Castello di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2012

felsinacolli

Estate: Castello di Farnetella is located in the province of Siena in Tuscany, Italy. The Poggiali family [owners of the renowned Fèlsina estate] purchased the historic estate with its 65 hectares of vineyards in 1981. Fèlsina is headed by Domenico and Giuseppe Poggiali along with Giovanni Poggiali, the oldest of Giuseppe’s three sons. Fattoria di Fèlsina is renowned as one of the greatest vineyards in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, producing “one of the finest ranges of age worthy and complex Chianti bottlings in all of Italy”.

Philosophy: “A profound respect for the Tuscan traditions of yesterday.”

Winemaking: As with all of Fèlsina’s properties, the vineyards are farmed organically and sustainably, additionally, Castello di Farnetella is also practicing biodynamic methods. Grapes are hand harvested from vineyards with loam, sand, clay and chalky soils.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of cherry, black pepper, leather and earth. A lovely, well balanced, fruit forward expression of Chianti, with cherry, leather and floral notes supported by a spiced, earthy core. Grippy tannins and traces of cigar box spice are complimented by black cherry on the dry finish. A phenomenal value that will be drinking for many years to come.

90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot
Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Fèlsina SPA
13.5% Alcohol
$11
Enjoy now thru 2022

La Maialina Chianti 2013

maialina

With grapes sourced from some of the most prestigious estates in Tuscany, this is a friendly, easy going Chianti with a wonderful value price tag.

Winemaking: La Maialina is the brainchild of noted oenologist Attilio Pagli. Named after an heirloom breed of pig indigenous to the Siena region during the 1300’s. It is the only native pig of Tuscany to have survive extinction and still be seen in the countryside today. Pagli purchases surplus juice from some of the best estates in Tuscany to craft La Maialina. Aged in stainless steel.

Philosophy: “To preserve the flavor of Tuscany”.

Tasting Notes: Dark ruby red in colour with a aromas of wild berries, forest floor and hints of white peppercorn. With a bit of decanting the hotness on the finish is tamed, [along with bringing the bright fruit flavours out], allowing sweet herbaceous spice and leather notes to linger softly between each sip.

Sangiovese [I could not verify varietal percentage, but it must be at least 80% Sangiovese according to DOCG law.]
Chianti
Italy
Bottled for La Maialina by 15632/FI Cerreto Guidi
12.5% Alcohol
$9
Enjoy now thru 2017

Consorzio Vino Chianti ‘Chianti Lovers’ Tasting at The High Line Hotel, NYC 2015 [Part 3]

glasses

I had the pleasure of attending the Consorzio Vino Chianti ‘Chianti Lovers’ Tasting held at the Refectory Ballroom at The High Line Hotel in Manhattan on April 27, 2015. Established in 1927, the Consortium protects over 3600 producers, working more than 15,500 hectares of vineyards, producing in excess of 800,000 hectoliters of Chianti. From selection of grapes to vinification, from testing of the chemical and physical properties to bottling, the Consortium ensures that the wines meet DOC and DOCG standards. The Consortium is committed to preserving and advancing the culture and history of Chianti, along with expressing the high quality the wine has achieved. Chianti DOCG is produced in the provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena in Tuscany, central Italy.

Over 30 winemakers and estate owners gathered to present their wines, many of which are in need of US importers and distributors [which is why price information is not available]. Each winemaker or estate owner I spoke with was enthusiastic to tell me the story of his or her wines, sharing details such as varietal blending methods and sustainable, environmentally-friendly vineyard and winery practices, along with vintage particularities. With a region as large as Chianti, each producer can have a vastly different vintage from his near neighbor. From vibrant and fresh to subtle and elegant, a vast array of the styles and vintages of Chianti were presented.

My third and final installment involves catching up with old friends and the meeting of new ones. The Chianti Tasting is always an informative, engaging event that I am delighted to be a part of. Cheers!

Pieve De’ Pitti

caterina

The always delightful and elegant Caterina Gargari of Pieve di 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”. ‘Cerretello’ Chianti Superiore is the estate’s first label and is based on a classic family blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Malvasia grapes, traditionally crafted from the oldest vineyards in the estate. Caterina preserves this tradition and puts her own mark on it by using Sangiovese grapes from vineyards planted in 2001. Cerretello is aged in cement to allow the terrior and grapes to be the highlight of each sip.

The elegant, friendly wines are a reflection of Caterina; I always look forward to discussing vintages with her whilst enjoying her wines. Last year, we discussed how even though 2010 was a phenomenal vintage for many winemakers in Chianti, it was not her best. The slightest shift in sea breezes or isolated storm can make a world of a difference within one region for each producer. In fact, it was 2011 that she was watching develop into an outstanding vintage. This year, whilst enjoying her ‘Cerretello’ Chianti Superiore 2011, she took her analysis further, telling me that 2011 has become the best vintage her estate has had thus far. Looking to the future, she said that the 2014 harvest was abundant with great quality grapes, she is expecting an excellent vintage.

pieve

Cerretello Chianti Superiore DOCG 2011
With another year under its belt since my last visit, vivid, clean fruit flavours still take the spotlight. Silky smooth tannins in the full body balance leather, spices and soft earth, whilst the renowned salty mineral element drives the dry finish.

Cerretello Chianti Superiore DOCG 2008
Caterina credits the very mild weather in 2008 for conferring a refined elegance to the vintage. Well balanced flavours of cherry and strawberry with an earthy, forest floor undercurrent, velvety tannins and a plush finish keep you reaching for more.

Tenuta Bichi Borghesi

niccolo

The charming Niccolò Simonelli of Tenuta Bichi Borghesi.

Niccolò Simonelli’s family has been crafting wine at Tenuta Bichi Borghesi for more then 4 centuries. The estate is located in Chianti Colli Senesi and consists of over 400 hectares. Niccolò lives in the original farmhouse and strives to make elegant wines that express where they are from, that are “traditional without being old”. With respect for the past and attention to future generations, protecting the environment and using organic methods is a key part to the estate [they are not currently certified organic].

Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2013
A lovely fruit forward Chianti with bright strawberry and cherry flavours, soft tannins and a plush finish.

‘Coppiole’ Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG Riserva 2008
Aged for 15-18 months in oak, Niccolò explained that 2008 was an “easy vintage” for the estate, therefore they used less oak, about 1/3 of the amount that they usually would use. Concentrated black cherry notes backed by tobacco and earth, a velvety finish of oak and cigar box spice.

Val di Botte

valdibotte

The vibrant and friendly Simone Pezzatini along with yours truly.

The Val di Botte estate consists of 30 hectares of vineyards located 20 km outside Florence. They strive to create a range of wines that are both affordable and of high-quality. The gregarious Simone Pezzatini presents the family estate’s wines; I greatly look forward to our engaging conversations and his insight into each wine’s character. After discussing the 2014 harvest with so many winemakers, I was ecstatic to see Simone brought a horizontal tasting of the estate’s 2014 vintage. It was fantastic to finally be able to give them a try!

‘Val di Botte’ Chianti DOCG 2014
Fermented and aged in stainless steel to preserve the vivid fruit flavours, jammy strawberry and black cherry over an earth and leather backdrop, easy black tea tannins on the dry finish. Refreshing and super easy drinking.

‘Val di Botte’ Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2014
Easy drinking at 14% Alcohol, grapes were sourced from vineyards with large stone soil similar to many Chianti Classico vineyards. A traditional Chianti expression of balanced fruit/earth/spice flavours. A wonderfully straightforward companion at the table.

‘Val di Botte’ Chianti Superiore DOCG 2014
The Superiore is a small production label sourced from a 7.5 hectare vineyard with high quality grapes. Elegant and lively, well balanced fruit/earth/spice and clean tannins make this incredibly versatile at the table.

Val di Botte’ Chianti Riserva DOCG 2010
Contrasting with its younger siblings, the 2010 Riserva displays notes of dense cherry and plum backed by forest floor and peppery spice. Finishing with velvety tannins toasted oak and hints of vanilla. This is a rich, quiet glass whose lush, yet well balanced flavours aren’t overpowering.

 

 

Media event hosted by Consorzio Vino Chianti

Consorzio Vino Chianti ‘Chianti Lovers’ Tasting at The High Line Hotel, NYC 2015 [Part 2]

press

Winemakers and attendees taking a moment for the press

I had the pleasure of attending the Consorzio Vino Chianti ‘Chianti Lovers’ Tasting held at the Refectory Ballroom at The High Line Hotel in Manhattan on April 27, 2015. Established in 1927, the Consortium protects over 3600 producers, working more than 15,500 hectares of vineyards, producing in excess of 800,000 hectoliters of Chianti. From selection of grapes to vinification, from testing of the chemical and physical properties to bottling, the Consortium ensures that the wines meet DOC and DOCG standards. The Consortium is committed to preserving and advancing the culture and history of Chianti, along with expressing the high quality the wine has achieved. Chianti DOCG is produced in the provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena in Tuscany, central Italy.

Over 30 winemakers and estate owners gathered to present their wines, many of which are in need of US importers and distributors [which is why price information is not available]. Each winemaker or estate owner I spoke with was enthusiastic to tell me the story of his or her wines, sharing details such as varietal blending methods and sustainable, environmentally-friendly vineyard and winery practices, along with vintage particularities. With a region as large as Chianti, each producer can have a vastly different vintage from his near neighbor. From vibrant and fresh to subtle and elegant, a vast array of the styles and vintages of Chianti were presented.

*All wines are “designed to be paired with food”; many of the winemakers would send me off to the cheese and cracker table immediately after my first sip in order for me to have a better perception of the flavours and personalities their wines express.

Castelvecchio

castelvecchio
The Castelvecchio farm is a family estate located in San Casciano Val di Pesa in the Florentine hills, and is headed by Filippo Rocchi along with his sister Stefania 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. 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. Castelvecchio is one of the very few estates at the tasting that has a US importer. Although only on the shelves in a few states at the moment, keep your eye out or their wines, as they certainly will expand. With the exception of the Santa Caterina 2013, the wines presented were the same as last year, click here for my impressions, at that time. I was excited to revisit Il Castelvecchio 2011, one of my favourite wines from the last event, to see how it has transformed with another year under its belt.

‘Santa Caterina’ Chianti DOCG 2013
A lovely, light Chianti free of oak, it was fermented in stainless steel and aged in cement. Clean fruit and floral notes are backed by a food friendly acidity and excellent dry finish. [$12 average price]

‘Il Castelvecchio’ Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG 2011
Aged one year in French barrels, this is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot which brings a certain sense of velvety softness to each sip. Sweet fruit backed by licorice and leather notes, dried floral elements on the lovely dry finish. Consistently the most popular label of the estate. [$15 average price]

Agricola Tamburini

tamburini

The Tamburini estate is headed by 5th generation winemaker Emanuela Tamburini. The estate consists of 50 hectares, 30 of which are vineyards in Chianti and Montalcino, along with olives groves and forest. When Emanuela took over the estate in 2002 she began bottling the estate’s first wines, ending the century old process of selling their wines to other wineries. Today Emanuela has made a name for her estate in both Italy and the international market selling not just wine, but also certified organic olive oil and grappa.
*The following two wines are named after her father and grandfather, respectively.

‘Italo’ Chianti DOCG Riserva 2011
Aged for 3 years in big barrels so the oak notes are light and elegant. Smooth tannins and a velvety finish balance soft floral and cherry notes.

‘Mauro’ Chianti DOCG 2012
Spice and herbaceous notes are the highlight, whilst a red fruit undercurrent leads the way to the dry, peppery finish.

Cantina Sociale Colli Fiorentini Valvirginio

valvirginio
The Cooperative was founded in 1972 and is located in the valley by the Virginio River in Montespertoli. Today the cooperative comprises 1500 hectares cultivated by growers passionate and dedicated to their knowledge and traditions. With an emphasis on environmental protection, they are the first Tuscan cooperative to install a photovoltaic system in order to produce their own energy.

Chianti DOCG 2013
Their “basic, entry level” Chianti that shines with delicate floral, berry and earth notes along with a clean mineral finish.

Chianti DOCG Riserva 2011
Aged for 12-15 months in French barrels, a good balance of fruit and earth notes atop a backbone of firm tannins, food beckoning acidity and oak notes. This needs a revisit in a few years as I can tell it will continue to develop.

‘Collerosso’ Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG 2011
One of the most popular wines the cooperative produces, super friendly with cherry and earth notes dusted with hints of sweet vanilla and toasted oak. A spicy dry finish of licorice and white peppercorn keeps it lively.

‘Poggio al Sasso’ Chianti DOCG 2012
My absolute favourite of the 4 presented, 100% Sangiovese crafted from shareholders that practice organic viticulture, aged in stainless steel. Famous for its slightly “raw edge”, with rustic aromas of wild berries and hay barn. Dense cherry and wild berry flavours were backed by baking spices and crushed white peppercorn, with a rich, velvety finish.

 

 

Media event hosted by Consorzio Vino Chianti

Consorzio Vino Chianti ‘Chianti Lovers’ Tasting at The High Line Hotel, NYC 2015 [Part 1]

ballroom

I had the pleasure of attending the Consorzio Vino Chianti ‘Chianti Lovers’ Tasting held at the Refectory Ballroom at The High Line Hotel in Manhattan on April 27, 2015. Established in 1927, the Consortium protects over 3600 producers, working more than 15,500 hectares of vineyards, producing in excess of 800,000 hectoliters of Chianti. From selection of grapes to vinification, from testing of the chemical and physical properties to bottling, the Consortium ensures that the wines meet DOC and DOCG standards. The Consortium is committed to preserving and advancing the culture and history of Chianti, along with expressing the high quality the wine has achieved. Chianti DOCG is produced in the provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena in Tuscany, central Italy.

Over 30 winemakers and estate owners gathered to present their wines, many of which are in need of US importers and distributors [which is why price information is not available]. Each winemaker or estate owner I spoke with was enthusiastic to tell me the story of his or her wines, sharing details such as varietal blending methods and sustainable, environmentally-friendly vineyard and winery practices, along with vintage particularities. With a region as large as Chianti, each producer can have a vastly different vintage from his near neighbor. From vibrant and fresh to subtle and elegant, a vast array of the styles and vintages of Chianti were presented.

Fabrizio Forconi Podere dell’Anselmo

fabrizio

Warm and gregarious winemaker Fabrizio Forconi presenting his expressive wines.

A dynamic and vibrant man, Fabrizio Forconi will humbly call himself just a “country boy who loves his horses”. His family began growing grapes in Montespertoli at the beginning of the 19th century. Today, Fabrizio carries on the very same winemaking traditions. His vines are “strictly linked to the indigenous strains”, and the soil is a mix of clay and limestone. Although not certified, he practices organic viticulture and is passionate about biodynamic “ideas and methods”. He believes in taking his time and doing things the right way. His horses are depicted on his labels, and yes, he does utilize their manure to fertilise his vineyards.

Chianti Montespertoli DOCG 2011
100% Sangiovese with friendly fresh fruit, good acidity and a warm, sweet oak finish.

‘Ingannamatti’ Chianti Montespertoli DOCG Riserva 2008
Distinctively woodsy and spicy in nature, with a lovely undercurrent of cherry and strawberry. The lengthy, harmonizing dry finish of licorice and hints of chocolate keep you reaching for more.

Tenuta San Vito

sanvito

Founded in 1960 by Roberto Drighi, Tenuta San Vito consists of 135 hectares, of which 35 are vineyards and 20 belong to olive groves. Today the estate is headed by Roberto’s nephew, Neri Gazulli, who passionately continues the work begun by is uncle. He is an enthusiastic believer in protecting the local environment along with organic viticulture, the estate being certified organic since 1985.

‘San Vito’ Chianti DOCG 2013
100% Sangiovese, time spent in steel and then in cement imparts an ethereal, light character. Fresh and simple fruit/earth/spice notes so indicative of Chianti, in fact Neri describes this as “typical Chianti’.

‘Darno’ Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG 2013
90% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, aged for 6 months in big barrels. A unique flavour profile that immediately grabbed my attention, dense wild berries with abundant Mediterranean herbs along with a clean minerality. Neri believes its distinctive flavour is expressive of the “vineyard with the different clay soil” the grapes are grown in.

Tenuto Il Corno

tenuta il corno
Built by the ancient Del Corno family in the 12th century, Tenuto Il Corno is known as one of the most beautiful estates in Val di Pesa. Since the 14th century the estate has been engaged in wine production. In 1911 the estate was purchased by the Counts Frova Arroni di Arrone from the heirs of Grand Duke Leone Strozzi. Maria Giulia Frova now heads the family estate; she preserves the traditional agricultural activities of both wine and oil production with an emphasis on respect for the environment and traditional methods. Many of the vines are ”self rooted grapevines, over 300 years old”.
*Presented by Mrs. Verena Moser

Chianti DOCG 2013
Fermented in stainless steel tanks, and aged in concrete vats, this is straightforward, tart and refreshing. Mrs. Moser called it “a traditional Chianti, a perfect pizza wine”. Well balanced fruit and earth notes accompanied by a lively acidity definitely make this a bottle to reach for with all types of dishes.

‘Foss’A Spina’ Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG 2011
85% Sangiovese, 10% Colorino and 5% Canaiolo. Aged for 4-5months in concrete, fresh and plush, with soft fruit supported by black tea tannins, finishing silky smooth and dry.

 

 

Media event hosted by Consorzio Vino Chianti