Barone Ricasoli – Castello di Brolio Duo
What a fascinating comparison of a Riserva and a Gran Selezione from the same cellar and vintage! There is a clear sibling resemblance via the fervent focus on savoriness. While the Riserva is clearly more fruit-driven than the Gran Selezione, both have discreet French oak use that blends harmoniously into the wines. When first opened, both are tight and could easily be confused, one for the other. However, after 30 minutes in their glasses, each wine showed clear distinctiveness. I would love to taste these again together in five then in ten years time to see how they evolve. I am confident that neither will disappoint.
Chianti Classico Riserva 2015 14%
Hailing from some of the prettiest hills of Tuscany, between Florence and Siena, this classically structured, cranberry red Chianti Classico Riserva combines Sangiovese with 15% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. (A minimum of 80% Sangiovese is required in all Chianti Classico wines, whatever the quality level.) The blend is aged together 18 months in once- and twice-used, large format barrels.
The breed of Chianti Classico comes through in the wine’s elegance and lift, yet there is enough indulgent, fruit-forward character from the French grape influences to give it a Super Tuscan air. It’s not just the very ripe fruit character that does this; it’s also the layered, dark fruits that are more prevalent than the usual, redder tones of Sangiovese’s strawberry and red cherry.It is earthy and savory enough to please the purists, yet dense and full-bodied enough appeal to those preferring heartier wines. The 14% alcohol is very well knit in the overall force of the wine, nicely supported by unusually fine tannins for Sangiovese. Though a Riserva, this drinks well already thanks to its robust fruit core (attributable not just to the French grapes but also to its warm vintage). However, its considerable structure and lingering finish suggest this easily can last a decade post-vintage.
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Colledilà 2015 14%
Though more reserved in fruit character, this single vineyard Gran Selezione is already drinkable. This is an unusual attribute for a pure Sangiovese, as well as for a Gran Selezione - the latter the pinnacle of Chianti Classico quality. As a varietal Sangiovese, this bottling has a more ethereal and cerebral character thanks to its layering of tart red cherries, sweet tobacco and evergreen clippings. It is vinous and stylish (I dare call it a Gran Selezione for the Pinot Noir-lover), but it is also built to last. The ample structure of pithy tannins and fervent acidity draw the juicy core into a delightfully long finish. This zippy framework is no doubt drawn from the Colledilà vineyard’s strong limestone influence.
By the way, Colledilà means “the vineyard on the other side of that hill.” This wine is aged in French barriques and 40% new tonneaux for 21 months.