Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva 2016
The Chianti Classico Riserva has a ruby-red hue with a trace of garnet. The nose is elegant, displaying hints of spice and fruit. This a well-structured wine with smooth tannins and a long finish.
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There’s a plethora of intense fruit here, from dark cherries and brambleberries to lifted orange rind, citrus and so much sage and lavender. Full-bodied and very layered with a wall of structured tannin and a medium-long finish. From organically grown grapes.
The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva (made with 100% Sangiovese) offers up a pretty layer of tar or crushed stone upon first nose. These tones, rather tight at the beginning, then relax and cede to plum, blackberry, spice and cured tobacco. The wine is direct and impactful in the mouth with sharp precision and a linear, fresh finish. Pair it with a steak au poivre. Some 60,000 bottles were made.
The hilltop village of Volpaia was built in the 11th century as a fortified village on the Florence-Siena border and is one of the best-preserved walled villages of its period. Just as it has been for the last 900 years, nearly the entire village is intimately involved in the production of wine and olive oil. Most of the employees of the winery live within the village walls, sheltered in houses that the Stianti Mascheroni family has restored for this very purpose. Today, the family is considered one of Italy’s leaders in organic viticulture and farming.
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.