Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Argument for Sangiovese and Chianti Classico

2002 burned an indelible memory for us in Tuscany, and Chianti Classico specifically. At the time we were perplexed by the locals talking about cellaring their Chianti for at least 10 years before drinking. We thought at the time, hmm, we already believe in that axiom for Brunello, but Chianti? Curious. 

Well, we are happy to say that we have tested that theory many times over the years and can confirm, the Tuscans are onto something. Chianti can definitely use some time aging and it indeed benefits. Sometimes 5-6 years can be enough (as was the case of a 2012 Montevertine we just opened recently), or the 18 year mark on some 2000 Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo we have been fascinated by over the last few months. In either case these wines, made of 100% Sangiovese, are world class and deserve recognition as such. This ancient grape the “blood of Jove” - what Sangiovese literally translates to - is a worthy noble grape. 

These are wines with great depth of flavor. They develop nuance over time. They possess great acidity and freshness. In the right hands their intensity is evident. And they can compete with some of the best wines in the world.

But over the past couple of decades it seems the once beloved Chianti Classico has taken a bit of a beating with the new wine crowd. Some of my suppliers seem reluctant to push it and sometimes it can go weeks before certain customers ask about it. But suffice it to say we have always been champions of Sangiovese and we will continue to trumpet our beliefs. There are plenty of good producers out there to avoid disappointment. Fontodi is one of those producers.  

From the Fontodi website: “Fontodi has belonged to the Manetti family since 1968. The family has been associated for centuries with another activity typical of the Chianti region, the production of its famous “terrecotte” tiles. And it is in the name of this strong link with the territory and a great passion for quality that the estate has moved successfully towards an ever more attentive cultivation of the vineyards and a more profound knowledge of the potential of Sangiovese in the zone of Panzano.”

We have always carried the Fontodi wines and the 2015 Chianti Classico was just featured at our tasting bar. We brought in some of their Biodynamic olive oil and we pre-ordered the 2015 Cru Sorbo Gran Selezione and the 2015 Filetta di Lamole. We may even have a couple of bottles left of the 2013 Flaccianello, which is off the charts great.

Support great Sangiovese wines! 

2015 Fontodi Chianti Classico $44.99
In any vintage, Fontodi Chianti Classico is noteworthy, but in 2015 it is outstanding. Ruby red in the glass. From its bouquet of flowers and cherries, to its palate of red fruit and earth, this organically produced red is a classic. With vibrant acidity, juicy fruit, and smooth tannins, this is a killer red.

2017 Olio Extravergine Biodinamico 500ML $30.00
Intense peppery, rich olive oil from the Fontodi Estate olives.

--Coming later in July 2018--

2015 Fontodi Chianti Classico Cru Sorbo Gran Selezione $139.99
2015 Fontodi Chianti Classico Filetta di Lamole $49.99

Other Chianti (or Sangiovese) to look for:

Le Cinciole
Rocca di Montegrossi
Giacomo Mori
Villa Sant'Anna
Isole e Olena
Casa Emma
Villa Cafaggio
Querceto di Castellina
Castello della Paneretta
San Giusto a Rentennano
San Vincenti

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Paolo Bea; Some of Umbria's Finest

Giampiero Bea on his property
From the Importer: “References in the archives of Montefalco, the beautiful hill town in Umbria, document the presence of the Bea family in this locality as early as 1500. Over the centuries this tiny estate has operated as the classic Italian fattoria, producing wine, raising farm animals for trade and home consumption and working the land to produce olives, fruits and vegetables.  But, as the very special character of the wines of Montefalco has become manifest over the past quarter-century, Paolo Bea and his two sons, Giampiero and Giuseppe, dedicate more of their land and most of their effort into growing grapes that produce an expanding number of unique and authentic wines. Sagrantino, the now renowned local grape, is the predominant variety grown by the Beas, covering 60% of the vineyard surface. The remaining 40% is planted to Sangiovese and Montepulciano, with a small parcel planted to several white varieties. The vineyards are cultivated organically, all grapes are harvested manually and all wines are bottled without fining or filtration.”

We have been buying the Bea wines for as long as we have been open. They are special wines and often times, these days, very hard to come by. Take advantage when some land in stock.

This time it is the 2011 San Valentino that we are featuring:


2011 Paolo Bea San Valentino Umbria Rosso
Importer notes: “This wine is sourced from the San Valentino vineyard in Montefalco, the soil of which is dominated by clay.  The vineyard is at 1300 feet altitude.  The composition of this wine is, more or less, 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino and 15% Montepulciano, all from a 50-year old vineyard.  Harvest usually occurs in the final ten days of October. Bea puts all the dry reds through extensive cuvaison.  In this instance, the wine usually macerates for approximately 30 days before being racked and prepared for the malolactic fermentation. Dense, with layered leather spice and toast wound into this stern wine."