Fattorie Melini Chianti Borgha d'Elsa 2010
Fattorie Melini is the top range of Tuscan wines from Melini, a historic Chianti estate since 1705. The Fattorie line uses only 100% estate-grown grapes from Chianti’s most renowned vineyards, creating benchmark wines such as “La Selvanella”, the first single vineyard wine in Chianti. Alessandro Zanette represents the new generation of winemaking at Fattorie Melini, continuing in the footsteps of Marco Galeazzo and the patriarch and esteemed oenologist Nunzio Capurso. The winery, located in Gaggiano di Poggibonsi, sits carved out of a steep 1,800-foot hillside; benefitting from this design, multi-stage fermenters accomplish the progressive phases of vinification by gravity rather than forced pumping. Old Limousin casks rather than the more common Slavonian are used for aging each of the Chiantis.
Famous for its food-friendly, approachable wines and their storied history, Chianti is perhaps the best-known wine region of Italy. This appellation within Tuscany has it all: sweeping views of rolling hills, endless vineyards, the warm Mediterranean sun, hearty cuisine and a rich artistic heritage. Chianti includes seven subzones: Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Rufina, Montalbano, Colli Senesi, Colline Pisane, Colli Aretini and Montespertoli, with area beyond whose wines can be labeled simply as Chianti.
However the best quality comes from Chianti Classico, in the heart of the Chianti zone, which is no longer a subzone of the region at all but has been recognized on its own since 1996. The Classico region today is delimited by the confines of the original Chianti zone protected since the 1700s.
Chianti wines are made primarily of Sangiovese, with other varieties comprising up to 25-30% of the blend. Generally, local varieties are used, including Canaiolo, Colorino and Mammolo, but international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah are allowed as long as they are grown within the same zone.
Basic, value-driven Chianti is simple and fruit-forward and makes a great companion to any casual dinner. At its apex, Chianti is full bodied but with good acidity, firm tannins, and notes of tart red fruit, dried herbs, fennel, balsamic and tobacco. Chianti Riserva, typically the top bottling of a producer, can benefit handsomely from a decade or two of cellaring.