Posts tagged ‘Chianti’

Three Chianti Wines from Banfi

 

This is based on wine provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.

 

 

2013 Bolla Chianti

2012 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico

2010 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva

 

 

 

These samples were sent in conjunction with an online promotion to educate casual wine drinkers about the Chianti region and its different types of wines.

 

Chianti Rooster scaled

 

 

About Chianti

The first time Chianti was recognized as a wine was in 1398.  At that time Chianti was a white wine, not red as it is today.  The first “official” borders for the Chianti region were drawn up in 1716.  In 1872, Baron Bettino Ricasoli, the second Prime Minister of Italy, created the “recipe” for Chianti.  This original recipe called for Chianti to be a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia.  Prior to this, Canaiolo had been the dominant grape in the blend.

 

In the 1970s, most people’s idea of Chianti was a wine in a fiasco, the straw-covered bottle you’d find at inexpensive Italian restaurants and pizza parlors.  At that time, with the growing popularity of Chianti, many producers were unfortunately more focused on increasing production instead of increasing quality.

 

The biggest change in the region occurred in 1996, when due to the increased popularity and quality of the so-called Super Tuscans, the Chianti laws were changed to eliminate the minimum amount of white grapes that had to be used and to allow up to 15% “international” grapes.  In 2006, the laws were again changed prohibiting the use of white grapes in the production of Chianti Classico wines.

 

 

Banfi logo

About Banfi

Banfi is a private concern, founded in New York in 1919 by John Mariani, Sr. and today owned and operated by his grandchildren.  The company is focused on the production and import of wine.

 

Banfi Vintners is the sole U.S. importer of the Mariani family’s internationally renowned wine estates in Italy: Castello Banfi of Montalcino, Tuscany, and Banfi Piemonte of Strevi, Piedmont.  Banfi also imports the wines of several other producers, including category leaders Bolla, Cecchi, Florio, Fontana Candida, Placido, Riunite, and Sartori from Italy, Concha y Toro and Emiliana from Chile, and Trivento from Argentina, Wisdom & Warter Sherries from Spain and Stone’s Ginger wine from England.  The company has ranked as North America’s leading wine importer for more than three decades.

 

 

Additional references

The Race of the Rooster: How Chianti earned its famous emblem by Arianna Armstrong on Palate Press.

Visit the Crazy for Chianti page on Facebook.

The Crazy for Chianti organization also has a nice website.

 

 

This line up for this tasting:

Chianti Wines from Banfi

Chianti Wines from Banfi

 

 

 

2013 Bolla Chianti – SRP $9

Bolla Chianti wines are more of an every day wine.  This wine is available just about everywhere for under $10 a bottle.

 

The Bolla Chianti is generally a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo and other indigenous varieties.  The grapes are crushed and fermented at controlled temperatures in stainless steel for 10 to 12 days.

 

This wine has 13.0% alcohol.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a light, bright, ruby red color.  The very appealing nose has cherries, wild flowers, scorched earth, dried herbs, and spice.  This is barely medium body with soft tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the tart, red cherries steal the show with some earthiness and spice in the background.  The finish has decent length and again is dominated by the tart cherries.  This is a nice Chianti for weeknight pizza, pasta, or lighter meat dishes.  This would also do well with a cheese/salami platter.  (86 pts)

2013 Bolla Chianti

2013 Bolla Chianti

 

 

 

2012 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico – SRP $15

The Castello Banfi Chianti Classico is a step up from the Bolla Chianti both in quality and price.  This wine has very good distribution and is usually available for under $15.

 

This wine is mainly Sangiovese with small amounts of Canaiolo Nero and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine is fermented with traditional skin contact of 8 to 10 days.  The wine is aged for a short time in large French oak casks and is bottled the summer following harvest.

 

The wine is 13.0% alcohol by volume.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color.  The soothing nose is cherries, violets, warm baking spices, earthy underbrush and a touch of licorice.  This has medium body, soft tannins and good acidity.  On the palate this is rich and plush with cherries, baking spices with some building earthiness on the back end.  The finish has nice length with cherries giving way to some lingering earthiness.  This will pair well with the usual pizza and pasta but would be nice with lighter meat and poultry dishes.  (88 pts)

2012 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico

2012 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico

 

 

 

2010 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva – SRP $19

This Chianti Classico Riserva is the next step up in price and quality.  This wine also enjoys good distribution and is usually available for well under $20.

 

This wine typically is predominantly Sangiovese with small amounts of Canaiolo Nero and Cabernet Sauvignon.  After maceration and fermentation, the wine is aged for at least 2 years, with at least 12 months in Slavonian oak.  After bottling, the wine receives at least 6 months of bottle aging before release.

 

This wine had 13.5% alcohol.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a shade darker than medium ruby red.  The very open and inviting nose has cherries, plums, leather, earthy underbrush, wild flowers, dusty minerals, and a touch of licorice.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate there is a nice balance between the fruit, spice, and earthiness with none of the elements trying to overwhelm the others.  The finish has very nice length and again shows nice balance.  This could be slipped into a “Super Tuscan” line up and not stick out as a weak link.  This would stand up well to a meat dish, like roast beef, especially if it was finished with some nice Italian herbs.  This would rock with a pizza loaded with sausage or pasta with meat sauce.  (89 pts)

2010 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva

2010 Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva

 

 

What would be better to pair with these three Chianti wines than pizza?  I picked up a pizza at the local pizzeria with a thin “cracker crust” that was loaded with pepperoni, sausage, and gooey cheese.  I added an order of Fried Mozzarella Sticks to make it a complete meal  🙂

Pizza and Chianti

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

Cliff’s Wine Picks mentions or other posts

Here are posts, newsletters, blogs or other articles that either mention this site or that I have written:

 

Click here or on the “Cliff’s Wine Picks On Other Sites” link in the top right corner to see links to other sites that either have my reviews, my thoughts or other posts I have written.

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

Wine of the Week – 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

 

Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.

 

 

 

It may be feeling like Spring in some parts of the country, but in the Midwest and Northeast, we can tell you it’s still Winter.  What’s better on a cold, snowy evening than a nice plate of pasta with a thick meat sauce?  The perfect pairing for this dish or even a nice pizza is an Italian Chianti.  This week’s wine of the week is a 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico.

 

GIO01IT_pic_5

 

The Winery

The name ‘Isole e Olena’ was conceived in the 1950’s when two adjoining estates, ‘Isole’ and ‘Olena’ were purchased by the De Marchi family and were combined to form one.  Today the Isole e Olena estate is run by Paolo De Marchi and his family.  Paolo comes from a family with three generations of winemaking experience in the northern section of Piedmont .  He was raised in close contact with the wine world as he has always enthusiastically followed the development of his grandfather’s estate located near Gattinara, Villa Sperino, where Lessona wine is produced.  The traditional 4-grape Chianti Classico blend was gradually altered to diminish the quantity of white grapes present until complete elimination.  Thus the Isole o Olena Chianti evolved from being a light, young wine to the fuller-bodied wine of today, which is destined for cellar aging.  Simultaneously Paolo began experimenting with the production of a wine made exclusively of Sangiovese grapes.  His efforts in this direction have yielded the resultant wine named Cepparello.  In 1980 he produced the first Cepparello.

 

Many of the wineries in the Chianti Region double as tourist attractions.  Not Paolo De Marchi’s Isole e Olena; when you turn right at the main gate and drive by the burnished steel fermentation tanks, you will come to a muddy square where you may find someone working on a wagon with an arc welder.

 

“We don’t have time for tourism,” says Paolo.  “It would distract us from our wines.” His dedication is our gain; Isole e Olena’s wines are superb.  In addition to Chianti Classico, there is Cepparello, a pure Sangiovese of towering complexity and finesse, and a breathtaking Vinsanto.  The winery also produces a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay, and L’Eremo, a Syrah.

 

 

The Wine

The wines that emanate from the Isole e Olena winery in Tuscany are some of the most sought after in the region each vintage.  Run with a rigorous attention to detail and quality by Paolo de Marchi (whose family united the “Isole” and “Olena” wine estates to form Isole e Olena in the 1950s) past tasting results make it easy to see why the wines of Isole e Olena remain so sought after.

 

80% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 5% Syrah in the 2010 vintage, Isole e Olena’s Chianti Classico is probably the wine (along with the 100% Sangiovese Isole e Olena “Cepparello”) for which the Isole e Olena winery has become best known.  Fermented in stainless steel tanks, this 2010 Isole e Olena Chianti was then matured for one year in primarily older oak (the typical capacity of the barrels used was 4000 litres).

 

 

 

2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico – $18.59

This has been a favorite since a friend suggested I give it a try.  In the seemingly never ending Wisconsin winters, pasta and a good Chianti always makes it feel a little nicer no matter how cold it is or how hard it is snowing.

 

This wine has 14.0% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice ruby red color. The very enjoyable nose has cherries, plums, baking spices, dried herbs, violets, and a touch of earthy underbrush. This wine has medium body with ripe tannins and very good acidity. On the palate the wine has nice tart red fruit and spice up front with some earthy elements coming in later adding depth and complexity. The finish has good length with the tart fruit, spices, and earthiness held together nicely by the acidity. If you can find this for under $20, stock up.  (91 pts)

2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

 

 

In Summary

Even though it makes up only 5% of the blend, the Syrah adds body, dried herbs, and a hint of darker fruit to this wine.  This is a very serious Chianti Classico that would excel with just about any Italian dish with meat included in the preparations.  The typically outstanding acidity from the predominant Sangiovese helps the wine stand up to any dish with tomatoes.

 

It looks like the 2011 vintage is the current vintage but the 2010 vintage is still readily available either on your local wine store’s shelf or via Wine-Searcher.

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

%d bloggers like this: