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Santa Margherita Chianti Classico Riserva 2009
When you hear “Santa Margherita,” you probably think of their iconic Pinot Grigio. While they are proud to have led an entire generation of Italian white wines with this inspiring and much-loved favorite, there’s a lot more to their story. Santa Margherita represents the best of tradition, innovation, a passion for authentic and enjoyable wines, and respect for the people and the lands that produces them.
Over 80 years ago, Count Gaetano Marzotto led the revitalization of an abandoned 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 much-needed 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 science and a commitment to the needs of the Italian people, Marzotto gave this labor of love the name of his dear wife Margherita, and the first piece in the mosaic of Santa Margherita was set.
Since then, Santa Margherita has grown to encompass vineyards across Italy, from the 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 people and foods in your life with the Pinot Grigio they made famous, their brilliant Prosecco, their complex Chianti Classico Riserva or their delicate Sparkling Rosé.
They hold their entire organization to the highest levels of social responsibility and environmental sustainability while remaining committed to their Italian heritage. As they continue to thrive and expand, the truest measure of their success is being welcomed and enjoyed by you, today.
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.
The perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is among Italy'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.