Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2015
A well-balanced, flavorful wine that is especially good for the vintage. It offers attractive red cherries and berries and spicy, garrique and lapsang suchong smoky tea notes on the nose and palate. It has a silky attack, a well-balanced palate and a persistent finish.
Founded in 1865, Bibbiano is located in the historic Chianti region, in the municipality of Castellina in Chianti, overlooking the Elsa Valley towards the castle of Monteriggioni. Today’s owners, Tommaso and Federico Marrocchesi Marzi, are the fifth generation. Surrounded by vast olive groves consisting of over three thousand trees, Bibbiano’s vineyards cover an area of about 25 hectares, at an altitude ranging from 270 to 300 meters, with enviable exposure and excellent microclimate. The vineyards consist of plants of Sangiovese and Sangiovese Grosso grapes as well as a smaller quantity of Colorino.
Tenuta di Bibbiano was the longest standing consultancy of famed winemaker Giulio Gambelli, also famous for his long relationships with Montevertine and Case Basse di Soldera. Their decades-long association with Gambelli, under whom Bibbiano’s current winemaker trained, still lives on in their traditional approach to winemaking and their commitment to 100%-pure Sangiovese wines. Harvest is still done manually and grapes carefully selected, with different vinification procedures according to the position of the slopes on which the grapes were grown. They are committed to replanting vineyards using wood poles and columns and by planting only autochthonous grapes. Bibbiano is committed to promoting conservative renovation of the farms, in order to not lose their architectural and human heritage and its very ancient history. The estate was certified organic in 2011.
Tommaso Marrocchesi Marzi is a leading voice in the push to establish formal village appellations in Chianti Classico and is a great supporter of the new Gran Selezione category, which requires wines labeled as such to be made exclusively from estate fruit and bottled at the origin. With the 2014 vintage, Bibbiano raised their Montornello Riserva to a Gran Selezione, lowering production significantly. The Montornello, now a limited production single-vineyard Riserva, comes from the northern face of the estate where calcareous clay and stony alberese soils give the wine its distinctive acidity and red-fruited profile. Capannino continues on as a Gran Selezione Riserva, featuring the dense structure and rich, black fruits that result from these reddish-brown, clay-rich soils planted exclusively to Sangiovese Grosso. This year also sees the inaugural release of a Chianti Classico Riserva, made from exclusively from the Sangiovese da Chianti clone grown on the Montornello side of the property and selected after the very best bunches are picked for the Montornello single-vineyard bottling. Aged 18 months in 50/50 used tonneaux and cement tanks, it replaces the price point vacated by the elevation of the Montornello and offers outstanding quality for the price.
One of the first wine regions anywhere to be officially recognized and delimited, Chianti Classico is today what was originally defined simply as Chianti. Already identified by the early 18th century as a superior zone, the official name of Chianti was proclaimed upon the area surrounding the townships of Castellina, Radda and Gaiole, just north of Siena, by Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany in an official decree in 1716.
However, by the 1930s the Italian government had appended this historic zone with additonal land in order to capitalize on the Chianti name. It wasn’t until 1996 that Chianti Classico became autonomous once again when the government granted a separate DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) to its borders. Ever since, Chianti Classico considers itself no longer a subzone of Chianti.
Many Classicos are today made of 100% Sangiovese but can include up to 20% of other approved varieties grown within the Classico borders. The best Classicos will have a bright acidity, supple tannins and be full-bodied with plenty of ripe fruit (plums, black cherry, blackberry). Also common among the best Classicos are expressive notes of cedar, dried herbs, fennel, balsamic or tobacco.
Among Italy's elite red grape varieties, Sangiovese has the perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness and is responsible for the best red wines of Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it is also the main grape in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Somm Secret—Sangiovese doubles under the alias, Nielluccio, on the French island of Corsica where it produces distinctly floral and refreshing reds and rosés.