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The Cellar: Chianti + More

Saturday, December 15, 2012

 

On chilly December nights, reaching for the Chianti makes perfect sense.

This week’s wines brings us back to one of my favorite wine producing countries—Italy. The best thing about Italian viticulture is that while it boasts its fair share of classic wines, such as Barolo, Amarone and Chinati (just to name a few), there always seems to be something new, different and exciting to taste. This week’s selections reflects this as I taste a new release of one of my favorite reserve Chiantis from a few years ago and a white wine made from a grape varietal you don’t come across every day.

2011 Grechetto Colli Martani, Arnaldo Caprai, Italy

This week’s first wine is brought to us by Arnaldo Caprai, the same producer whose Sagrantino from a few weeks ago continues to linger on my palate. This week I will be focusing on their 2011 Grechetto from Colli

Martani in Central Italy. Grechetto is a thick-skinned grape varietal that is grown throughout Italy but has a lot of different expressions depending on where it is grown. Grechetto is one of the lower-yielding grape varietals, boasting high concentration of flavors, aromas and sugars. It is common for Grechetto to be utilized as blending grape or to make sweet wines.

At Arnaldo Caprai they make a 100% Grechetto in a dry style. It is aged 3 months in stainless steel and then finished off with 3 months of bottle aging prior to being released. This makes for a fresh, vibrant wine filled lemon and oranges on the nose, adding a good dose of minerality on the palate. This wine has some weight behind it but the bright acidity keeps it fresh. It turns slightly bitter three-quarters into the finish, but then it reverses and lingers nicely.

2009 Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva, Frescobaldi, Italy

One of the best under-$20 bottles of wines I had in 2010 was Frescobaldi’s 2007 Riserva Chianti Rufina. So, when I was offered to taste the 2009 vintage I couldn’t pass it up. Marchesi de Frescobaldi is one of Italy’s

oldest wineries, dating back to the 13th century. Today, the company presides over more than 2,500 acres of vineyard spread over nine different Estates across Tuscany. Probably the most well-known sub-region in Tuscany is Chianti, where Sangiovese constitutes the majority of plantings. While the ‘Rufina’ designation tells us that the grapes are sourced from the slightly cooler and more mountainous sub-region northeast of the ‘Classico’ region, the fact that it is a ‘Riserva’ indicates that the wines has been aged for at least 27 months.

Chianti has to be at least 70% Sangiovese and allows for up to 10% Canaiolo and up to 20% of any other approved red grape varieties—this is true for both Classicos and Riservas. Frescobaldi makes their Rufina at their 1,500-acre Castello di Nipozzano. This wine is 90% Sangiovese and 10% of Malvasia Nera, Colorino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, which is blended together and aged for 24 months in barrels followed by 3 months in bottle. This wine is a youngster displaying bright red fruit alongside black pepper and an herbal note. It is pretty tight right so allow it to breathe for a few hours.

Enjoy!

Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at [email protected]. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook and sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.

 

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