Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva 2017
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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Aromas of blue flower, spiced plum, new leather and sunbaked earth form the inviting nose on this pure Sangiovese. Made with organically farmed grapes, the smooth, savory palate doles out fleshy black cherry, baking spice and chopped mint alongside velvety tannins that give it a polished texture.
If you have a platter of fatty porchetta and are looking for a worthy Tuscan wine for that party, look no further. Packaged in a black label, the Volpaia 2017 Chianti Classico Riserva Castello di Volpaia (made with organic fruit) does a great job of showing purity and freshness in what was a challenging vintage for sure. This Riserva reveals delineated tones of cherry and dark berry with crushed limestone, blue flowers and some of the wild herbs and bramble that I often recognize in wines from this corner of Tuscany. I happily recommend it to all Sangiovese enthusiasts.
Volpaia's Riserva is typically selected from the estate's highest parcels reaching 600 metres of elevation. As the hot 2017 vintage yielded small bunches and small berry with ripe skins but less ripe seeds, fermentation and maceration times were shortened for a gentler extraction. Indeed, this is quite soft with sweet, plump cherry buoyed by rather snappy acidity. Some dried floral nuances lend intrigue. Overall polished and polite but not for the long-haul.
Castello di Volpaia is located in an 11th century village that bears the same name. It sits on a hilltop just north of the town of Radda in Chianti, 2,024 feet above sea level, in the heart of the Chianti Classico region. One of the most historical wineries of the region, Volpaia is owned by the Mascheroni-Stianti family and benefits from some of the highest altitude southern exposure vineyards of the area, delivering certified organic Sangiovese-based wines of finesse and elegance with a terroir approach.
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.