Castello di Albola Chianti Classico 1998
This Chianti Classico best accompanies main course meat dishes made with rich sauces, every type of roasted and braised preparation, grilled red meats and game. It is also perfect with aged cheeses, particularly those with rather piquant flavors. It should be served at a temperature ranging from 61-64º F, and should be opened a couple of hours before the wine is to be served, especially if it has been aged four years or more.
The medieval village of Castello di Albola stands on the magnificent Chianti hills, in an unique location known for the charm of its history, for the evocative power of art and for the unique landscape and agrarian context of unrivalled harmony.
Once belonging to some of the most noble Tuscan Families throughout the ages, from the Acciaioli and the Samminiati to the Pazzi and the Ginori Conti, the estate has been in the care and protection of the Zonin Family for over 40 years.
Zonin Family's first task was to ensure that the vineyards would produce high quality grapes, and then to restore the outbuildings and the beautiful villa that had been built in the 16th century but maintained in its two massive towers the traces of the original mediaeval castle. In addition to the recuperation and restoration of the main villa and of the hamlet, the rural outbuildings have also been refurbished and are now used as accommodation. A new winery has also been built, in perfect harmony with the landscape.
The Zonin Family has also enlarged both the vineyards and the estate, which today covers 900 hectares, of which 125 are under vine and where there are also over 4 thousand olive trees.
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.