Valpolicella Wine Crawl

After my stay in Chioggia, I drove east to spend a few days in the Valpolicella wine district. Valpolicella is part of the Veneto region of Italy and is about an hour’s drive east of Venice and directly north of the city of Verona. It’s a large area with Soave on the eastern border and Lake Gardo on the western one.

It’s a DOC with the sub districts of Valpantena and Classico. Valpolicella is a blended wine made with Corvina, Corvanone, Rondenella and Molinara with Corvina and Corvanone making up the bulk of the blend.

The most famous wine coming out of that area would be Amarone. It’s a Valpolicella made in the Passito method in which the grapes are laid out on mats to dry prior to fermentation which concentrates the sugars and flavors.

Amarone is at the top of the pyramid but the progression of wine styles goes like this. Wines designated as Classico are newly bottle wines with minimal aging. The are light in color, young and fresh and can be served with a slight chill on them. Next would be the Superiore which get a bump up in alcohol and some more aging. Next on the progression are the Ripasso wines. These wines are made through a second fermentation of the must used in the Passito of the Amarone wines. This adds body and color to the wines. The Amarone range from the basic Classico wines to various single vineyard bottlings.

My hotel was a 17th century villa converted to a B & B in the Classico region. Rolling hills dotted with Medieval towns. Thank God for Google Maps.

Cantina Spada Via Villa Giradi 26, San Pietro in Cariano

This was the first winery I visited shortly after checking in to my hotel and was a recommendation from the front desk. A family run operation in the heart of Valpolicella.

2021 Classico: Clear medium brick, roasted meat and toasted nuts on the nose, medium fruit with an bitter almond finish.

2018 Superiore: Opaque dark brick, roast meat and dark leather on the nose, dusty, almost sweet fruit, Asian spices and nicely balance with bitter almonds.

2019 Ripasso: Opaque dark brick, roasted meat on the nose, juicy, dark plums with some tart notes on the end.

2017 Amarone: Opaque medium brick, sweet perfume of leather, silky red licorice fruit, dark chocolate and bitter cherry on the finish. Some heat at the end.

Tomassi Family Estates Via Ronchetto 4, Pedemonte

Pretty much a well know label back in the US, they’ve been making wine since 1902. They let me take a self-guided tour of the very impressive wine cellar.

2019 Ripasso: Clear medium brick, big notes of mint on the nose, silky plums and red fruit, ark chocolate, chalk notes and some toast on the finish as well as some heat.

2018 Amarone: Clear medium red, sweet toast on the nose, bitter red cherry fruit and feeling the heat at the finish.

2013 Amarone Riserva “Ca Florian”: Opaque dark red, sweet perfume of violets, milk chocolate and mint, concentrated, thick with mint and black licorice fruit with dark chocolate and chalk notes on the finish.

Speri Viticoltori Via Fontana 14, San Pietro in Cariano

Another family run operation on its seventh generation.

2021 Classico: Clear light purple, crushed red fruit and earth on the nose, medium to light bodied juicy red fruit with moderate acids on the spicy finish.

2019 Superiore :St, Urban”: Opaque dark red, spicy cinnamon on the nose, tight red fruit ending with firm acids.

2020 Ripasso: Opaque medium red, closed nose of tree bark and spicy earth, spicy cherry fruit with crisp acids on the long finish.

20017 Amarone Classico “St. Urban”: Medium dark red, closed nose of dried herbs and chocolate, silky, concentrated fruit with bitter chocolate on the long finish. Nicely balanced.

Agricola Tedeschi Via Verdi 4/A, San Pietro in Cariano

Definitely not the new kid on the block, making wine since 1630. They graciously opened the tasting room for me and poured an extensive selection of their excellent wines.

2019 Superiore “Maternigo”: Light brick, red licorice and earth on the nose with silky red fruit and ending with spicy notes.

2019 Superiore Classico “La Fabriseria”: Opaque medium red, pretty perfume of spicy cigar box, silky red fruit with a bitter chocolate finish with crisp acids.

2019 Ripasso “Capitel San Rocco”: Clear medium red with a brick rim, barnyard and spicy potpourri on the nose, silky red licorice fruit with leather notes on the well-balanced finish.

2019 Amarone “Marne 180”: Opaque dark red, dark chocolate and chalk on the nose, chewy and firm red fruit with a long finish.

2016 Amarone Classico Riserva “Monte Olmi”: Opaque dark red with a brick rim, tar, black leather and sandlewood on the nose, concentrated black fruit, silky and elegant and nicely balanced.

Agricola Nicolis Via Villa Girardi 29, San Pietro in Cariano

And yet another family run operation.

2020 Classico: Medium purple, crushed red fruit and mint on the nose, dusty fruit with a bitter almond finish.

2019 Ripasso “Seccal”: Clear medium red, crushed rocks and red leather on the nose, dusty red fruit ending with mouth coating tannins.

2016 Amarone Classico: Opaque dark red, ripe, sweet, port like nose, ripe fruit with teeth coating tannins, dry finish.

2013 Amarone “Ambrosan”: Opaque dark red with a brick rim, toast and green wood on the nose, silky red fruit followed by mouth coating tannins.

Brunelli Winery Via Cariano 10, San Pietro in Cariano

Winery in the heart of the Classico subregion, their wine cellar has been around since 1700.

2018 Ripasso: Light brick, tar and leather on the nose, silky, dusty dark fruit, nicely balanced.

2018 Campo del Maestro: A blend of nine grapes, medium brick, sweet red fruit and black pepper on the nose, silky red fruit with roast meat and mushrooms notes, good grip and a long finish.

2019 Amarone Classico: Clear light red, sweet strawberry jam and smoke on the nose, tight, silky red fruit.

2017 Amarone Riserva “Campo Inferi”: Opaque brick, perfume of black cherry and black licorice, silky ripe fruit but not overly ripe, with red licorice notes on the finish.

Zyme Winery Via Ca’ del Pipa 1, San Pietro in Cariano

This is the outlier winey in the area, from the name which means “yeast” in Greek, to the circular elevator in the tasting room and the wines.

2018 Superiore: Opaque light brick, dried herbs on the nose, juicy red fruit with a nice balance.

2019 “Kairos”: A red blend made with 15! grape varietals. Clear medium red, juicy black licorice on the nose, juicy and chewy black fruit with some green notes on the finish.

2017 Amarone Classico: Clear medium brick, big toasty notes on the nose, juicy black leather fruit with a nice grip and balanced.

Ca La Bionda Via Bionda 4, Marano di Valpolicella

Very low key winery that was recommended to me by another winery, a drive up into the hills where the hospitable gentleman (owner?) sat down and gave me a private tasting.

2021 Classico: Clear light red, young red juicy fruit, a fresh wine with a nice grip.

2019 Superiore “Casalvegri”: Medium red with a pretty perfume of tar and leather, silky red fruit with a long and balanced finish.

2019 Ripasso “Malavoglia”: Clear medium to light red, black licorice and dried herbs on the nose, silky, medium red fruit with a great balance. Tasty wine.

2016 Amarone Classico: Opaque medium red, crush spicy red fruit on the nose, juicy, chocolate fruit with nice acidity at the end.

Passport To Eataly

Eataly is the “world’s largest artisanal Italian food and beverage marketplace”. It’s like an Italian food theme park with Italian themed groceries, restaurants and bars.

They also host cooking classes, wine and beverage classes and about once a month they throw an in-store party.

The standard formula for these parties is to offer 40+ Italian wines with several Italian inspired appetizers, a jazz band and plenty of people having a good time. Usually there is a theme either with the wine or the time of year. On March 25th at the downtown location (101 Liberty Street) that theme was Passport to Italy.

At this “Fiesta” the wines were mainly from the South of Italy with selections from Calabria, Sicily, Basilicata, Puglia, Molise, Lazio, Campania and Abruzzo.

A couple of the standout appetizers were the Vesuvio Con Salsiccia E Cime di Rape; house made pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe. Another was Spado alla Siciliano; Swordfish in a sauce of tomatoes, raisons, olives and pignoli nuts.

As usual it was filled with people enjoying the wine, food and music.

Benvenuto Brunello NY 2022

The Consortium of the Brunello di Montalcino was founded in 1967 and is an organization of large and small winemaking firms that keep an eye on quality control for the wines of the region. They also are active in promoting the wines of Montalcino both in Italy and abroad.

Brunello is produced in the same region of Italy, (Tuscany) as its famous cousin Chianti. Though the town of Montalcino is old, Brunello didn’t become the wine we know today until the mid 1800’s while Chianti as a wine has been around for centuries.

Most of the wines at this tasting were the non Riservas from the 2017 vintage since they just have been released this past January. Most were the regular Brunello with a handful of single vineyard wines from that vintage thrown in. There were also a few Riservas from other years as well.

This was a trade only event and was held at Midtown Loft & Terrace located at 267 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

I thought that most of the wines had elegant fruit but at this point the tannins are a little hard edged which is not surprising for these young wines. I would like to revisit them after a couple of more years in the bottle.

2017 Vintage

Campgiovani: Medium brick, pretty nose of violet, tar and graphite, silky bright fruit ending in firm tannins.

Camigiano: Medium brick, closed nose of plum, silky, earthy fruit ending with silky, firm tannins.

Capanna: Clear medium brick with an amber rim, Asian spices on the nose, bright red leather fruit notes ending with crisp acids.

Carpazo “Vigna La Casa”: Clear medium red, closed nose, bright red fruit ending with firm, teeth coating tannins at the end.

Factoria dei Barbi “Vigna del Fiore”: Clear medium red sweet nose of red leather and tar, dusty red fruit with firm tannins.

Il Poggione: Medium to light red, slate and leather on the nose, crushed red fruit with tight tannins and some tart notes on the finish.

La Fiorita: Medium brick, red leather on the nose, silky fruit with teeth coating tannins.

Palazzo: Clear medium red, perfume of tar and cinamon spice, silky red fruit with some earth notes and firm tannins.

Pian Delle Vigne: Clear medium brick with an amber rim, closed nose of crushed raspberry, chewy fruit with fresh herbs on the finish with a nice balance.

Pinino: Medium brick in color, burnt bacon on the nose, cherry red fruit, drinking nicely.

San Polo “Vignavecchia”: Clear medium red, brick rim, funky earth on the nose, chewy dark chocolate fruit with silky tannins.

Tenuta Fanti “Vallocchio”: Medium red, ripe fruit notes on the nose, chewy and ending tannic.

Tenute Silvano Nardi: Opaque medium red, bright red berries and bacon fat on the nose, silky red fruit ending with firm tannins.

Val Di Suga: Light brick, crushed rocks on the nose, silky, earthy with crunchy tannins, nice balance with a touch of heat at the end.

Verbena “Le Pope”: Medium to dark red, pretty nose of graphite, tar and dark chocolate, dark red fruit with tart cherry notes on the firm finish.

Other Vintages:

2015 Col D’Orca Riserva “Poggio Al Vento”: Clear medium brick, perfume of violets and roast meat, silky, earth notes on the fruit and balanced tannins.

2016 Col D’Orca “Vigna Nastagio”: Clear medium red, tar, graphite and some barnyard on the nose, chewy with crunchy tannins.

2016 Corte Pavone Riserva “Poggio Molino Al Vento”: Clear medium red, tar, black cherry and dark chocolate on the nose, dense, silky red fruit with firm acids and a long finish.

2015 La Rasina Riserva “Il Divasco”: Medium red brick, nice perfume of sweet tar and roasted nuts, silky fruit with toasted notes ending with firm tannins.

Slow Wine Festival at Eataly

Eataly is on a roll with consecutive wine events at both their locations so far this year. On February 2nd they held the Slow Wine Festival New York at Eataly downtown which is located at 101 Liberty Street in lower Manhattan.

Slow Wine is part of the Slow Food concept. It’s an Italian wine organization with a commitment to sustainable agriculture and whose mission is “good, clean and fair” wines.

The trade portion of the event was held in the afternoon with a consumer tasting later that evening, I attended in the afternoon which I was told was a larger event with more wines than the late consumer tasting.

It was a huge event with over 100 wines poured. The majority were Italian with all the regions from North to South represented with wines in keeping with the Slow Wine concept.

Along with the Barolos, Chiantis, Brunellos, Amarones and other world-famous Italian varietals, I made a point to sample wines made from unusual or rarely seen varietals such as Freisa, Colorino, Ciliegiolo, Grignolino and even an Italian Tempranillo.

There were a few tables of New World wine from California, Oregon and Long Island where I sampled some nice wines from Adamus Winery, Burgess Vineyards, Domum Vineyards and Left Coast Winery to name a few.

Brunello Camp Eataly

During the last week of January, Eataly Flatiron held Brunello Camp which were a series of Brunello themed events. On Thursday January 28th I attended their walk-around tasting of Brunello wines. Eataly Flatiron is located at 200 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

Brunello is a red wine produced in the Piedmont region of Italy along with its famous cousin Chianti though Brunello came into being much later, courtesy of Clemente Santi in the mid 1800’s. The differences between the two is that for Brunello, it must be 100% exclusively from the Sangiovese Grosso variety which is a large berry form of Sangiovese and the aging requirements. Regular Brunello must be aged for five years before release while the Riservas for six years. In the meantime, to have some income flowing into the wineries, they produce a younger version of their Brunello, Rosso di Montalcino which are available after one year of aging.

It was a snowy evening this Thursday, a perfect time to spend indoors drinking wine. The event was open to the consumer and featured over 50 wines. Most were from the 2016’s and 2017’s vintages which were back to back blockbuster vintages. There were also a few older vintages poured. There was a table in the seperate wine shop that poured a handful of extra older wines (20+years).

Most of the wine tastings have been held at Eataly dowtown and this was the Flatiron stores first wine event in a couple of years. I don’t think that they weren’t expecting the size of the crowd that showed up as we were jammed into a space literally cheek to cheek at the tasting tables. Still, I didn’t have to wait too long for a pour and Management promised to use a larger space next time around.

Coming from a couple of great vintages there were some very nice, elegant wines with good acidity being poured. The only disappointment I had that evening was at the table in the wine shop. Brunella has a reputation as age worthy wines, but I found most of them tasting old.

Some of the producers I sampled:

2004 Tenuta Frigiali2012 Fuligni
2013 Il Palazzone2013 Lisini
2014 Il Paradiso2012 Barbi
2015 Podere Le Ripi “Amore Magia”2015 Le Ragnaie
2016 Col d’Orca2015 Vigna Nastagio
2016 Fanti2017 Argiano
2016 Campogio Vanni2016 Collemattoni
2016 Mastrojanni2016 Castel Giocondo
2016 Pietrosso2016 Antinori Pian delle Vigne
2016 Ferrero2016 Barbi
2015 La Togata2016 Poggia Cerrino
2016 San Polino2016 Molino di Sant Antimo
2016 Collemattioni2015 Fuligni

Chianti Lovers U.S. Tour 2022

On January 11th I attended the Chianti Lovers U. S. tour. This was another wine event promoted by the I.E.E.M. (International Event & Exhibition Management) and showcased member wineries of the Consorzio Vino Chianti, an organization established in 1927 that oversees the regulations for the seven subdistricts of the Chianti region.

The event was for members of the trade and was held at the Eventi Hotel at 851 7th Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

The event consisted of a seminar in which we blind tasted a horizontal of 2017 Riserva Chianti from each of the seven subdistricts. That was followed by a walk-around tasting.

Since it’s the job of the I.E.E.M. to promote the wines and winereis, the wineries pouring today are small producers that are looking for exposure and a Distributer so there weren’t any trophy wines but a very good selection of off the radar wines from the various sub districts of the Chianti D.O.C.G.

This was supposed to be the first of two Chianti tasting with a Chianti Classico event for the next week but that event was postponed.

Seminar: Horizontal Tasting of 2017 Chianti D.O.C.G. Riserva (Tasted Blind)

Pietro Becconcini (Colline Pisane)

Medium brick, tar, fennel and crushed rock on the nose, tight with some vegetal notes on the lighter finish.

Cantagallo Il Fondatore (Montalbano)

Dark brick in color, closed nose of tar, tree bark and herbs, medium to light bodied with a tight and dusty finish.

Poggio Del Moro (Colli Senesi)

Opaque dark brick, perfume of violets, tar and vanilla, tight and dusty ending with tongue coating tannins.

Podere Dell’ Moro (Montespertoli)

Dark red in color, camphor and crushed black fruit on the nose, starts juicy with crunchy tannins ending with firm acids and bitter almond notes on the balanced finish.

Torre Acona Badia a Corte (Fiorentini)

Clear medium brick, sweet ripe fruit on the nose, medium fruit with wood notes, bitter cherry, firm tannins ending with mouthwatering acids.

Buca Nerta (Arentini)

Opaque dark red, closed, oily nose with young silky fruit, firm, dusty tannins and firm acids.

Fattoria Selvapiana (Rufina)

Clear medium brick, perfume of sweet fruit, tar and raspberry, silky fruit with bitter cherry notes with firm tannins and acids on the finish.

Some of the producers I sampled wines from at the walk around tasting:

Cantina SorelliColle Adimari
DianellaFattoria l’Arco
Fattoria MontecchioFattoria San Michele a Torri
Fattoria UccellieraIl Palazzo
Podere dell’AnselmoTenuta Coeli Aula
Tenuta di CastelfalfiVal di Botte
ValvirginioGrignano

Comparing Italy & Spain

On December 5th, I attended the “Taste the Difference; Quality Wines From The Heart of Europe” wine event.

It was a tasting for members of the Trade that showcased wines from two of the classic wine producing countries of the world, Italy and Spain.

What is interesting about these two wine producing countries is while they grow the classic French varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, etc. they also grow unique varietals that seen to flourish in those two countries such as Sangiovese and Nebbiolo in Italy and Tempranillo and Macabeu in Spain to name just a couple from each country.

The tasting was held at the Altman Building, an event space located at 135 West 18th Street in Manhattan.

It was an interesting tasting and I was able to sample wines from many of the wine districts in each country. I was also able to sample a couple of obscure wine varietals from Italy, Enantio and Albarossa for the first time.

A few that I sampled:

Italy

2015 Tenuta Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany): Clear medium brick, tar and red leather on the nose, silky red fruit with firm citrus notes on the finish.

2015 Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany): 95% Sangiovese. Dark red with a perfume of tar and roast meat, chewy black fruit with a nice grip on the balanced finish.

2015 Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione “Millenio” (Tuscany): Clear dark red, tar and camphor on the nose, tight, silky fruit ending with smoky tannins.

2016 Ruffino “Alauda” (Tuscany): 47% Cabernet Franc, 43% Merlot, 10% Colorino. Dark red to black, slate and bacon fat on the nose, bright red fruit, nicely balances with a moderate to long finish.

2017 Goretti “L’Arringtore” (Colli Perugini): 60% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot, 10% Ciliegiolo. Cloudy dark red, smoke and earth on the nose, chewy and smoky fruit, tart.

2018 Societa Agricola Roeno “Enantio” (Veneto): Made from the obscure Enantio varietal, opaque dark red to black, smoke, mint and toast on the nose, chewy, chunky and juicy bitter black cherry fruit with a nice grip at the end.

2018 Dezzani “Albarossa” (Piedmont): Obscure Albarossa varietal. Opaque dark red, roast meat and crushed rocks on the nose, juicy dark fruit with a bright citrus finish.

2018 Societa Agricola i Veroni Chianti Rufina Riserva (Tuscany): 100% Sangiovese. Dark purple with a brick rim, earthy notes of crushed red berries, sweet red fruit with bitter cherry notes on the finish with firm tannins.

Spain

2015 Celler Laurona “Pythagora” (Montsant): 100% Garnatxa Negra. Cloudy mediium red, crushed ripe black fruit on the nose with chewy very ripe fruit.

2018 Herencia Altes “La Pilosa” (Terra Alta): 100% Peluda Grenache. Clear medium red, crushed red fruit on the nose with some earth notes, juicy tart red fruit.

2018 Terra Remota “Camino” (Emporda): Red Blend. Black in color, closed nose with some crushed rock notes, thick and chewy with gun metal notes on the fruit, firm grip at the finish.

2019 Castell del Remel “Gotim Bru” (Costers del Segre): 35% Grenache, 35% Temprinillo, 15% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Clear medium red, roast meat and crushed red fruit on the nose with chewy bright red fruit with firm acids.

2019 Clos Pachem “Pachem” (Priorat): 100% Grenache. Clear mediuim red, very closed nose, juicy red fruit with nice acidity.

2020 La Nit de les Garnatxes “Slate” (Montsant): 100% Grenache. Clear medium red, green herbs on the nose, juicy red fruit with crushed rock notes on the firm finish with moderate acidity.

2020 La Nit de les Garnatxes “Limestone” (Montsant): 100% Grenache. Light purple in color with crushed red fruit and green herbs on the nose, juicy, tart.

Milano Wine Week Chianti Tasting

Milano Wine Week was held on October 2-10. It was a series of wine related events based in Milan, Italy. One of the many events that week was the International Master Class Programs which was a series of classes held in various cities around the world that was coordinated with a live video feed from Milan.

In New York City those classes were held at Il Gattopardo restaurant located at 15 West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan.

On October 4th I attended a tasting sponsored by the Consorzio Vino Chianti, “Chianti D.O.C.G.: Quintessence of Tuscany”. It was a blind tasting of seven 2019 Chianti from each of the seven sub districts in Chianti, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Colli Aretini, Chianti Rufina, Chianti Montalbano and Chianti Montespertoli. Chianti Classico, another sub district was granted its own DOCG.

All of the wines were from the 2019 vintage and were tasted blind and at this point still young.

Artimino Chianti Montalbano

Opaque dark purple with red candy, roast meat and wood notes on the nose, tight, red citrus and red candy fruit notes ending with crisp and crunchy acids.

Tenuta San Vito Chianti Fiorentini

Opaque dark purple, tree bark, black licorice and cooked vegetable on the nose, tight, black licorice and cherry on the tight fruit with bitter almonds on the finish.

Badia Di Morrona Chianti Pisane

Opaque dark purple with a sweet perfume of toasted oak on the nose, red licorice on the fruit with firm acids.

Poggio Al Vento Chianti Senesi

Opaque dark purple, red cherry and tree bark on the nose, firm dusty leather fruit, balanced with a tarry finish.

Podere Dell’Anselmo Chianti Montespertoli

Dark purple to black in color with sweet tar, earth and toast notes on the nose, silky fruit with graphite notes, good balance with a good grip on the moderate to long finish.

Il Palazzo Chianti Arentini

Opaque dark purple, sweet roast meat on the nose, dusty fruit with green herbs on the finish with a firm grip on the end.

Fattoria Lavaccio Chianti Rufina

Opaque dark purple, closed nose of violets and red leather, black cherry notes on the fruit with a firm, dusty grip at the end with bitter almond notes.

Eataly End of Summer Festa

Eataly is a chain of large space supermarkets that got its start in a former vermouth factory in Turin, Italy (which I’ve been to). They’ve expanded worldwide opening stores in North America in Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boston and Toronto.

The first New York City store was opened in 2010 in the Toy Building on 5th Avenue in the Flatiron District of Manhattan and became an immediate success. A second store, Eataly Downtown was opened at 101 Liberty Street across from the Freedom Tower.

Periodically, at the Downtown location they host a food and wine festival and, after a year long hiatus, hosted the End of Summer Wine & Food Festa on September 17th. The Festa featured over 40 Italian wines that were paired with appetizer portions of food.

The Festa was held in the store with various stations of food and wine scattered around the store. This made for an experience that had you walking around the store to sample the various wines and food. This was much more fun experience than having everyone crammed into one room.

Some wines I sampled:

2020 Firriato Etna Bianco2018 Domenico Clericco Langhe Nebbiolo Capisme
2013 Cesani Merlot “Cellori”2020 Marziano Abbona Roero Arneis “Tistin”
2020 Tornatore Etna Bianco 2019 Allegrini Valpolicella
2017 Allegrini La Grola2018 Poggop al Tesoro Toscana Mediterra
2019 Tredeberri Barbera d’Alba2014 Il Pavone Barolo
2016 Il Pavone Langhe Nebbiolo2016 Il Pavone Barbera d’Alba Superiore
2016 Pasque Amarone della Valpoicella2015 Villa Cafaggio Cortaccio Cabernet Sauvignon
2017 Castello d’Ama San LorenzoNV Il Mosnel Franciacorta
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Eats:

Nodini Di Mozzarella E PestoParmigiano Reggiano E Prosciutto
Focaccia ClassicaFocaccia Rossa
AranciniBresaola E Rucola
Arista Di MaialeAgnolotti Con Tartufo
Castagnole Con GelatoTiramisu Della Nonna

I.E.E.M. Chianti Classico Collection

On May 20 & 21st the I.E.E.M. (International Event & Exhibition Management) held another of its series of tastings where they showcase a particular wine to wine professionals and look for importers/distributor for the wines. This time around it was the Chianti Classico Collection. They were wines from the Black Rooster (gallo nero) Chianti Classico DOCG in Tuscany.

There are seven subzones in the Chianti DOCG, Colli Arentini, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colli Pisane, Rufina, Montespertoli and Montalano. Classico was a subzone but became its own DOCG in 1996.

This was a live tasting but modified for current conditions. You sat at a table and via smartphone would order 4 wines from their 200+ bottle list on hand and a Sommelier would come over and pour the wines.

It was a vertical tasting of the 2015-2019 vintages and all of the three quality tiers were represented including Gran Selezione, Riserva and the basic Classico. The formula for Chianti has changed in recent years and they are no longer required to use a small percentage of white grapes and they can now use foreign varietals such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

In general, of the five vintages I would say that the 2016’s were showing well with the strongest concentration of fruit from the vintages. The 2019’s were for the most part still young and unbalanced, these are some of my highlights.

2015 Cantina Castelvecchi “Madonnino della Pieve” Gran Selezione: Opaque dark red, pretty perfume of sweet violets, tar and dried sage, silky fruit with firm tannins on the medium to long finish.

2015 Castello di Radda “Vigna il Corno”Gran Selezione: Clear medium brick, closed nose of toasted nuts with red cherry fruit and gritty, mouth coating tannins at the end.

2015 Piemaggio “Le Fioraie”: Riserva: Clear light red, red licorice, mint and violets on the nose, earth notes on the bright fruit, firm finish.

2015 Castello di Raddo Riserva: Light brick, closed nose of cooked vegetables, juicy black licorice fruit ending with a firm and balanced long finish.

2015 Istine “Levigne” Riserva: Clear light red, closed nose of dried herbs, bright red fruit with slate and toast notes, ending with firm tannins.

2016 Agricoltori del Chianti “Contessa di Radda” Riserva: Opaque dark red with a purple rim with crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy with toasty notes on the fruit.

2016 Castello di Verrazzano Riserva: Clear dark brick in color, sweet violets and dried herbs on the nose, dusty earth on the fruit with firm tannins.

2016 Canoica a Cerreto Riserva: Clear medium red with dried leaf on the nose, tight with mouth coating tannins.

2016 Agricoltori del Chianti “Montegiachi” Riserva: Clear dark red, perfume of violets and roasted meat, concentrate dark fruit with slate notes, nice balance with dried herbs on the long finish.

2016 Castello di Radda Riserva: Clear medium red, tar, roasted nuts and camphor on the nose, juicy fruit with silky tannins, nice balance.

2017 Banfi Riserva: Opaque medium brick, pretty sweet nose, starts out with juicy fruit that drops at the end with black licorice notes.

2017 Brancaia Riserva: Clear medium red with roasted nuts on the nose, firm red fruit and a balanced finish.

2018 Badia & Coltibuono Classico: Clear light brick, pencil shavings and forest floor on the nose, delicate and light bodied.

2018 Pasolini dall’Onda “Sicelle” Classico: Clear medium red with toasted notes on the nose with silky fruit and a nice a nice balance.

2018 Castello di Radda Classico: Clear medium red, pretty nose of violets, tar, graphite with moderate to light fruit and light tannins at the end.

2019 Marchese Antinori “Peppoli” Classico: Clear light red with dried herbs on the nose, bright fruit.

2019 Felsina “Beradenga” Chianti Classico: Clear light red, bacon fat and roasted nuts on the nose, bright fruit with silky tannins.