Ricasoli Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio (375ML) 2007
Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy
If you visit only one winery, Castello di Brolio should be it since this is not only one of the oldest wineries the world, but also where Chianti wine was "born." Although the production of wine in Tuscany dates back to Etruscan times, the enormously wealthy Ricasoli family, owners of the Castello di Brolio since 1167, are responsible for the special blending of grapes we now consider "Chianti Classico." At one time the enormously powerful Ricasoli family owned most of the land and castles lying between Florence and Siena. The remote family castle, Castello di Brolio, had largely been abandoned when Bettino Ricasoli decided to move into it (so the story goes) after becoming jealous at a winter ball in Florence when his young bride danced a bit too closely to one of her young admirers. Thinking it best to take his wife away from temptation, he rebuilt the huge, remote, crenellated castle, replanted the vineyards, and experimented with the blending of grapes, coming up with the original formula that forms the basis of what is known today as Chianti Classico.
Wine Spectator - "A powerful and rich red, with blackberry, milk chocolate and cherry character. Full and soft."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2007 Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio offers up rich, textured dark fruit in a succulent style that is very appealing. French oak gives the Castello di Brolio notable volume and body, in addition to an attractive smokiness that works quite nicely in this vintage. The Castello di Brolio can be enjoyed today for its forward fruit or cellared for another decade or so. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2020."
The House of Ricasoli has had an indelible impact on the history and quality of Chianti. According to Burton Anderson, "it is the world's oldest winery," having produced wines since 1141. Not only did an early Baron help create the appellation system, but in 1874, Baron Bettino Ricasoli (The "Iron Baron") developed the Sangiovese-based formula that came to be known as the official blend for Chianti.
After a few years of foreign ownership in the 60s and 70s, the Ricasoli winery is back in Italian hands -in fact, Francesco Ricasoli, the 32nd Baron of the original family, gained control in 1993. He has replanted several vineyards with improved clones, has improved the vinification technology, and has invested in new cooperage.
Barone Ricasoli is a commercial group that owns several estates throughout Tuscany. At its winery, it vinifies its own and other estates' wines, including those of Castello di Brolio. The Ricasoli family continues to show its commitment to quality and innovation. It was a leader of the Super Tuscan movement, with the production of its award-winning Casalferro. It produces a full range of Tuscan wines, ranging from Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG to the newest addition to the line, Formulae, a 100% Sangiovese aged in American oak casks. View all Ricasoli Wines
About TuscanyView a map of Tuscany wineries (TUSS-can-ee) Sangiovese. Most of the wine coming from Tuscany is made from some clone of this varietal, but a growing trend, started by the renegade winemakers of those Super Tuscans, is to incorporate more international varietals.
Notable FactsThe most well known sub-districts of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (note that Montepulciano here refers to the local village, not the grape variety found in the Italian region of Abruzzi). Wine labeled from these regions is DOC-regulated and Sangiovese-based blends. Quality wine from these DOC areas has been on the rise for decades, with top-notch winemakers and wineries shedding the low-quality image once held for Tuscan wine by producing consistently outstanding bottlings that range from deliciously drinkable to highly ageable. Newer to the scene are regions like Bohlgeri and the Maremma, home to of what are now termed "Super-Tuscans," named for the wine coming from the Tuscany area, but not following all of the DOC or DOCG laws required in Italy. In the 1970's, some pioneer winemakers began buying land outside of Chianti and Montalcino, and planting not only Sangiovese, but also international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine they produced only fit into the lowest Italian category of "vina da tavola," but the winemakers sold the wine for high prices, creating an almost cult following, and spurning a new wine category called IGT.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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