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Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 1996

Sangiovese from Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
  • WS88
0% ABV
  • JS91
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  • WS91
  • RP91
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  • WE92
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  • WS90
  • WS92
  • D95
  • JS92
  • RP91
  • W&S90
  • WS90
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • JS92
  • RP92
  • WS92
  • RP90
  • RP91
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Winemaker Notes

Color: Medium ruby.

Bouquet: Sweet.

Palate: Elegant and robust. Considered to be the finest example of Chianti Classico. It is the barometer by which all Tuscan wines are judged.

Recommended with: Pasta, pizza, meat dishes and a variety of cheeses.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 88
Wine Spectator
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Castello di Monsanto

Castello di Monsanto

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Castello di Monsanto, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
Image of winery

In 1961 Fabrizio Bianchi, a successful textile manufacturer from Milan, purchased Castello di Monsanto and, in so doing, realized a long-held dream. Captivated by the beauty of Tuscany and convinced of the property's winemaking potential, Bianchi undertook the complete restoration of the vineyards and winery, while his wife, Giuliana, oversaw the restoration of the villa. Bianchi has relentlessly pursued the highest standards of quality, with particular emphasis on grape selection, natural vinification and a judicious use of technology.

Famous for its food-friendly, approachable wines and their storied history, Chianti is perhaps the best-known wine region of Italy. This sub-zone of Tuscany has it all—sweeping views of undulating hills, the hot Mediterranean sun, hearty cuisine, and a rich artistic heritage. Historically packaged in short, round, straw-covered bottles known as “fiaschi” and containing insipid red liquid, Chianti today is typically not your Italian grandfather’s pizza wine. The heart of the Chianti zone is known as Chianti Classico, as the region has expanded its boundaries over time to capitalize on the wine’s fame, thus diluting its reputation. Within Chianti there are seven other subzones with unique characteristics, including Colli Senesi, Colli Fiorentini, and Chianti Rufina.

Chianti wines are made primarily of Sangiovese, with other varieties comprising up to 20% of the blend. Generally, local varieties are used, including Canaiolo, Mammolo, and Marzemino, but international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah have also been approved in more recent years. Basic, inexpensive Chianti is simple and fruit-forward and makes a great companion to any casual dinner involving red sauce. At its apex, it is savory and rustic with high acidity, firm tannins, and notes of tart red fruit, dried herbs, fennel, salami, balsamic vinegar, and smoky tobacco. Chianti Riserva, typically the top bottling of a producer, can benefit handsomely from a decade or two of cellaring.

Sangiovese

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The perfect intersection of bright fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is the backbone variety in Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Elsewhere throughout Italy, it can make inexpensive wines for daily consumption ranging from inoffensive to deliciously easy. On the French island of Corsica, under the name Nielluccio, it produces excellent bright and refreshing red and rosé wines with a personality of their own. Sangiovese has also enjoyed moderate popularity in California and Washington State over the last few decades.

In the Glass

Sangiovese is a medium-bodied red with savory flavors of tart cherry, plum, tomato, fresh tobacco, anise, thyme, oregano, and dried earth. High-quality, well-aged examples will take on notes of smoke, clay pot, leather, gamey meat, potpourri, and dried fruits. Corsican Nielluccio is distinguished by a subtle perfume of dried flowers.

Perfect Pairings

Sangiovese is the ultimate pizza and pasta red—its high acidity, moderate alcohol, and grainy tannins create an affinity with tomato-based dishes, spicy meats, and anything off the barbecue.

Sommelier Secret

Although it is the star variety of Tuscany, cult-classic “Super-Tuscan” wines may contain no Sangiovese at all! Since the 1970s, local winemakers have been producing big, bold wines (with price tags to match) that are typically monovarietal or a blend of one or more of several international varieties—usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Syrah—with or without Sangiovese.

SOU32898_1996 Item# 10493