This week I had the privilege of tasting four outstanding Tuscan wines with Villa Calcinaia’s owner Count Sebastiano Capponi. His family purchased this estate in the 16th century and they continue re-invest in the winery and the vineyards in their relentless pursuit of quality. The estate is located in Greve, the heart of the Chianti Classico zone between Florence and Sienna.
We tasted four wines from Calcinaia, whose name refers to its limestone-rich soils. Here are the wines with my tasting notes:
2009 Chianti Classico – this is a beautiful, traditional Chianti that is rich and fruit forward. It is comprised of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo, two traditional grape varieties. I like the fact that they stuck to well-earned tradition rather than manipulating the blend with Merlot and/or Cabernet Sauvignon. The Calcinaia is the real deal; delicious and tasting true to its origins.
2008 Chianti Riserva – this is a huge, massive wine from 100% Sangiovese. The grapes are picked as a massal not clonal, selection. Only the best vines from the estate’s best sites are chosen for propagation, producing a variety of Sangiovese with slightly different DNA. The result is a wine of greater complexity and character. The Riserva is aged 18 months in large Slovonian casks and French puncheons. This wine will age well over the next 10-15 years.
2007 Casarsa – a single vineyard Merlot from 50 year old vines that reminds me of the great Pomerols of Bordeaux. Like Pomerol, the vines are planted on clay soils, ideal for Merlot. The wine is aged 18 months in barrique. This wine is also destined for cellaring over the next 10 years.
2005 Vin Santo – Tuscany’s emblematic dessert wine made from Trebbiano, Malvasia and Canaiolo. It is aged in small casks (caratelli) for 7 years, producing an intense resinous wine with strong notes of dried apricot. The Vin Santo is not unctuous nor too sweet so it is ideal with foie gras, matured cheeses and pastry like bischotti.