In January I had the privilege to participate in the WineStudio program featuring Chianti Classico wine from Ricasoli 1141. WineStudio is an online Twitter-based educational program produced by Tina Morey, a Certified Sommelier who’s been in the food and wine industry for over twenty years. Each month a different producer is selected, along with a lineup of wines from their portfolio. Anyone can participate in the weekly Twitter chats, but only a select few are chosen to receive samples to accompany the conversation.
Every Tuesday at 6 pm (Pacific time), Tina hosts the group on Twitter at the WineStudio hashtag. Usually accompanying her is someone who works along with the producer, such as the winemaker, owner, salesperson, etc. Tina describes it as part instruction and part wine tasting. Discussion topics, for example, include: the producer history, the grapes, tourism, terroir, regional culture, food, etc.
What is Chianti Classico Wine?
Chianti Classico wine comes from the heartland of Chianti. The Classico regions in Italy are the historic centers of the region that are said to make higher quality wines than in the larger, general regions (i.e. Chianti).
What Makes Ricasoli 1141 So Classic?
Brolio has been making wine continuously since 1141. Yep, for over 850 years. The man currently at the helm is Francesco Ricasoli and he is responsible for the name change to Ricasoli 1141. In addition, he is the great-grandson of Bettino Ricasoli who invented the Chianti Classico recipe in the 1800s. The property lies in Gaiole Chianti Classico, and at 600 acres, is the largest estate in Chianti Classico.
Let’s try the Chianti Classico wine!
Casalferro 2008 Toscana IGT (SRP $70)
Casalferro is one of the Ricasoli vineyards, providing 100% Merlot from a single plot of land and ages 18 months in oak barrels. Intense and bright ruby red color and ripe red fruit both on the nose and palate. Balsamic, cocoa, and spicy hints (pepper and cinnamon) on the nose.
Casalferro 2011 Toscana IGT (SRP $70)
Casalferro is one of the Ricasoli vineyards. This wine is 100% Merlot from a single plot of land, and similarly to the above, aged 18 months in oak barrels. A combination of red and black fruit on the nose/palate, moving into balsamic and spicy notes.
Brolio 2016 Chianti Classico DOCG (SRP $22)
These grapes are from five specific vineyard areas that produce the grapes for the Brolio label, providing intense ruby red color, which is classic for a Chianti. Also present are Chianti markers of red fruit, balsamic, and floral violet notes. Smooth tannins, good acid, and a long finish give a classic Chianti Classico wine feel. 80% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Stainless steel fermented plus 9 months in large neutral oak barrels.
Brolio Riserva 2016 Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva (SRP $30)
The grapes for this wine also come from the Brolio vineyards. Ruby red color with red fruit notes of wild strawberry and sour cherries, plus soft, smooth tannins. 80% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition, stainless steel fermented plus 18 months in large oak barrels (some new, some used).
In early 2014 the Chianti Classico Consorzio unveiled a new addition to the denomination’s quality pyramid above the Riserva level called: Gran Selezione. The grapes need to be estate grown with an additional 6 months aging requirement (over what is required for Riserva). There are also stricter technical and sensory parameters. The jury is still out if this new level is beneficial at all to consumers or just adds to the confusion.
Colledilà 2015 Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione (SRP $70)
The Sangiovese grapes for this wine come from the Colledilà vineyard. Only the finest hand-picked clusters are selected for this wine. 100% Sangiovese with the classic ruby color, giving red fruit (plums and cherries) plus fresh floral notes. 18 months in large oak barrels (30% new, 70% used)
Castello di Brolio 2015 Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione (SRP $70)
Castello di Brolio is created by a meticulous selection of the best Sangiovese (90%), Cabernet Sauvignon (5%), and Petit Verdot (5%) grapes from estate vineyards. Intense ruby color, red fruits, balsamic, and floral notes. Plus, vanilla from the oak treatment. This is certainly the “grand vin” of Brolio.
With the deficiency of travel in my life, Italy has been at the top of my mind. Certainly, this is evident in my recent blog posts covering both the Langhe and Gattinara in Piemonte. Enjoy these reads, and cheers!