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New Customers Save $30* with code SEPTNEW30
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Terrabianca Chianti Classico Riserva Croce 2007
This wine is perfect with pasta dishes.
The 2007 Chianti Classico Riserva Croce (Sangiovese) shows more freshness and focus than the Campaccio in this vintage. Deceptively medium in body, the Croce hovers on the palate with compelling red cherries, flowers, tobacco, mint and underbrush. The French oak contributes volume and warmth, but without overpowering the more subtle elements that make this such a delicious, expressive bottle. This is a fabulous effort from Terrabianca. I slightly preferred the Croce to the Campaccio. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2024.
Croce Riserva shows elegant, fine lines that do a great job of showcasing the Sangiovese variety. Forest berry, blue flowers and white almond make up the bouquet and the wine is fresh and silky on the close.
In 1997, the couple purchased a second property, some 44 miles southwest of the original Terrabianca nucleus: Il Tesoro di Terrabianca ("Treasure of Terrabianca"). Its 262 acres bring the Guldeners' total acreage to 334, and are a mere 6 miles from the sea, in Maremma - the new frontier of Tuscan viniculture. This recent acquisition focuses on the olive oils (from over 4,000 Frantoio, Moraiolo and Leccino olive trees, many of which some 300 years old!) and Sangiovese grapes that go into a youthful and appealing 100% varietal, La Fonte. Packaging and label for this wine (see photo) have been kept distinct from the rest of the line, although the product itself is also styled by Vittorio Fiore, Terrabianca wine-maker from day one.
One of the most iconic regions of Italy for wine, scenery, and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simply to complex and age-worthy, as well as in price from budget-friendly to ultra-premium, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano trailing far behind. Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines are produced in their respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Bolgheri, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, with the hillside locations hosting the best vines, as Sangiovese ripens most efficiently with maximum exposure to sunlight.
Sangiovese at its simplest, often carrying a regional designation of Chianti or just Italy, produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright red fruit and not much more, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity. In top-quality Sangiovese-based wines, expressive notes of sour cherry, balsamic vinegar, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise, tobacco smoke, and cured meat fill the glass. Brunello in particular is sensitive to vintage variation, performing best in years that are not too hot and not too cold. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, or Syrah, often grown in Tuscany’s Bolgheri region, with or without Sangiovese. These tend to be big, bold, and modern in style, often with noticeable new oak, and sold at super-premium prices.
The perfect intersection of bright fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is the backbone variety in Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Elsewhere throughout Italy, it can make inexpensive wines for daily consumption ranging from inoffensive to deliciously easy. 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 moderate popularity in California and Washington State over the last few decades.
In the Glass
Sangiovese is a medium-bodied red with savory flavors of tart cherry, plum, tomato, fresh tobacco, anise, thyme, oregano, and dried earth. High-quality, well-aged examples will take on notes of smoke, clay pot, leather, gamey meat, potpourri, and dried fruits. 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 grainy tannins create an affinity with tomato-based dishes, spicy meats, and anything off the barbecue.
Although it is the star variety of Tuscany, cult-classic “Super-Tuscan” wines may contain no Sangiovese at all! Since the 1970s, local winemakers have been producing big, bold wines (with price tags to match) that are typically monovarietal or a blend of one or more of several international varieties—usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Syrah—with or without Sangiovese.