless steel and cement. The wine is aged in 500 liter old French oak barrels for 24 months and 6 months in bottle before release.  The winery is located in Barberino Val d’Elsa which is between Florence and Siena. They use organic farming methods. This is a very traditional, easy drinking Chianti with hints of blackberry, blueberries and violets.

IMG_6038Chianti Classico 2019 DOCG “L’Aura” Querceto di Castellina made from 100% Sangiovese. Harvest is by hand and the winery is certified organic. The wine spends 12 months in 500 liter French oak barrels and three months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of ripe red fruit, cherries, rasperries, herbal notes and a touch of bayleaf.

IMG_6035Carmignano 2017 Capezzana by Contini Bonaccossi Villa di Capezzana. Made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The elevation is 180/220 meters and the soil is clay, limestone, schist and marl. The age of the wines is 20/40 years and the training system is guyot cordon spur. There are 4,500 vines per hectare and they use organic farming practices. Fermentation is with native indigenous yeast. There is a 13 day extended maceration period. Malolactic fermentation takes place in French tonneaux. Aging: 60% in 2nd and 3rd or 4th passage French oak tonneaux, 10% in new French oak tonneaux and 30% in 5/30 year old untoasted Allier or Slavonian 24 HL barrels for 12 months. The wine is aged for another 12 months in bottle before release. This is an elegant wine with hints of red berries with a note of blueberries and a touch of violets. I have a long history with this estate going back 40 years. This is a wine that can age. In 1985 I had the 1925 which at the time was labeled Chianti Montalbano.

IMG_6044Taurasi 2016 DOCG Villa Matilde made from 100% Aglianico. The vineyard is at 350 meters and the training system is simple guyot with about 6 buds per plant. There are 3,000 vines per hectare and the soil is tufaceous with a good percentage of clay. Harvest is the third week of October. The grape bunches are destemmed  and pressed and the must is given a cold maceration on the skins. (Selected yeast is used). The must ferments slowly at 70F. The wine macerates on the skins for over 20 days, with daily pumpovers and délestages followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged tonneau and large oak barrels for 18 months and 12 months in bottle before release. This is a fully bodied wine with hints of cherries, blackberries, spice and a hit of tobacco. I have been lucky to have visited the estate a few times.

IMG_6031Neroossidiana Terre Siciliane Rosso 2017 IGT Tenuta di Castelaro Production area the Lipari Islands (Aeolian Islands) made from 90% Corinto Nero  and 10% Nero d’Avola. The soil is sandy, volcanic, deep and rich in micro-elements and the vineyard is at 350 meters. The training system is alberello (free standing little plants).  There are 7,000 plants per hectare. Selected bunches are hand picked. The destemmed grapes are fermented by the natural yeast on the grape skins. There is a long maturation with the skins.  The wine is decanted to barrels where malolactic fermentation takes place. After about one year the wine goes into steel tanks. Only static decanting takes place before bottling. The wine remains in the bottle for at least 6 months before release. This wine will age for at least 10 years. This is a wine with hints of  red fruit, cherry, spice, a touch of musk and an undertone of salty minerality which makes it unique.

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Costa Tuscana Riserva IGT La Regola made from 100% Cabernet Franc. Red Mediterranean soil with an abundance of stones. The vineyards are at 150 to 200 meters. Hand harvesting of grapes with a careful selection. There is a medium maceration and alcoholic fermentation is in natural concrete vats at a controlled temperature. After malolactic fermentation the wine spends 18 months in new French barriques made in Burgundy and at least 12 months in bottle before release. This is a fruit forward wine characteristic of Cabernet Franc with a hint of spice and vanilla.

IMG_6042Beconcini “IXE  The name is the Tuscan pronunciation for the letter X. The letter X stands for unknown vines. In the early 1950’s, 213 vines of unknown species were found in the vineyard which were called X vines. With help from the Ministry of Agriculture these vines were declared to be Tempranillo a few years ago. In June of 2009, Tempranillo was enrolled in the Tuscan register. As far as I know Tempranillo was never cultivated before in Italy.

The IGT is Tuscany Tempranillo. This wine is made from 99.9% of Tempranillo and a touch of Sangiovese. The winery is located in the town of San Miniato. The vineyard is 3.5 hectares and the grapes are all from the new vineyards planted in 1997 using a massal selection from buds taken from the century old vines of Tempranillo from the Vigna alle Nicchie. The training is spurred cordon. Soil is sandstone with marine fossil formation, well integrated with abundant clay. 100/150 meters above sea level and there are 7,000 vines per hectare. Harvest the first 10 days of September. The grapes are dried for 4 weeks and they obtain a total yield of 70%. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled glass lined cement vats, maceration is for 3 weeks. Aging lasts for 14 months in 70% French barriques and 30% American oak barriques of second passage. 6 months in bottle before release. First passage in barriques is for the wine from the grapes of the historical vineyard Vigna alle Nicchie that goes into the wine of the same name. This is a medium bodied wine with fresh red fruit aromas and hints of plum, spice and licorice. I served the wine blind to a wine knowledgable friend and  after a few sips he said Tempranillo!!

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Filed under Capezzana, Chianti Classico, Riccardo Gabriele, Sicily, Taurasi, Tuscany, Uncategorized, Villa Matilde

Perfect Combination: Pizza and Wine

I can’t imagine eating a pizza without accompanying it with a good bottle of Italian wine. Until the Covid virus came along, I was a member of a group that met once a month to drink Italian wine and eat pizza. Our conversations would focus on the best pizza and wine combinations, which wines were complemented by which pizzas, the latest wine vintages, and the latest doings at some of our favorite pizzerias.

I hope one day soon we will be able to resume our regular meetings, but even without my pizza and wine lovers group, I continue to indulge my passion for pizza and wine. I frequent a number of pizza restaurants, including Keste Pizza and Vino, Ribalta, and Norma Gastronomia Siciliana in Manhattan, and Sottocasa in Brooklyn. Not only do they make great pizza, but each has a list of wines I enjoy exploring.

Here are some of the wine and pizza matches I have enjoyed recently.

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Sauvignon Blanc Friuli DOC 2019 Pighin (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Because of the sandy subsoil, the roots of the vines go down deep resulting in richer fruit. Training system is single guyot with 4,000 vines per hectare. These hand picked selected grapes of optimum ripeness are  gently pressed in a pneumatic press immediately after the harvest. This is followed by a 14 to 18 day cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The wine is produced without malolactic fermentation or oak aging so it is a true expression of the Sauvignon Blanc grape. This is a dry wine that has hints of citrus, sage, tomato leaf and yellow bell  pepper.

IMG_5446 Pizza Zucchini  – Topped with walnut cream, zucchini, smoked provolone and extra virgin olive oil.  The fresh citrus, sage and vegetable flavors of the wine complemented the nutty, smoky and cheesy topping.

IMG_5792Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018 made from 100% Sangiovese Tenuta Di Nozzole (Tuscany). The vineyards are at 300 meters. The yields are kept low to obtain concentration and complexity in the wine. The grapes are hand harvested, destemmed and crushed. Fermentation takes place on the skins  in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and maceration lasts 15 to 20 days. The wine is racked into stainless steel tanks for malolactic fermentation. It is then aged for 24 months in large Slavonian oak vats followed by a minimum of 3 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of red fruit, cherries, a touch of violets and a note of what my wife calls “sunshine on the Tuscan pines.” This is a traditional, classic Chianti  from the Folonari family.

IMG_5444 3Pizza Margherita — the simplest and the best pizza in my opinion is a pizza Margherita, topped with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil and a final drizzle of olive oil.  The quality of its Margherita is the true test of any pizzeria.  The fragrance and richness of the fruit and the warmth of this traditional wine makes it a perfect combination with Pizza Margherita.  

IMG_5794Barbera Nizza “Cipressi” DOCG 2018 Made from 100% Barbera, Michele Chiarlo (Piedmont). The grapes are grown in a type of soil called “astiane sand.” It consists of  calcareous clay marl of sedimentary marine origin, with a good presence of lime and sand, rich in micro elements, in particular magnesium. The exposure is southeast to southwest at 230 to 280 meters. The training system is guyot and low spurred cordon. There are 5,000 vines per hectare and the harvest is manual. Vinification is in steel tanks with 10/12 days maceration with the skins with a soft “shower” system of wetting the cap. Malolactic fermentation is in steel. The wine is aged for a minimum of 18 months of which 12 are in large oak casks. The wine has hints of mature cherry, violets, blackberries, raspberries and a touch of sweet spice with good acidity which makes it a very good wine with food.

IMG_5373 2Pizza  with Sausage, Mozzarella, Onion and Peppers — Barbera is my first choice for this pizza because the hearty combination of toppings are enhanced by the wine’s fruit flavor and good acidity.  

 

IMG_5789Pinot Nero Rosé Umbria IGT 2020 Made from 100% Pinot Nero Tenuta Di Salviano. Made from a single vineyard located on the right bank of Lake Corbara in Umbria at 1,640 ft. The soil is calcareous-clayey. The farming is organic. The manual harvest starts in late August and only select bunches are chosen. Destemming does not take place so the grapes are pressed quickly. Fermentation is in steel tanks at a low temperature and then the wine spends 6 months on the lees. This is a fresh, fragrant, delicate and fruity wine with hints of red fruit, strawberry, cherry, a touch of citrus and good acidity.  The estate is owned by the Incisa della Rocchetta Family, producers of Sassicaia.

IMG_5569Foccacia — Topped with rosemary, coarse salt and extra virgin olive oil, a focaccia, while not exactly a pizza, is a close relation. With it’s simple clear flavors, I like to serve it with this delicate, fruity rose’, and perhaps some cold cuts as a starter or a snack.  

IMG_5795Reggiano Lambrusco NV “Concerto”  2019 Medici Ermette (Produced at Tenuta La Rampata in  Modena) Red wine, dry and lightly sparkling and fermented naturally. Made from 100% Lambrusco di Sorbara.  The training system is cordon speronato and the soil is clayey. The wine is certified organic. It has hints of red fruit, strawberry, raspberry and cherry.  The wine is dry and fruity with a clean finish and pleasing aftertaste. Concerto is the world’s first single vineyard vintage Lambrusco.  It is served lightly chilled.

IMG_5442Summer Pizza–Mozzarella, prosciutto, whole grape tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil, top this light and fresh pie and make a perfect combination with the lively, cool flavors of the Lambrusco.  The slightly salty flavor of prosciutto di Parma enhances the combination.

I hope you will enjoy these pizza and wine combinations. 

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Filed under Barbera d'Asti, Chianti Classico, Cipressi Nizza, Lambrusco, Nozzole CCR, Pighin, Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Salviano PR Rose, Sauvignon Blanc

A Long Weekend with Ernie

Our apartment is being painted and our friend Ernie said we could spend the week at his home. It is always a pleasure to visit Ernie because the conversation, food and wine are always the best.

Below is just some of the wines and food that we enjoyed.

Antipasto

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Tomatos, Mozzarella and Basil — a classic Caprese Salad

IMG_5629 3Mortadella,  Mozzarella and Tomatoes — The cherry tomatoes were imported from our garden in Manhattan.

IMG_5633Arancini — Sicilian style rice balls from Palazzone 1960 in Wayne, New Jersey.  This pastry shop makes some of the best pastries I have had outside of Sicily. 

IMG_5656 3Prosciutto and melon

Side dishes

IMG_5659 2Asparagus with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

IMG_5619 2Roasted Sweet Peppers

 The wine 

IMG_5661 2Chianti Classico Riserva Villa Antinori Riserva 1980 L&P Antinori the wine is mostly Sangiovese with some Cannaiolo and a very small amount of Trebbiano. Some of the wine was aged in 225 liter barrels. The wine has hints of sour cherries, leather, herbs and a note of violets. It had a low shoulder but was still drinking very well.

IMG_5625 2Barbera D’Asti “Scarpa” 2010 Antica Vinicola Casa Scarpa made from 100% Barbera from Monferrato. The vineyard is at 400 meters and the soil is clay. The vines were planted in 2000 and the training system is guyot. Harvest is by hand. Fermentation and aging for 12 to 18 months in stainless steel tanks and at least 6 months in bottle before release. This is a traditional Barbera with hints of red fruit, cranberry, cherry and good acidity which makes it an excellent wine with food.

Pasta

IMG_5620Ravioli stuffed with Four Cheeses from Eataly.

IMG_5622 2With Buffalo ricotta on top

IMG_5630Fettuccine with Fresh Tomatoes and RicottaIMG_5631On the plate

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Barbera D’Asti “Ca’ Di Pian” 2004 Spinetta made from 100% Barbera from Castagnole delle Lanze, Costigliole d’Asti and Montegrosso d’Asti. The exposure is southern and the vines are 24 years old at 300 meters. The soil is calcareous marl. Maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature controlled vats for an average of 10 days. Malolactic fermentation is done in used French oak barrels, followed by 12 months of aging and then about 3 months in bottle before release. This a balanced wine wine with hints of blueberries and peach.

IMG_5665 2Pasta Amatriciana  — my favorite, with guanciale, tomatoes and pecorino

Dessert

IMG_5617 2 Figs — New Jersey grown by a friend.

IMG_5623 copyDeb’s Homemade Chocolate Cake and Ice cream — One of the best chocolate cakes I have had in years.

 

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Filed under Antinori, Barbera, Barbera d'Asti, Chianti Classico, Scarpa, Spinetta

Celebrating My Birthday

Michele and I had plans for my birthday but things do not always work out as planned. We have been trying to have our apartment painted for months and a few days before my birthday the painter said he was ready to begin. We needed to find some place to stay.

So off we went to spend a week in NJ with our friend Ernie. We had invited Ernie to go out with us for my birthday but he said no. Instead, his son Jason and his wife Deb invited us to their home for my birthday dinner and I was very happy that they did.

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We started with Roses de Jeanne Champagne “Côte de Béchalin”–100% Pinot Noir from the 1.5-hectare lieu-dit of Val Vilaine. The production is very limited. Cedric Bouchard. This is a single-vineyard, single varietal, and single-vintage, zero dosage Champagne, organic farming, low yields and harvesting at the right moment. Only free run juice is used and fermentation is in stainless steel with indigenous yeast. There is no filtering, fining or cold stabilization. The wines are bottled with no dosage under less pressure. This is full-bodied Champagne with hints of fruit, spice, lively acidity, a touch of pear and ginger, a note of dried flowers and a long and lingering finish.

All the food was prepared by Jason and Debbie

IMG_5637Roasted Peppers Salad

IMG_5638Eggplant Mousse

IMG_5640Two different breads.  The seeded bread is made by Jason

IMG_5641Fiorano Bianco 1996 Boncompagni Ludovisi Principe di Venosa made from 100% Malvasia Candia.  The Prince’s few acres of vines are planted along the Appian Way about 20 kilometers southwest of the center of Rome and very close to Roman’s second airport, Ciampino. This is the first time I had the 1996 and it was the last vintage the Prince produced before he died a few years later. There is a slight touch of oxidation with aromas of melon, honey and  wax.  It has  slight mineral notes with lots of flesh, good acidity and a medium long finish.

IMG_5644 2Pasta with locally grown cherry tomatoes, garlic scapes and Parmigiano Reggiano.

IMG_5646Grilled marinated organic chicken breasts

IMG_5649Mixed Salad with fennel, oranges, pine nuts and radishes

IMG_5650The plate

IMG_5645Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 1997 “Berardenga”Felsina made from 100% Sangiovese located in Castelnuovo Berardenga with mostly southern exposure between 320 and 420 meters (the soil here is rock quartz and calcareous alberese mixed with alluvial pebbles). The vineyards are on different slopes. There are about 5,400 vines per hectare. The training system is bilateral cordon and simple guyot with a maximum of 5 to 8 buds per vine. Harvest is staged due to different altitudes of the vineyards the first three weeks of October. The clusters are de-stemmed and pressed and the must is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Programmed punch downs and daily pumpovers take place. In March/April the wine goes into medium sized Slavonian oak barrels and French barriques of second and third passage. After 12/16 months of aging the final blend is assembled. The wine remains is glass for 2 to 6 months. The wine has notes of red and black berries with a touch of spice and mineral tones. It was drinking very nicely. I had this wine two weeks ago and it was just a wonderful then as it was now.

TIMG_5653Chocolate Layer Cake — Deb is a fantastic baker.

IMG_5655Cake with ice cream.  Moist and chocolatey, the cake brought back many fond memories of the cakes I enjoyed from the great Ebinger’s Bakery when I was growing up in Brooklyn.

This was a birthday to remember, thanks to good friends.

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Filed under Champagne, Chianti Classico, Felsina. Berardenga, Fiorano Bianco, Roses de Jeanne

Castello di Radda: Chianti Classico at its Best

I first met Annalisa Chiavazza when she was working for a wine PR firm based in Alba. She was the guide for a number of press trips I went on sponsored by the PR firm and we became friends.  Now Annalisa is the marketing and communications manager for Agricole Gussalli Beretta Group. Recently, Annalisa sent me some samples from Castello Radda, one of the members of the group whose wines I know and like.  

 

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 In fact I have a few bottles from the 2013 vintage.

The Castello di Radda winery is located just north of the city of Siena in the town of Radda in Chianti and is part of Agricola Gussalli Beretta Group. The winery was acquired by the Beretta family in 2003 and comprises 40 hectares located in Radda in Chianti and Gaiole in Chianti. Both in Rhadda and Gaiole the soil is well drained and moderately deep with low water retention which subjects the vines to constant stress which makes for better grapes.

They separately vinify the grapes of every vineyard and when possible, every parcel. This separation is maintained until bottling for the varietal wines, or until the moment of assemblage for the blended wines. 

The wines are racked in stainless steel tanks that are specified to contain the exact amount of fermented wine they will contain; this prevents the need to top up barrels with wines from other parcels, so the wine is not mixed.

In 2020 Castello Radda became a 100% organic winery. They also changed their label starting with the  2020 vintage.

These are the wines sent to me by Annalisa:

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Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. 2018 Castello Di Radda made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% other grapes. The vineyards are at 400 meters with a southeast and southwest exposure. The soil has a clay and limestone structure with a good presence of silica skeleton. Harvest is by hand and then sorted in the cellar. Fermentation is in stainless steel thermo-conditioned 50hl and 100hl vats, followed by maceration on the skins for two to three weeks. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in both stainless steel and wood. Part of the wine is aged in tonneaux and part in 20hl Slavonian oak barrels. The wine then remains in the bottle for at least 6 months before release. The wine has hints of violet, ripe plum, cherries and blackberries.

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Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. Castello di Radda Riserva 2016 made from 100% Sangiovese from the oldest estate vineyards with south, southwest exposure at 400 meters. The limestone clay soils are more or less loose depending on the vineyard. The clusters are picked by hand and there is a quality selection on the sorting tables in the cellar. Initial fermentation takes place in 50hl stainless steel tanks and the wine remains on the skins for 3 weeks to one month depending on the ripeness of the grapes. Malolactic fermentation: 20% in oak and the remainder in 30hl stainless steel tanks. Maturation: 20% in new French oak tonneaux, 80% in once used tonneaux and 20 hl Slavonian ovals for about 20 months. The wine ages for a minimum of 9 months before release. The wine has hints of wild berries, blackberries, spices, brushwood and herbs.

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Chianti Classico Gran Selezione D.O.C.G.”Vigna di Corno”  Castello di Radda 2015 made from 100% Sangiovese. The grapes come from the single vineyard Il Corno (the vineyard) at 400 meters. The age of the vineyard is about 20 years. The soil is a clayey-calcareous type rich in texture. Harvesting  is done by hand in 20kg boxes by selecting the grapes first in the vineyard and then on a sorting table at the winery. Harvest is in the  beginning of October. The grapes are crushed and destemmed before fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks of 50hl.  Maceration is for 4 weeks or so depending on the ripeness of the grapes. Malolactic is in 5hl new tonneaux and the wine spends about 5 months on the lees. Aging continues in the same tonneaux for another 20 months, then in bottle for at least 12 months before release. The wine has hints of blackberries, spice, cassis, with a touch of cedar and a note of violets. This is a very impressive wine.

I really liked the wines and hope to visit the winery soon where I will be able to taste all of the wines of Castello di Radda.

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Filed under Castello Radda, Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Gran Selectione, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Norma “Hell’s Kitchen”

A second location of Norma Gastronomia Siciliana, one of my favorite restaurants, recently opened on Ninth Avenue in the neighborhood known as Hell’s Kitchen, near the Theater District.  Since Michele and I live on the east side and the original Norma restaurant is in walking distance from our apartment, we tend to go there. But Salvatore Fraterrigo, known as Toto‘, who is the chef and owner, urged us to come to the new location.  Last week we went for lunch and were very happy that we did.   

IMG_5326We were meeting a friend and arrived early so we had cocktails.  Norma in Hell’s Kitchen has a full bar and is larger than the original Norma.

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Michele had an Aperol Spritz, made with prosecco, Aperol, soda, and a slice of orange while I had a Campari and soda with orange.

The three of us shared an assortment of different dishes.

3A9D917F-A4B1-416F-B386-ADF512DF5C43_1_105_cCaponata con crostini – a sweet and savory combination of eggplant, celery, green olives, capers, onions, and tomato, served with seasoned bread crostini.  With our starters, we drank:

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Monleale 2001 Vigneti Massa made from Barbera (Piedmont). The vineyards are at 300 meters and the soil is rich in limestone. The grapes are harvested in the last week of September. Maceration is for 10 days followed by fermentation with indigenous yeasts.  It is bottled without filtration. The wine has hints of cherry, balsamic notes and a touch of chocolate.  It was beginning to show its age.

D80A9C44-1D6D-4E85-8390-08E55236E08D_1_105_cArancine Ragu – saffron rice ball with Bolognese meat sauce filling with green peas, served over tomato sauce.

C0C519DE-D8A7-4500-A135-1D39AE5E53BB_1_105_cFritto Misto di Mare —  made with shrimp, calamari and zucchini perfectly fried in a light coating is only available at the Hell’s Kitchen location.

E070F576-2FF3-45B5-AD82-3FC1BF8BB8B0_1_105_cSeafood Couscous — This is a specialty of Chef Toto’.  He imports a special type of semolina flour, from which he makes his own couscous by hand.  The seafood, including shrimp, calamari, fish and mussels, cooks in a rich broth flavored with a hint of sweet spices.  This is a fantastic dish perfect for anyone who enjoys seafood and we scooped up every last bit.  It is new on the menu at the Hell’s Kitchen location.

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Chianti Classico Riserva 2004 DOCGRancia” Berardenga-Fèlsina made from 100% Sangiovese from Vigneto Rancia located in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga northwest of Siena and in the southern part of the Chianti Classico zone. The vineyard is at 400 meters with a southern exposure and is 2.4 acres. The training system is simple guyot. The grapes are de-stemmed and crushed and then fermented at 28-30 degrees C with automatic daily punch downs followed by 12-15 days maceration. At the end of fermentation the wine goes into small and medium oak barrels in March-April for 12 to 18 months. The lots are blended and bottled with 6 -10 months aging before release. The wine has hints of black cherry, blackberry, plum, and spice with a note of licorice and a touch of violet. This wine was showing no signs of age.

CEFE7D77-CE3D-4B30-8E09-3903B5F71114_1_105_cWe also shared the Cabbucci Porchetta — a round of flatbread filled with roasted porchetta, arugula, provolone cheese, and spicy mayo.  There are cabbucci with several different kinds of filling on the menu at both Norma’s.

The desserts, which all seemed excellent, will have to wait for our next visit.

For after lunch or dinner there is Amari, Grappa and Liquori

Norma Hell’s Kitchen

801 9th ave.

NY, NY 10019

212-246-6000

 

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Filed under Barbara, Chianti Classico, Felsina. Berardenga, Norma

Daniele Cernilli on the Perfect Wine

Perfect wine

by Daniele Cernilli 06/07/21 | AKA DOCTOR WINE
James-Suckling-e-Castello-Brolio-Chianti-Classico-Gran-Selezione-Ceni-Primo-2018

Knowing how to evaluate a wine in perspective, imagining what will foreseeably happen to that wine with the passing of time are indispensable skills to define its greatness, even by means of a score.

The famous American wine critic James Suckling has awarded a 100/100 rating to Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione CeniPrimo 2018.This was the first time a Chianti Classico has received the highest rating and is a further confirmation that Francesco Ricasoli, the estate’s current owner, is back on top in the area in terms of quality and this is totally in line with his family’s tradition.

It should be noted that by awarding this rating, James Suckling has defined this as a perfect wine, despite its youth. For sure he assumed a great responsibility by doing this but one of the tasks of a wine critic is to draw the attention of their followers to such wines en primeur. Among other things, Suckling is also a great expert in Bordeaux wine and for years has frequented the en primeur tastings that are organized every year there and that determine the value of certain vintages and wines which gives a heads up to sector operators so they can acquire the more prestigious wines before they come out on the market. Thus he has a vast experience in tasting very young wine and is able to properly evaluate them, almost wagering on the future.

But exactly what is a “perfect wine” and how does one define “perfection”? And how can you explain this to those who object that it is inappropriate to give such a high rating to a wine that could evolve and improve with aging? Tasting experience, the ability to imagine what will likely happen to a certain wine with age and skill in recognizing the organoleptic properties of the wine all contribute to being able to reasonably pick a winner. In the case of wine, and here I perfectly agree with Suckling, one can recognize a superstar early on.

The wine in question here is the result of a project involving the planting of the right Sangiovese clones and rootstocks for the composition of the soil of a specific vineyard. This is the third vintage of the wine to be produced, after 2016 and 2017 which were very good in their own right, and the harvest in 2018 was very favorable in the area of Brolio. From an organoleptic standpoint, the rapport between the particularly velvety and composed tannins, the typical acidity of the varietal and the excellent amount extracts in the body was truly outstanding from the start and was a clear indication of how this wine will very favorably mature over many years to come. Being able to understand and recognize this is the result of having a specific expertise in this type of wine and great tasting talent, both of which Suckling undoubtedly has.

I am, personally, very pleased with his verdict. Castello Brolio and its wines have played a fundamental role in the history of Chianti Classico and Italy as a whole. They can be considered the Chianti equivalent of the great Bordeaux Chateaux and in different eras have served as authentic reference points. Francesco Ricasoli has personally run the estate since 1993, with the technical collaboration of Carlo Ferrini, and he has restored the quality of the wines back to their previous, top level after the complicated years of the 1970s and ‘80s. The “cru” wines, CeniPrimo, Colledià and Roncicone, are all formidable and territorial wines that, in their own way, are “perfect”. And so, hats off to Francesco Ricasoli and also to James Suckling, who has recognized this and stuck his neck out, taking a risk but doing so with foresight and competence.

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MY THOUGHTS: After reading this article I went back to look at my notes from a Chianti Classico tasting I went to last month with almost 300 wines. There were a few  Ricasoli wines, but not the the one mentioned in the article. I have not tasted that wine. It sells for around $80, and 6,000 bottles were produced.

Also, Eric Asimov’s article in the New York Times entitled “This Summer,Make It Chianti Classico”   is excellent and I am in complete agreement with what he has to say.


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Filed under Chianti Classico, Daniele Cernilli, Daniele Cernilli Doctor Wine