Santa Margherita Chianti Classico Riserva 2008
In 1935 Count Gaetano Marzotto led the revitalization of a portion of the Venetian countryside. Here, where rivers from the alps cut through the sun-drenched hills on their winding way to the Mediterranean shore, he created farmlands and restored traditional wine-making in what had been a region of fine vineyards since the time of the Roman Empire. Employing new agricultural techniques and a commitment to the needs of the Italian people, Count Marzotto gave this labor of love the name of his dear wife Margherita. The illustration on the label is the historical Marzotto home, Villa Marzotto; which was subsequently donated back to the town of Portogruaro, about an hour outside of Venice. Steeped in a history of making Prosecco as far back as 1952, Santa Margherita gained its iconic status after 1961, when it was among the first Italian wineries to vinify Pinot Grigio as a monovarietal, and off the copper-colored skins; thereby enhancing the freshness of the fruit and bringing out the wine’s enormous versatility. Since then, Santa Margherita has grown to encompass vineyards across Italy, from Veneto to Tuscany, producing distinctive, authentic wines of deep tradition and regional character. Their wines are crafted for the evolving tastes of today’s fine wine lovers, and they invite you to pair the moments, people and food in your life with the Pinot Grigio they made famous, their brilliant Prosecco, their complex Chianti Classico Riserva or their delicate Sparkling Rosé.? At Santa Margherita, they’re wine people; they are passionate about wine because they are passionate about people and the extraordinary experiences they live. What defines an extraordinary experience? It can be as simple as watching the sun set from your favorite chair as you unwind after a long day, as fulfilling as a great afternoon with friends that lasts well into the evening, and as unforgettable as the first time you locked eyes and realized it was going to be forever. These experiences define the joy of your life, and the wine you choose should live up to them. Their rich heritage rooted in quality winemaking is what makes Santa Margherita the wine worthy of every memorable experience. Why settle for anything less?
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.