Sangiovese our good friends from Chianti Wine Tasting at Wine Watch

Friday, July 12, 2019 - 07:30 PM

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A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.
Hannibal Lecter  - Silence of the Lambs

Most wine lovers have tried Chianti, from the simple wines that resemble Pinot Noir in color to some of Italy's greatest wines, Chianti probably differs in style more than any other DOCG wine from Tuscany. 

My favorite examples of Chianti and Chianti Classico or Chianti Classico Riserva are Sangiovese 100% varietal wines like the wines of Fattoria Felsina and Fontodi.  What is the difference with these different types of Chianti?  Well there are several different zones in Chianti and the laws have changed a bit over the years but we can thank web sites like Wikipedia for making the laws and history a bit easier to understand, so I have included and excerpt from Wikipedia on Chianti for you at the end of this offering for those of you that want a lesson in Chianti.  I have also included a piece from the Wine Advocate on the latest and greatest thing from Chianti the Gran Selezione.  And if you are still not clear on what Chianti is you can join us for this tasting on Friday July 12th where we will be featuring over 30 different wines from the Chianti region of Tuscany.

This is a walk around tasting in the Wine Cave and Toni will be making some tasty treats to accompany the tasting wines.  The fee for this tasting is $45 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com

Sangiovese our good friends from Chianti Wine Tasting at Wine Watch
Friday, July 12, 2019
7:30 PM

VinaioCaprese
Image result for 2013 Casaloste Chianti Classico
2013 Casaloste Chianti Classico
Price: $27.75       Sale $24.42

Grapes: 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot.  Chianti Classico Casaloste is a red wine made mainly from Sangiovese grapes. Aged in French oak barrels of 25 and 35 liters and in barriques for a period of about 12 months, it has an intense ruby color with notes of wild berries supported by the typical acidity of Sangiovese and long and elegant tannins. Ideal for red meat, it goes well also with salami and enhances the flavor of medium aged cheeses.

2015 Casaloste Chianti Classico
Price: $29.25       Sale $25.74

(94 points)  A beauty, silky and packed with dark cherry, leather, iron and earth aromas and  flavors. Harmonious and long, with a well-integrated structure and a mineral-tinged aftertaste. (BS, Web-2017) Wine Spectator

 

2012 Capannelle Chianti Classico Riserva
Price: $52.50       Sale $46.20

(90 Points) Aromas of sun-baked earth, pressed iris, wild berry, underbrush and a whiff of game lead the nose. The round, open palate delivers fleshy black cherry, ripe plum, ground pepper, leather and anise alongside velvety tannins. It's already accessible but will hold up well for the next few years. Drink through 2018.  Wine Enthusiast

2017 Mannucci Droandi Chianti Colli Aretini
Price: $20.25       Sale $17.82

A blend of Blend Sangiovese 90%, Canaiolo 5% and ancient Tuscan red grapes 5%.  We have grown grapes in our Caposelvi vineyards and made them into wine for three generations, but we only decided to enter the market ourselves in 1998, when we decided to reap the fruits of our experience and bottle our own wine. In our quest for quality we sometimes had to adapt our own way of thinking and that of our assistants. We selected vineyards, carried out shorter pruning, thinned bunches and selected grapes, first in the field and then in the cellar, where years of practice enabled us to control fermentation to the best possible effect. Ageing in barriques (avoiding new wood, in order preserve the wine’s personality), and then in bottles, completes the work. We aim to make a smooth, fruity wine which fully expresses its land of origin: the Chianti hills, and Tuscany itself.
Six and a half hectares of medium-texture alluvial, sandy and silty soil, with excellent aspect, at an average altitude of 250m above sea level: the best possible production conditions which, along with suitable agronomical choices (land partially subjected to minimal cultivation, and partially with permanent grassing; cordon training and short spur pruning; foliage control in summer; bunch thinning; leaf thinning; harvesting in several stages), guarantee the highest quality grapes.

2014 Mannucci Droandi Chianti Ceppeto
Price: $26.25       Sale $23.10

2016 Mannucci Droandi Chianti Ceppeto
Price: $27.00       Sale $23.76

We have grown grapes in our Caposelvi vineyards and made them into wine for three generations, but we only decided to enter the market ourselves in 1998, when we decided to reap the fruits of our experience and bottle our own wine. In our quest for quality we sometimes had to adapt our own way of thinking and that of our assistants. Once we had identified the best Sangiovese clones in the Ceppeto vineyards they were given special attention and vinified separately. 18 months in barriques (not only new ones) and 12 months in bottles completed the ageing process for this wine: its land of origin – the highlands of Gaiole in the Chianti Classico area – is perfectly expressed in its rich aromas and concentrated flavour.
Six hectares of medium-textured, clayey soil with plenty of stones, ideally aspected at an altitude of 300m above sea level: the best possible production conditions which, along with suitable agronomical choices (minimal cultivation of the land; cordon training and short spur pruning; foliage control in summer; bunch thinning; leaf thinning; harvesting in several stages), guarantee the highest quality grapes.

Vinifera
Image result for 2016 Fontodi Chianti Classico
2016 Fontodi Chianti Classico
Price: $44.00       Sale $38.72

(94 points) A sleek, black cherry– and blackberry-infused red, coupled with a steely, vibrant structure. Linear and tense, featuring an energetic finish. Tobacco, graphite and macchia notes add depth as this unwinds on the long finish. Best from 2022 through 2045. Wine Spectator

2016 Fontodi Chianti Classico Filetta di Lamole
Price: $41.00       Sale $36.08

This is high elevation fruit a much more elegant perfumed  style of Chianti.

2016 Tenuta San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico
Price: $37.50    Your Price: $33.00

(95 points) This red offers a pure core of black currant, blackberry and violet flavors shaded by earth and mint notes. The tannins are uplifting and refined. This has terrific energy and balance, with a long, expansive aftertaste of fruit, earth and mineral. Should have a long life ahead. Sangiovese and Canaiolo. Best from 2021 through 2043.—B.S Wine Spectatator

1994 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva
Price: $61.25       Sale $53.90

(92 Points) This is a beautifully crafted Chianti with impressive berry, cherry and vanilla aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, with wonderfully integrated tannins, a long and silky finish.--Chianti retrospective.  Wine Spectator

1995 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva
Price: $64.25       Sale $56.54

(90 Points) Very well made, from one of the Chianti's best vineyards. Loads of plum and roses on the nose. Medium- to full-bodied, with well-integrated yet chewy tannins and a caressing, silky texture. Another winner from Felsina.  Wine Spectator

2014 Mormoraia Chianti Colli Senesi
Price: $15.75       Sale $13.86

Republic National
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Cecchi Sangiovese
Price: $12.50       Sale $11.00

Established in 1893, Cecchi (pronounced check-ee) is one of the oldest and most prominent producers in Tuscany, pioneering the growth and development of the Sangiovese grape worldwide. Cecchi embodies Tuscan authenticity with an emphasis on innovation and sustainability, crafting wines that showcase the pure expressions of the family’s historic vineyards. The contemporary wine style of the Cecchi Sangiovese is fresh, bright and clean.

Piccini Chianti Classico
Price: $15.75       Sale $13.86

This wine has complex and persistent nose with marked notes of spicy and wild berries. On the palate, it is well-structured, elegant, round and smooth with fruity notes including soft tannins. Serve it at 18°C with grilled red meat and tasty pasta.

Piccini Poggio Al Sasso 2015
Price: $20.25       Sale $17.82

Banfi Fonte Selva Chianti Classico 2016
Price: $25.50       Sale $22.44

Over 40 hectares of estate vineyards in Castellina, heart of the Chianti Classico region. Alluvial soils, limestone and clay.  Fermentation takes place with traditional maceration on the skins for 8-10 days, followed by short aging in French oak barrels. Bottling takes place the summer after the harvest. An excellent expression of Chianti Classico, whose round body and character perfectly reflect the Banfi quality standard.

Captivating mauve red. Bouquet: Cherry, plum and blackberry with hints of spice. Taste: The wine is round, full and balanced with good acidity.

Verrazzano Chianti Classico Reserve 2014
Price: $44.00       Sale $38.72

(93 points) Pristine aromatics of plum and black cherry, orange and spice. Deep and concentrated with lots of stealthy poise. Impressive ripeness for the year; it’s the class of the fruit which merits its score. (Mar 2018)  Decanter

Lamole Chianti Classico  Grand Selecion Riserva
Price: $42.00       Sale $36.96

Grapes: Sangiovese (85%) Cabernet Sauvignon (15%).  Its color is a deep ruby red with a faint garnet tinge. Its aromas are the extremely distinctive ones of Sangiovese: the fundamental notes are those that characterize a Chianti Classico of breed: iris, spices (pepper) and wild berries. On the palate, the oak, held at bay by the wine’s ample fruit, leaves room for nuances of preserves and of spices, which are in perfect harmony with the bouquet.

Winebow
2015 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rufina image
2015 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rufina
Price: $19.25    Your Price: $16.94

90 Points – 2015 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina DOCG Pure cherry aromas and flavors are enhanced by a smoky element in this juicy, round red. Hints of earth and mineral add interest on the finish. Drink now through 2023. 7,000 cases made. — Bruce Sanderson

 

 

Southern Glaziers
Image result for 2015 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva Tuscany
2015 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva Tuscany
Price: $24.75    Your Price: $21.78

This is the most iconic label in the world of Chianti they have not changed since 1962 and this wine is a painting of the castle made in 1864 and this is a classic style they have 72 hectares all estate fruit all contiguous they are medium size and they blend Canaiolo and colorino with the Sangiovese. Bright and focused with red berry fruit,wild strawberry and cherry fruit with notes of dried herbs and porcini mushrooms fine silky tannins with nice freshness through the finish, drinking beautifully right now but should last a decade in the cellar. Finish 45+ Excellent +

2016 Antinori Chianti Classico Peppoli
Price: $25.25    Your Price: $22.22

Wine Watch Review: A classic style vintage from Tuscany, this wine displays light red berry fruit strawberry and red cherry with notes of mineral and red licorice spice. Smooth and balanced on the tongue with excellent underlying acidity leaving the tongue fresh with red berry fruit and light spice on the finish. VERY GOOD +

2015 Antinori Villa Antinori Red Toscana
List Price: $22.50               Sale $19.80

A blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah blend, this wine has not been called Chianti for over a decade, a very fruity bouquet red berry fruit with notes of tobacco spice, sweet herbs and some earthy nuance, very forward and seductive. Fresh red berry fruit on the tongue with soft silky tannins, a very approachable and lighter style but has nice balance and freshness echoing the nuance from the nose through the finish. Finish 35+ Very Good

2015 Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva Tenuta Marchese
Price: $45.00    Your Price: $39.60

This rounded, full-bodied wine is the result of careful selection of the best Sangiovese and Cabernet grapes grown in the Tignanello vineyard. The wine is placed in new barriques where it completes malolactic fermentation by the end of the year and is aged in barriques for about 14 months. This is followed by 12 months maturing in the bottles.  A very concentrated bouquet with lots of red berry fruit fresh earth porcini mushroom and fine herbs very distinct Tuscan character.  Smooth and polished on the palate with a good amount of red berry fruit, dusty tannins and that distinct earthy character long layered finish.  Finish 45+  Excellent +

2011 Antinori Badia A Passignano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione
Price: $55.00    Your Price: $48.40

An intense ruby red in color, the wine shows aromas both of fruit and the typical sensations of oak, which fuse harmonically and offer as well balsamic and graphite notes on the nose. The palate is rich, with supple and balanced tannins along with the vibrant freshness typical of Sangiovese. The finish and aftertaste are of notable persistence and repeat the notes of berry fruit first felt on the nose.

Menu
Selection of Cheese and Charcuterie
Margherita Pizza with wedding soup meatballs
Mini Lasagna with Italian Sausage and Sage creme fraiche
Lamb Ragout over Garlic rubbed whole wheat Bruschetta
Chioppino with basil and citrus foam

This is a walk around tasting in the Wine Cave and Toni will be making some tasty treats to accompany the tasting wines.  The fee for this tasting is $45 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com

 

Chianti
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Chianti (pronounced ['kjanti]) is a red Italian wine produced in Tuscany. It was historically associated with a squat bottle enclosed in a straw basket, called a fiasco ("flask"; pl. fiaschi); however, the fiasco is only used by a few makers of the wine now; most Chianti is now bottled in more standard shaped wine bottles. Baron Bettino Ricasoli (later Prime Minister in the Kingdom of Italy) created the Chianti recipe of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia bianca in the middle of the nineteenth century.[1]

The first definition of a wine-area called Chianti was made in 1716. It described the area near the villages of Gaiole, Castellina and Radda; the so-called Lega del Chianti and later Provincia del Chianti (Chianti province). In 1932 the Chianti area was completely re-drawn and divided in seven sub-areas: Classico, Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Montalbano and Rùfina. Most of the villages that in 1932 were suddenly included in the new Chianti Classico area added in Chianti to their name-such as Greve in Chianti which amended its name in 1972. Wines labeled Chianti Classico come from the biggest sub-area of Chianti, that sub-area that includes the old Chianti area. The other variants, with the exception of Rufina from the north-east side of Florence and Montalbano in the south of Pistoia, originate in the respective named provinces: Siena for the Colli Senesi, Florence for the Colli Fiorentini, Arezzo for the Colli Aretini and Pisa for the Colline Pisane. In 1996 part of the Colli Fiorentini sub-area was renamed Montespertoli.

During the 1970s producers started to reduce the quantity of white grapes in Chianti. In 1995 it became legal to produce a Chianti with 100% Sangiovese. For a wine to retain the name of Chianti, it must be produced with at least 80% Sangiovese grapes.[2] A Chianti may have a picture of a black rooster (known in Italian as a gallo nero) on the neck of the bottle, which indicates that the producer of the wine is a member of the Gallo Nero Consortium, an association of producers of the Classico sub-area sharing marketing costs.[3] Since 2005 the black rooster has been the emblem of the Chianti Classico producers association.[4] Aged Chianti (38 months instead of 4-7), may be labelled as Riserva. Chianti that meets more stringent requirements (lower yield, higher alcohol content and dry extract) may be labelled as Chianti Superiore, although Chianti from the "Classico" sub-area is not allowed in any event to be labelled as "Superiore".

Operation Chianti Classico and the Gran Selezione Challenge:
This is the latest thing from Tuscany and there is a very good explanation on the subject of Chianti Classico Gran Selezione taken from the Wine Advocate below:

Sergio Zinagrelli and his team at the Consorzio came up with a three-step plan aimed at solving some of these problems. First, he hired branding consultants to redesign the famous Black Rooster logo. They introduced a younger, more robust-looking bird with a feathered breast, an open beak and a fuller tail. "The Gallo Nero is more elegant, masculine and modern," says Zingarelli. The Consorzio also took steps to make the logo more visible on the bottle. In the past, the Gallo Nero symbol appeared on the pink appellation tape that is attached to the capsule. Today, producers are directed to place the Black Rooster logo either on the neck of the bottle or on the back label.

A second measure was taken to help improve quality from the bottom up. Bulk wine must be certified according to the quality standards set forth by the Consorzio before it is sold. That means bulk producers must adhere to the more stringent farming and vinification practices if they intend to sell in volume. This step is aimed specifically at making sure the bottom does not fall out of the bulk market, dragging down the image of the whole region with it.

The last and most controversial step taken in the Operation Chianti Classico revitalization scheme is the introduction of a new category of wine. In order to sharpen the apex of the so-called quality pyramid, a third category of Chianti Classico was created called Gran Selezione. Chianti Classico Gran Selezione exists above Chianti Classico Riserva and above Chianti Classico. The new wine will represent approximately 10 percent of the appellation's production. In order to qualify as Gran Selezione, grapes must be estate harvested from specific vineyard sites. Fruit must also be destined to Gran Selezione status. In other words, a producer can't simply call a wine Gran Selezione after blending and barrel aging. The wines age for at least 30 months (compared to 24 months for a Chianti Classico Riserva) and they must reflect a specific taste and flavor profile. Like Chianti Classico they are a minimum 80% Sangiovese, although many producers have moved towards 100% expression of the grape. They must have a minimum 13.03 alcohol % Vol, 4.65 total acidity g/l and 27.67 extract g/l. Maximums reach 15.52 alcohol % Vol, 6.50 total acidity g/l and 35.52 extract g/l. These are big wines.

Immediately following the introduction of Gran Selezione, questions and doubts were voiced. The leading questions are as follows:

      1. In the already identity-challenged Chianti Classico appellation, does it make sense to
         introduce another wine (with a slippery and nonspecific name such as "Gran Selezione")
         that might further confuse consumers?

      2. Why wasn't the emphasis on vineyard selections, following the successful model set forth
         in Barolo and Barbaresco for example? In those regions, wines embrace a resoundingly
         strong cru identity.

      3. Will the Riserva category be squeezed out by the Gran Selezione category?

      4. Lastly, do the uniform Gran Selezione stylistic requirements only serve to delineate a
         holding receptacle for wines that would otherwise be called IGT Toscana? In other words,
         did they simply create a new category of internationally-styled super Tuscans?

Answers to these questions remain open. Time will tell. It's hard to answer the first question and I had a long conversation with Sergio Zingarelli on the subject over lunch. Many alternative names were proposed and many eliminated because of copyright conflicts with other great wine regions of the world. Ultimately, it was impossible to find consensus among the approximately 600 member producers in the appellation and the 21 people who sit on the Consorzio board. Gran Selezione was the best they could come up with and there is hushed acknowledgment among producers that it was a compromise solution. There was much focus on trying to add a "vineyard" or "cru" element to the name (something like "Grande Vigneto") but that never panned out.

In terms of the second question, I'm happy to report that there is a very healthy discussion underway to render greater territorial identity. The Chianti Classico production zone falls under nine townships (in both the Siena and Florence provinces). The great majority of the wine is made in Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Greve in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti and Castelnuovo Berardenga. The wine is also made in smaller quantities in Barberino Val d'Elsa, San Casciano Val di Pesa, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa and Poggibonsi. Leading wine personalities have been pushing hard to allow for comune (or township) naming on the labels of the wines. "By concentrating on what makes these townships so special, the weather, soils, exposures and varying altitudes of each municipality, we avoid the trappings of putting so many brands together under the large Chianti Classico umbrella," says consulting winemaker Stefano Chioccioli. The idea is to allow producers to put the name of the township under the appellation on the label, as in "Chianti Classico, Castellina in Chianti." One big problem with this idea, however, is Panzano in Chianti. Although Panzano is one of the most celebrated sites in Chianti Classico (it is home to the Conca d'Oro amphitheater-shaped vineyard that is farmed by Fontodi and others), it is not its own township. Panzano falls under the Greve in Chianti municipality. An exception might be made to allow producers in Panzano to use that identity instead of Greve in Chianti.

With regards to the third question, it's likely that the Chianti Classico Riserva category will indeed face serious challenges now that it is no longer the region's top wine. Debate concerning Riservas has flared up in various Italian regions including Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo and Barbaresco. Again, many top brands are anxious to express their best wines in terms of vineyard selection or cru, not Riserva. A vineyard selection renders a concrete vision and is ultimately easier to convey to consumers and the trade. "Riserva" is loosely defined and more difficult to communicate because it can mean different things across the Italian territory. Riserva can denote extra barrel aging, or it could also be a special selection of fruit. It lacks a standard identity.

In order to address the forth question, I need to revert to my tasting notes. In June 2014, 95 wines were approved for the newly created Chianti Classico Gran Selezione status. I tasted most of those wines for my report. My general impression is that these debut wines are of excellent quality, despite some variation due primarily to the hot growing season in 2011. I very much enjoyed the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione wines made by Castello di Ama, Fèlsina, Renzo Marinai, San Felice and Tolaini among others. They showed great consistency and a uniform style that prizes thicker extract and soft tannins. The wines are bold, opulent and velvety with compelling accents of dark cherry and spice. Only a handful of wines pursued a streamlined and "traditional" style. Castello d'Albola's 2010 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Il Solatio, for example, reflected the more feminine characteristics of the cooler vintage and higher-altitude vineyards. Besides these few exceptions, I found the Gran Selezione wines to reflect homogenous ideals and a consistent approach. If the intent of Gran Selezione is to challenge Italy's greatest wines (such as Brunello di Montalcino), I believe the quality of the wines is up to par. Like "Riserva," the challenge will be to communicate what "Gran Selezione" really stands for. Stylistically, they speak to sun-drenched Tuscany more than to any specific variety including Sangiovese.

The Tignanello Test

For me, the success of this new category falls on what I like to call the Tignanello Test. Should wines like Marchesi Antinori's Tignanello, Fontodi's Flaccianello della Pieve or Isole e Olena's Cepparello opt to become Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, the new category would have serious legs to stand on. We've already seen a few exciting converts including Fontodi's Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo, Marchesi Antinori's Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Badia a Passignano and Mazzei's Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castello Fonterutoli. If more iconic brands make the jump, Gran Selezione would get the confidence boost it seeks. I find it doubtful that Tignanello would ever shed its groundbreaking IGT status. Antinori enologist Renzo Cotarella explains: "Even though Tignanello respects the DOCG appellation rules, we feel that a Chianti Classico should not be conditioned by 20 percent Caberent Sauvignon." The Wine Advocate —Monica Larner