Category Archives: Tenuta di Lilliano

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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Tenuta di Lilliano: Chianti Classico at its Best

Many years ago Michele and I stayed in Tuscany at a resort in Castellina in Chianti, and visited Tenuta di Lilliano. A few months ago, Tony di Dio of Tony Di Dio Selections, asked me if I was familiar with the winery and the wines of Lilliano. I told him yes and I liked the wines. Tony invited me to a lunch featuring the wines of Tenuta di Lillian.

The property was acquired in 1920 by Baron Beringieri. In 1958 the first Lilliano wines were bottled for sale at the hands of Princess Eleonora Ruspoli Berlingieri. She was the first to appreciate the potential of Lilliano as a winemaking estate. She was helped by Giulio Gambelli who has been called the “Sangiovese guru.”

Alessandro

Today the property is owned by brothers Giulio and Pietro Ruspoli and has been managed by Giulio since 1989. Their nephew Alessandro represents Liliano internationally. The enologist now is the famous Lorenzo Landi.

The interesting and knowledgeably Alessandro Ruspoli represented the winery at the tasting and lunch which was held at Marea Restaurant in NYC. Alessandro said the Chianti Classico labels bear the Ruspoli and Berlingieri family coat of arms. The current owners of Lilliano reside in the historic Ruspoli Palace in the center of Rome.

There are 40 cultivated hectares dominated by Sangiovese alongside a small amount of other native and international varieties. He said they have 3 vineyards that produce the highest quality grapes: Le Piagge–Sangiovese, Casina Sopra Strada–Sangiovese and Colorino, and Vigna Catena—Merlot.

The aging cellar beneath the main villa is where the Chianti Classico Riserva ages in large oak barrels along with the Gran Selezione, a recent classification from 2010, which at Lilliano is aged in tonneaux, is a wine made exclusively from a winery’s own grapes grown in its finest vineyards according to strict regulations. It is on the top of the Chianti Classico pyramid.

In a second cellar used for storage and wine making, there are glazed concrete tanks and stainless steel containers. I asked Alessandro if they were returning to concrete as many producers are now doing and he said “no, we always had them.”

The Chianti Classico of Lilliano

Chianti Classico 2016 DOCG made from 90% Sangiovese, 5% Colorino and 5% Merlot. 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.

With this we had fusilli pasta with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow.

Chianti Classico Riserva 2015 made from 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot from the first selection. After a careful selection the grapes undergo soft pressing and destalking. During fermentation the must is pumped over with plunging of the cap on a daily basis. Maceration lasts for 21 to 25 days depending on the vintage. Malolactic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The wine ages in large casks of French oak 28 to 34HL. The final blend is assembled and the wine ages in glass a minimum of 6 months. The wine has hints of cherry, cassis, violets, and a touch of spice.

Poletto, pan roasted chicken breast, with fennel, artichoke, and snap peas was our next course.

Chianti Classico Grand Selezione DOCG 2015 made from 90% Sangiovese, 5% Colorino and 5% Merlot from grapes grown and selected from the Le Piagge and La Casina vineyards where the soil is calcareous clay. After a careful selection the grapes undergo a soft crushing and destemming. During fermentation the must is pumped over with plunging of the cap on a daily basis. Maceration is for 25 days depending on the vintage. Malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel tanks. The wine matures for 15 months in French oak barrels of 28 and 34HL and in tonneaux (500 liters). The wine is blended, bottled and ages for a minimum of 6 months. This is a full bodied wine with hints of red fruit, floral notes, cherry, plum and a touch of violets.

Our meal ended with a tasting of 3 cheeses.

All of the wines from Tenuta di Lilliana that we tasted are good food wines and I really enjoyed them.

 

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