Story by Manos Angelakis
Photos courtesy of Ricasoli Castello di Brolio
The name Ricasoli has been linked to wine since 1141, when Castello di Brolio was delivered into the hands of the Ricasoli family. Barone Ricasoli is the fourth longest-lived company in the world in the same location and the oldest large wine-making property in Italy. Since the middle of the 12th century, Castello di Brolio has dominated the view of the vineyards and olive groves that surround the medieval town of Gaiole, in the heart of Tuscany.
Barone Francesco Ricasoli, the 32nd generation Baron of Brolio, and Massimiliano Biagi, the agronomist and technical director of the Ricasoli estates, hosted a lunch in New York City with wines produced in the Ricasoli Chianti Classico vineyards. I had visited the vineyards and winery in Gaiole -- the largest vineyard acreage in Chianti Classico -- during an earlier Classico press trip a few years back and the wines I had tasted then I thought were exceptional; they have been feted for numerous years with Tre Bicchieri Awards by the Italian food & wine publication “Gambero Rosso”.
The samples we tasted with the lunch varied starting with Brolio Chianti Classico and then Reserva, then the Colledilá Gran Selezione, the Roncicone Gran Selezione and the CeniPrimo Gran Selezione. These are all beautiful Sangiovese-based wines ranging in MSRP from $22 per bottle to $300 for the “Raritas” which is a package of the three cru bottles in a signature wooden case.
Each of the three is entirely Sangiovese but from several clones and the Brolios are blends of 80% Sangiovese with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon; each wine hails from a specific terroir within the Brolio estate with a specific soil profile and altitude, and each is aged in tonneaux (132 gallons), only 30 percent of which are new.
At 26 acres, Roncione is the largest of the three single vineyards and lays between the other two… lower than Colledilá and higher than CeniPrimo. The 2015 has excellent acidity that forms a spine for the soft texture and impressive mouthfeel; the aroma is penetrating, with distinct flavors of red plum, tart red cherry and a hint of blackberries; the aromas are concentrated and fresh.
The CeniPrimo is the newest of the three crus, nearly 16 acres in size, from an alluvial location where the grapes are able to hang longer for maximum ripening. The 2015 is a substantial Chianti Classico with red cherry and floral violet notes and velvety tannins that permeate the wine, very similar to a good Brunello, another of the grand Italian Sangiovese wines.
Colledilá is a limestone-influenced vineyard of 19 acres. The wine’s aroma is complex and rich; in my notes I mention tobacco, cedar, violets, orange peel and sour black cherry. The wine is harmonious, supple, long and graceful and yet has an interesting tannin structure which lends edginess.
When it comes to ratings, the three wines rate around 93-94 points, plus or minus ½ point separating each. These great Sangiovese beauties are imported by Folio Fine Wine Partners. They are all great wines; impressive Chianti Classicos. You can’t go wrong purchasing any one of them.
To your health!
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