Consorzio Vino Chianti ‘Chianti Lovers’ Tasting at The High Line Hotel, NYC 2015 [Part 1]

ballroom

I had the pleasure of attending the Consorzio Vino Chianti ‘Chianti Lovers’ Tasting held at the Refectory Ballroom at The High Line Hotel in Manhattan on April 27, 2015. Established in 1927, the Consortium protects over 3600 producers, working more than 15,500 hectares of vineyards, producing in excess of 800,000 hectoliters of Chianti. From selection of grapes to vinification, from testing of the chemical and physical properties to bottling, the Consortium ensures that the wines meet DOC and DOCG standards. The Consortium is committed to preserving and advancing the culture and history of Chianti, along with expressing the high quality the wine has achieved. Chianti DOCG is produced in the provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena in Tuscany, central Italy.

Over 30 winemakers and estate owners gathered to present their wines, many of which are in need of US importers and distributors [which is why price information is not available]. Each winemaker or estate owner I spoke with was enthusiastic to tell me the story of his or her wines, sharing details such as varietal blending methods and sustainable, environmentally-friendly vineyard and winery practices, along with vintage particularities. With a region as large as Chianti, each producer can have a vastly different vintage from his near neighbor. From vibrant and fresh to subtle and elegant, a vast array of the styles and vintages of Chianti were presented.

Fabrizio Forconi Podere dell’Anselmo

fabrizio

Warm and gregarious winemaker Fabrizio Forconi presenting his expressive wines.

A dynamic and vibrant man, Fabrizio Forconi will humbly call himself just a “country boy who loves his horses”. His family began growing grapes in Montespertoli at the beginning of the 19th century. Today, Fabrizio carries on the very same winemaking traditions. His vines are “strictly linked to the indigenous strains”, and the soil is a mix of clay and limestone. Although not certified, he practices organic viticulture and is passionate about biodynamic “ideas and methods”. He believes in taking his time and doing things the right way. His horses are depicted on his labels, and yes, he does utilize their manure to fertilise his vineyards.

Chianti Montespertoli DOCG 2011
100% Sangiovese with friendly fresh fruit, good acidity and a warm, sweet oak finish.

‘Ingannamatti’ Chianti Montespertoli DOCG Riserva 2008
Distinctively woodsy and spicy in nature, with a lovely undercurrent of cherry and strawberry. The lengthy, harmonizing dry finish of licorice and hints of chocolate keep you reaching for more.

Tenuta San Vito

sanvito

Founded in 1960 by Roberto Drighi, Tenuta San Vito consists of 135 hectares, of which 35 are vineyards and 20 belong to olive groves. Today the estate is headed by Roberto’s nephew, Neri Gazulli, who passionately continues the work begun by is uncle. He is an enthusiastic believer in protecting the local environment along with organic viticulture, the estate being certified organic since 1985.

‘San Vito’ Chianti DOCG 2013
100% Sangiovese, time spent in steel and then in cement imparts an ethereal, light character. Fresh and simple fruit/earth/spice notes so indicative of Chianti, in fact Neri describes this as “typical Chianti’.

‘Darno’ Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG 2013
90% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, aged for 6 months in big barrels. A unique flavour profile that immediately grabbed my attention, dense wild berries with abundant Mediterranean herbs along with a clean minerality. Neri believes its distinctive flavour is expressive of the “vineyard with the different clay soil” the grapes are grown in.

Tenuto Il Corno

tenuta il corno
Built by the ancient Del Corno family in the 12th century, Tenuto Il Corno is known as one of the most beautiful estates in Val di Pesa. Since the 14th century the estate has been engaged in wine production. In 1911 the estate was purchased by the Counts Frova Arroni di Arrone from the heirs of Grand Duke Leone Strozzi. Maria Giulia Frova now heads the family estate; she preserves the traditional agricultural activities of both wine and oil production with an emphasis on respect for the environment and traditional methods. Many of the vines are ”self rooted grapevines, over 300 years old”.
*Presented by Mrs. Verena Moser

Chianti DOCG 2013
Fermented in stainless steel tanks, and aged in concrete vats, this is straightforward, tart and refreshing. Mrs. Moser called it “a traditional Chianti, a perfect pizza wine”. Well balanced fruit and earth notes accompanied by a lively acidity definitely make this a bottle to reach for with all types of dishes.

‘Foss’A Spina’ Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG 2011
85% Sangiovese, 10% Colorino and 5% Canaiolo. Aged for 4-5months in concrete, fresh and plush, with soft fruit supported by black tea tannins, finishing silky smooth and dry.

 

 

Media event hosted by Consorzio Vino Chianti

La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2013

chixroseConsistently a great value, in white, rosé or red blends.

Winery: La Vieille Ferme was founded in 1970 by Jean Pierre Perrin [of Château Beaucastel fame] as a channel for him to produce inexpensive, straightforward Rhône wines to sell by direct mail in France. It was a successful venture and ultimately was introduced to international markets where they were met with much acclaim due to their high quality and value. Famille Perrin is the leading organic winegrower in the Southern Rhône Valley; the vinification processes and grape varieties at La Vieille Ferme [The Old Farm] mirror those in place at Château Beaucastel in Châteauneuf du Pape. Faithful to their family values, for over 40 years their wines “have been considered as one of the best values for money wines in the world”.

Philosophy: Valuing nature and tradition, for 5 generations the Perrin family has produced wine under a philosophy of “absolute respect for the soil, a commitment to manual methods, and a deep belief that organic viticulture is the only way to express the true essence of the terroir”.

Tasting Notes: Pale pink-coral in colour with aromas of cantaloupe and hints of citrus. Light flavours of melon and cherry were accented by a decent acidity; grapefruit and minerals comprised the dry finish.

Blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah [I could not verify varietal percentages.]
Vin de France
France
Bottled by La Vieille Ferme
12.5% Alcohol
$13 [1.5 Litre]
Enjoy now

Charles Smith Vino Rosé 2014

vinorose

Winery: Renowned, self-taught pioneer winemaker Charles Smith is the founder and winemaker behind Charles Smith Family wines. His “kick ass attitude and bold packaging has earned the moniker ‘rock star’ of Washington State Syrah”. With his multitude of labels [K Vintners, Wines of Substance, Sixto, Charles & Charles, Secco and Vino] he is able to offer a wide variety of wines varying in cost from budget friendly boxed wine to highly rated, single vineyard Syrahs in the $100 range. Within all of his labels, Smith strives to craft wines that “are full of flavor, balanced, and true to place of origin”.

Philosophy: “It’s just wine, drink it.”

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from two sustainably farmed vineyards in the Wahluke Slope region of Washington State. The Don Talcott vineyard, which was planted in 1998 and is known for producing grapes with “sublime mineral character and great acidity”, and Pheasant vineyard, planted in 2000 with “sandy gravelly soils deposited by ancient glacial floods”. Fermented with ambient [naturally present] yeast and aged sur lie for 2 months.

Tasting Notes: Pale coral in colour with aromas of strawberry, grapefruit and hints of orange blossom. Strawberry and tart rosehips flavours ran atop a somewhat unexpected sweet honey undercurrent. Clean minerals and floral hints comprised the refreshing, dry finish.

100% Sangiovese
Wahluke Slope
Washington
Produced & Bottled by the Charles Smith Family
12% Alcohol
$12
Enjoy now thru 2016

Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico 2011

felsina

A wonderfully well balanced, elegant and easy drinking Chianti Classico.

Estate: The Fèlsina estate was once the farm of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany; by early 900 the noble Florentine family Busatti had established a cellar and began bottling wine. Domenico Poggiali Fèlsina bought the estate in 1966, and brought a young, passionate team on board to invigorate the quality of production. Since 1990 the estate has been headed by Domenico and Giuseppe Poggiali and now Giovanni Poggiali, the oldest of Giuseppe’s three sons, has joined the family business. Fattoria di Fèlsina is renowned as one of the greatest vineyards in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, producing “one of the finest ranges of age worthy and complex Chianti bottlings in all of Italy”. Fèlsina only cultivates Sangiovese, and although quite prevalent in many Chianti today, they do not include international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon in their wines.

Philosophy: “A profound respect for the Tuscan traditions of yesterday.”

Winemaking: The vineyards are farmed using organic methods and boast mature vines, many more than half a century old. The ‘entry level’ Chianti Classico is sourced from vines with an average age of 30, whilst Riserva Chianti comes from vines aged 50+ years. Grapes for the Berardenga Chianti Classico were sourced from vineyards located in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, just northeast of Siena. Aged in small and medium-sized casks for 12 months, with 20,000 cases produced.

Tasting Notes: Dark ruby in colour with aromas of dense cherry, earth and floral notes. Elegant and pure with black cherry backed by rose petal and warm summer earth notes, whilst white peppercorn and hints of leather comprise the elongated, dry finish.

100% Sangiovese
Chianti Classico
Italy
Estate Bottled by Fèlsina S.p.a.
14% Alcohol
$22 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2025

Rated 92 points by the Wine Advocate

Angiuli Donato Negroamaro Salento IGP 2013

donatosalento

A fantastic value, this is a wonderfully glugable Negroamaro to accompany a wide variety of dishes.

Estate: The Angiuli estate is located in the Salento region of Puglia, southeastern Italy. The estate accompanied by “the passion for the land”, has been passed down from father to son for 3 generations. Donato Angiuli along with his sons Vito and Giuseppe run the family estate today. The family strives to cultivate indigenous varietals that are naturally complimented by the soil and microclimate of their land.

Winemaking: Aged in steel and “placed on the market a month after bottling”.

Tasting Notes: Aromas of fresh berries and earthy hints. Vivid black cherry and blackberry flavours run atop an undercurrent of earth and spice, silky tannins and berry notes comprise the clean finish.

100% Negroamaro
Salento IGP
Italy
Estate Bottled by Angiuli Donato
12.5% Alcohol
$9
Enjoy now thru 2016