I was delighted to be invited to the Consorzio Chianti Seminar and Grand Tasting Event held at The Standard Highline in NYC, on April 28th. Hosted by Giovanni Busi and the Consorzio Vino Chianti, it was a wonderful all day immersion into the revitalised world of Chianti. Nearly 50 passionate, enthusiastic winemakers and estate owners converged to present their vibrant, and regionally distinctive wines. Chianti has seen a transformation into a contemporary synthesis of innovation and technology, with an emphasis on sustainable, environmentally-friendly vineyard and winery practices. The result is bright, food friendly wines with price points ranging from everyday values to more indulgent adventures. The majority of these wines are still in need of US importers. However, a few are available, and hopefully many more to follow. So, take the time to seek them out, or ask your wine shop if they can get them on the shelves.
Pieve De’ Pitti
Pieve De’ Pitti is a family estate headed by Caterina Gargari and is located in the heart of the Alta Valdera. The estate consists of 198 hectares of woods and olive groves, along with 16 hectares that are hilly vineyards with sand/clay/fossil rich soil. It is this distinctive soil coupled with “sea winds which come from across the hills of Miemo and Castellina”, that give their “grapes a mineral and savoury flavour”.
Caterina presented her wines as a vertical tasting, which is always a remarkable, memorable manner in which to experience the true expression of an estate, and in this case, of a specific vineyard. With numerous winemakers having differing “best vintages”, Pieve De’ Pitti is no exception. Although 2010 was great for many winemakers, it wasn’t the greatest for Caterina; rather, 2011 has developed into an outstanding vintage for her estate. The slightest shift in sea breezes or isolated storm can make a world of a difference within one region for each producer.
All of the wines were aged in cement to allow the terrior and grapes to be the highlight of each sip.
Chianti Superiore DOCG ‘Cerretello’ 2008
Chianti Superiore DOCG ‘Cerretello’ 2009
Chianti Superiore DOCG ‘Cerretello’ 2010
Chianti Superiore DOCG ‘Cerretello’ 2011
Much like Caterina herself, I found the consecutive vintages of Pieve De’ Pitti to be elegant, graceful and approachable. Well balanced fruit, earth and soft spices prevailed, whilst the renowned clean mineral streak was a refreshing undercurrent that provided a consistent theme through all.
Vin Santo Chianti DOC 2007
Silky smooth and sweet, crafted from Trebbiano and San Colombano grapes and aged in casks for five years. Concentrated apricot, nectarine and honey flavours finish with balancing dry minerals.
Val di Botte
The Val di Botte estate consists of 30 hectares of vineyards located 20 km outside Florence. They strive to create wines that are both affordable and of high-quality.
Chianti DOCG ‘Val di Botte’ 2012
Chianti DOCG ‘Val di Botte’ 2013
A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Canaiolo. Aged in steel, with delicious fresh wild berries and a touch of earth and soft spice. Well balanced, refreshing and easy drinking, an incredibly versatile companion at the table.
Tenuta di Morzano
Founded in 1988, Tenuta di Morzano is located on the hill of Morzano from which it takes its name. The estate consists of 140 hectares, 43 of which are vineyards. In addition to their fantastic Chianti, they also produce IGT red and white wines, along with Vin Santo del Chianti.
Chianti DOCG 2013
Chianti Montespertoli DOCG 2011
Summer violets introduce fresh cherry and red currant, supported by woodsy elements, a bright acidity and pleasing tannins. Envisioned as versatile, easy drinking and “to accompany the daily meal”.
Chianti Superiore DOCG ‘Emilio’ 2010
Powerful and complex, yet remaining elegant and pure with cherry and fresh berries backed by warm earth notes, crushed black peppercorn and a clean, dry finish.
Chianti DOCG Riserva ‘Il Quarto’ 2010
The new style of Chianti crafted with the addition of “International” grapes. Velvety and soft with sweet cherry, plum and floral elements, whilst pleasantly contrasting white peppercorn, earth and traces of sweet caramel comprise the lengthy finish.
80% Sangiovese, 15%Merlot, 5% Syrah
Chianti Montespertoli DOCG Riserva ‘Morzano’ 2010
Alessandro Tognetti belongs to the 8th generation of the Tognetti family winemakers. His estate consist of 40 hectares that produces 15 prestigious labels including Morellino di Scansano, Super Tuscan White and Red, Grappas, along with organic olive oil, cereals and meats. The family focuses on traditional farming methods, and does not use chemicals during any stage of production. They respect and observe the spirit of the land as part of their “genetic heritage” and strive to preserve the “rural tradition of this region: the farm not only as a production unit but also as a focus of culture”.
Chianti DOCG ‘Bosco Lazzeroni’ 2013
Aged in steel, sweet fresh fruit balanced by a pleasing acidity and crisp finish, brightens up everyday meals
Chianti Superiore DOCG ‘Borro ai Frati’ 2010
Aged for one year in oak barrels, a well structured synthesis of lively fruit, cigar box spice and bright acidity backed by firm tannins.
Chianti DOCG Riserva ‘Casetta’ 2009
Rich and dignified, with dense black cherry and forest notes supported by dry tannins and lingering soft spices.
The Castelvecchio farm is a family estate located in San Casciano Val di Pesa in the Florentine hills, and is headed by Filippo Rocchi. The estate was founded in 1962 by Filippo’s grandfather Renzo Rocchi and consists of 73 hectares, 30 of which are vineyards and 15 are olive groves.
It was my great pleasure to speak with brother and sister owners Filippo and Stefania Rocchi. Friendly and warm, they took the time to share not only winemaking philosophy and details but also their newfound love of New York Rangers hockey. Filippo is passionate about caring for the vines, with a philosophy to express “the character and originality” of each grape and wine. The wines are named after the vineyards from which the grapes were grown.
Chianti DOCG ‘Santa Caterina’ 2011
Cherry, strawberry flavours were supported by leather elements and hints of smoky herbs, finishing with white peppercorn and nuances of chocolate and espresso. Straightforward and easy drinking, a pleasant companion with everyday meals.
Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG ‘Il Castelvecchio’ 2011
Sangiovese with a touch of merlot, which contributes soft, ripe, fruit to a classically styled Chianti with an herbaceous undercurrent, bright acidity and pleasingly dry finish. Consistently the most popular label of the estate.
Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG Riserva ‘Vigna La Quercia’ 2010
Highly aromatic with dark fruit, cigar box spice, licorice and floral aromas. Cherry, blackberry and fresh herbaceous notes were supported by dry tannins, whilst tobacco, white peppercorn and hints of oak comprised the clean finish. Well balanced, elegant and easy drinking, it doesn’t show the higher alcohol content.
Vin Santo del Chianti DOC ‘Chiacchierata Notturna’ 2003
Media event hosted by Consorzio Vino Chianti