Terrabianca Chianti Classico Riserva Croce 2008
Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy
Deep, dark ruby, the color first seduces you, the delicate bouquet of vanilla, red fruit and spice reels you in, the soft, round, layered, extracted and persistent palate just lingers and whispers its infinite nuances of flavor and texture.
Here is a wine to make you understand what Chianti Classico's all about, right from the 97% Sangiovese / 3% Canaiolo blend down to the 15 months to 1 years in Slavonian oak - yielding the perfect fine-tuning touch with another 6 months' cellaring, when Croce (which takes its name from an ancient cross in the vineyard) continues to mellow and focus in the bottle.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2008 Chianti Classico Riserva Croce is gorgeous. This is an understated vintage for the Croce, but all of the elements are in the right place. Dark red cherries, flowers, mint, licorice are some of the many nuances that come together in the glass. There is enough freshness and vibrancy for the 2008 to develop nicely for at least several years. Here, too, the French oak is present, but there is enough fruit to provide balance."
The first document to mention Terrabianca is dated 1085: two centuries before Dante. Located just over 35 miles from Florence towards Siena, in the heart of Chianti Classico, its gently rolling country is much the same as it was in the Middle Ages. The Guldeners have 'only' been here since 1987; although in this relatively short period of time, they have propelled the estate to the highest quality levels, entirely restoring the seventeenth-century homestead, constructing a brand new winery, and restructuring the Terrabianca range.
In 1997, the couple purchased a second property, some 44 miles southwest of the original Terrabianca nucleus: Il Tesoro di Terrabianca ("Treasure of Terrabianca"). Its 262 acres bring the Guldeners' total acreage to 334, and are a mere 6 miles from the sea, in Maremma - the new frontier of Tuscan viniculture. This recent acquisition focuses on the olive oils (from over 4,000 Frantoio, Moraiolo and Leccino olive trees, many of which some 300 years old!) and Sangiovese grapes that go into a youthful and appealing 100% varietal, La Fonte. Packaging and label for this wine (see photo) have been kept distinct from the rest of the line, although the product itself is also styled by Vittorio Fiore, Terrabianca wine-maker from day one. View all Terrabianca 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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