Showing posts with label Chianti Classico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chianti Classico. Show all posts

Monday, August 30, 2021

Kosher Wine - Italy

The Jewish High Holy Days happen in September, which means you'll need some kosher wines.  Fortunately, Royal Wine Corporation provides what I have found to be high-quality kosher wines.  Royal is owned by the Herzog family, whose wine history dates back to the middle of the 19th century.  Royal imports and distributes kosher wines from all over the world, and the make their own at the Herzog winery in Southern California.

When we think of kosher wine, we may often think of those from Israel, but here is one is from Italy.  Terra di Seta is in Tuscany, near Siena in the Chianti Classico region.  Their winery is on a family-run organic farm, overseen by Daniele Della Seta and his wife, Maria Pellegrini.

The 2016 Pelegríni della Seta Chianti Classico Riserva is made entirely of Sangiovese grapes, harvested from the stony soil of a sunny, windy, low-yield vineyard at an elevation of more than 1,500 feet.  The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months.  Alcohol sits at a lofty 15% abv 

This Sangiovese is a fairly dark wine which smells of cherries, plums and blackberries with a mineral-driven overlay and some sweet oak spice.  The palate has plenty of fruit, too, as well as a savory aspect that lingers on the finish.  The tannins are firm - pair it with meat dishes or sauces and aged cheeses.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A Trio Of Chianti Classico

Here are three fine examples of Chianti Classico wine from Italy's Tuscany region.  They were tasted and talked about during a recent virtual masterclass staged by wine guide Gambero Rosso International.  

Badia A Coltibuono Chianti Classico DOCG 2018

Badia A Coltibuono has been making wine since 1051, which is a long time to be open for business.  It makes waiting a year for a wine to age seem like not such an inconvenience.  The 970 years since the building housed a monastery have crawled by like snails in the morning dew.

This 2018 Chianti Classico is mainly Sangiovese, with a small amount of other supporting grapes in the blend.  Roberto Stucchi Prinetti says that he feels "Sangiovese needs a gentle hand" in the cellar, and he feels the nature of the grape is better displayed with lightly colored wines, which look more elegant.  This wine was aged 12 months in French and Austrian oak casks.  Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv.

This Chianti Classico is rather lightly tinted for a red wine, and if I had tasted it blind I might have been tempted to guess it was a rosé.  The nose has a basketful of fresh cherries in it, with a floral angle and just a hint of mocha and tobacco.  The sip reveals more luscious red fruit, leaning just off center into tartness, assisted by a bit of limestone chalkiness.  It sneaks along a little lighter than I expect a Sangiovese to sneak, and ends up making me think of the elegance of Pinot Noir crossed with the rusticity of warm-climate Syrah.  The acidity is fresh and the tannins firm.  Pair it with your favorite Tuscan dish.

Ricasoli Colledilà Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2017

The Ricasoli winery has been guided since 1993 by Baron Francesco Ricasoli, who says he always keeps an eye on the ways of founder Baron Bettino Ricasoli, known as The Iron Baron.  He was a Prime Minister of the newly unified Italy in the 19th century.  For some 600 years the Ricasoli nobles defended Florence at Brolio Castle.  Times are a little easier now, so winemaking takes its proper place among priorities.  

The 2017 Ricasoli Colledilà Chianti Classico Gran Selezione was made from Sangiovese grapes which were grown in the rocky, limestone rich soil of the Colledilà vineyard.  Fermentation happened in open steel tanks before the wine was aged for 18 months in 500-litre Tonneaux, 30% of which were made from new wood while the rest were second-use.  Alcohol tips 14% and its average price is reported to be nearly $75.

The wine is colored a medium-dark ruby red and features a rich nose of black cherry, cedar, mocha, vanilla and tobacco.  The palate is hefty and dark - beefier than the Badia A Coltibuono - with flavors of cherry and currant joined by a dollop of licorice and some savory oak notes.  The tannins are fine and the acidity is refreshing.  There is a lingering sense of savory cherry on the lengthy finish.  I paired this wine with a roasted tomato and parmesan focaccia bread, although it probably would have been better suited to accompany the marinara meatballs I had for lunch.

Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico Riserva 2017

Tenuta di Arceno is located near the medieval village of San Gusme in what was the heart of the Etruscan civilization.  Grapes have been turned into wine here since the 16th century.  In the 1990s, Jess Jackson bought the property, which had changed hands only a few times in a millenium.  It was the first non-California property purchased by the late vintner.  

The estate runs from an elevation of a thousand feet to more than 1,700.  Most of the vineyards face the southwest, making for a warm climate in which the grapes can ripen.  Founding winemaker Pierre Seillan and American-born resident winemaker Lawrence Cronin have worked together at the estate for nearly two decades

The winery produces three Sangiovese wines under the Chianti Classico DOCG heading and three others under IGT Toscana, made from international grape varieties.  The 2017 Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico Riserva is composed of 90% Sangiovese grapes and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine aged for two years total, ten of those months in French oak barrels.  It has an alcohol level of 14.5% abv and retails for $30.

This wine has a medium-dark garnet hue and offers a nose of black cherry, anise, vanilla and cedar.  On the palate, we find red fruit, a bit of tart cherry and savory notes from the ten months of oak aging.  The tannins are a little toothy, but will do a nice job on a steak. 


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Monday, February 9, 2015

Old-School Italian Minus The Straw Basket

We finally got around to a little something left under the Christmas tree by an old and dear friend during the holidays.  He's a guy I used to work with side by side - er, voice by voice - back in the day when he and I did traffic on the ones - or twos, or threes - who can remember?  Thanks to the sort of fate-twisting in which the radio business seems to specialize, he now works voice-by-voice with my wife, doing traffic on the fives - I think it’s the fives, anyway

If Chianti still makes you think of a lackluster table wine more valuable for the straw-cased bottle that contains it, you should sample some wines from that Italian region.  There’s not a straw basket to be found.  No wax drippings down the side of the bottle, either.  I still think of our friend in that straw-bottle-Chianti kind of way - he is old-school.

Ruffino, though, has been around for years.  Here’s the way they tell their story: "In 1877 when cousins Ilario and Leopoldo Ruffino embraced their passion for winemaking by establishing a small winery in the town of Pontassieve, near Florence, the region already had a centuries-old tradition of growing exceptional wine grapes.  Even so, the two Tuscan natives felt certain that much of the area’s greatness had yet to be revealed.  Tuscany had been heaped with good fortune: mineral-laden soils, the cooling influence of the Mediterranean Sea, the dry summers that wine grapes favor.  And all those luscious, sun-drenched hills.  Ruffino was one of the “first major wineries with vineyard estates in Italy’s three most renowned wine-producing regions – Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Their Riserva Ducale was first released in 1927.  The Chianti Classico wine is named to honor the Duke of Aosta, who traversed the Alps to try the Ruffino wines.  He liked them so much he named Ruffino as the official wine of the Italian royal family.  The wine contains 80% Sangiovese grapes, with the remainder being a mix of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  All the grapes come from the Tuscan Chianti Classico region, from Ruffino’s Santedame, Gretole and Montemasso estates  It is aged for two years in oak, then another three months in the bottle before release.

Riserva Ducale is a medium-dark red, with cherries on the nose that are joined by oak spice and lavender.  The acidity plays a huge role in the mouthfeel of this wine, with red fruit and spice flavors.  A bit of red licorice shows on the finish.

The tannins are fairly healthy, too, and that acidity makes me want a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. If I were to burn the roof of my mouth, however, that same acidity could cause problems.  Careful with that hot meatball.

The wine was darker and smoky tasting on the second night the bottle was open.  More savory notes crept in, but not to the detriment of the fruit or the acidity.  It's no showstopper, but it is sturdy and reliable - old-school, you might say.  Like an old friend, there is an easy familiarity here.  Also like an old friend, you can count on it in a pinch.