One of the most widely distributed chianti classico wines in the global market, and is a blend of 80% sangiovese (the minimum legal requirement), 15% merlot and 5% syrah. Back in Australia I had already tasted and sold the 2009 vintage, but it was good to refresh myself after six months of travel. On the nose it was very juicy and plummy, the merlot elements showing very strong, quite broad and soft, very clean and approachable, but lacking any real structure or character. This is a wine designed for appeal to a broad and diverse market, is made very safely, and could arguably come from anywhere.
Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva 2007
The complete opposite, but for three times the price it should be. Had a much more attractive unique nose of rustic earth, toast and cinnamon blackberry, had great tannin structure and depth, was bold but also elegant, and with its tightness will age well.
Aromatically showed the strength of the cabernet in this vintage. On the palate it expressed very earthy cassis notes, but the tannins were very restricted. At a maximum of 15 years of age, the vines don’t seem to be mature enough, as whilst this wine is far from unripe, it does seem undeveloped.
The new cellars at the Tignanello estate
One of the things that I have realised since arriving in Italy is that it is so difficult to categorise it in a certain way, and no single image does it justice. One of the most indelible images that spring to most people’s minds when they think of Italy is the classic image of gently rolling hills covered in grape vines, olive trees and villas. Tuscany perfectly lives up to this cliché. As I drove south from Florence (which is simply stunning, but is kind of a sinkhole when it comes to money), I became more excited at a place that seems so familiar, as you see it on travel and cooking shows, on calendars, promotional material of Italy, you name it. Tuscany has a number of unfair advantages over every other region in Italy. The first is its location close to the centre of Italy, where the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. It has some of the most beautiful and diverse natural scenery in Italy, from the hills all the way to the coast. The diversity also helps with viticulture, and they have the ability to produce a wide range of wines. It is a very large province, and also has a very long history, with families going back over 1,000 years. Tuscany is very wealthy, and is arguably the most visited province in the country. The food is great, the people are great. If this were the USA, Tuscany would be California. And like cabernet sauvignon is the most important grape (but far from the only one) in California, the king of varieties in Tuscany is sangiovese, and I am spending five days here to become more familiar with it.
|Dante Alighieri once owned these cellars