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Luiano Chianti Classico 2012
In 1959 Alberto Palombo, a Neapolitan textile merchant, and his wife Licia, were so enchanted by Luiano and its history that they abandoned the city and purchased the property to carry on its long standing tradition of vine growing and winemaking.
In 1996, Antonio, Alberto’s son, followed suit trading his career in banking for a life in the vineyards. He soon began to restore the vineyards and and the cellar, establishing the property as a modern winery. In 2003, the third generation of the Palombo family joined the family business as well. Together with his children Alessandro and Felicia, Antonio has committed to preserving Luiano’s legacy while ushering in innovations.
Twenty hectares are planted to both native and international grape varietals, predominantly Sangiovese. The vines are positioned at an average altitude of 300 meters above the sea level and benefit from the fertile, mineral-rich soil along the banks of the nearby Greve River. Luiano’s 2nd generation team of viticulturalists, born and raised in the Tuscan countryside as extended members of the Palombo family, possess in-depth knowledge of these vineyard sites gained from working alongside their parents and care for the vineyards as though they were their own.
The wines are produced in accordance with the traditions and regulations of the Chianti Classico DOCG.
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 for its superiority, 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’s Dalmasso commission added land to this historic zone 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 is therefore 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, tobacco, dried herbs, fennel, balsamic or tobacco.
The perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is among Itaaly's elite red grape varieties 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
Elsewhere throughout Italy, Sangiovese plays an important role in many easy-drinking, value-driven red blends and 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 success growing in California and Washington.
In the Glass
Sangiovese is a medium-bodied red with qualities of tart cherry, plum, sun dried tomato, fresh tobacco and herbs. High-quality, well-aged examples can take on tertiary notes of smoke, leather, game, potpourri and dried fruit. Corsican Nielluccio is distinguished by a subtle perfume of dried flowers.
Sangiovese is the ultimate pizza and pasta red—its high acidity, moderate alcohol, and fine-grained tannins create a perfect symbiosis with tomato-based dishes, braised vegetables, roasted and cured meat, hard cheese and anything off the barbecue.
Although it is the star variety of Tuscany, cult-classic “Super-Tuscan” wines may actually contain no Sangiovese at all! Since the 1970s, local winemakers have been producing big, bold wines as a blend of one or more of several international varieties—usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot or Syrah—with or without Sangiovese.