Rocca di Castagnoli Chianti Classico
Wine: Rocca di Castagnoli
Region: Chianti Classico
Grapes: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Colorino
Vines: in conversion to organic
I selected this wine for The Vine Club, which I run with The Carriage Wine and Market in Florence, Alabama, last June. It has been a great seller since, and many non-club members have bought it again and again. It's that damn good.
The Rocca di Castagnoli estate dates back to the medieval era. The original fortress structure still remains on the property and houses the barrels, and apartments and rooms are available to rent for vacationers looking for a Tuscan getaway. Chianti is the ubiquitous Italian red wine that runs the gamut in quality, from thin and flabby to woody and hot. Many of them are made with a blend of the international varieties merlot and cabernet sauvignon, alongside the native sangiovese, then oaked and extracted in the American style. This is not one of them.
Inside Chianti is the subregion Chianti Classico, known for lower yields and higher quality vineyards. You can tell a Chianti Classico by the trademark black rooster (gallo negro) on the neck label. The Rocca di Castagnoli is made in the old-school style. Yields are low, fermentation begins with indigenous yeasts, and the wine spends time in large Slovenian oak barrels - not new French oak. As a result, it expresses beautifully the clay hillside vineyards in which it was grown. The blend is 90% sangiovese with the remaining 10% a blend of canaiolo and colorino, all three of which are native to Central Italy.
With bright, ruby color and cherry and raspberry notes, it's both elegant and easy. It pairs well with pasta and pizza, salumi and prosciutto, hard salty cheeses. Though it drinks just fine on its own, preferably in low light, and has proven to be a "chic magnet." You're welcome.