A beautiful reference in Italian wine history, the name Ricasoli has been associated to wine since 1141, when Brolio Castle was acquired by the Ricasoli family. After centuries protecting their holdings and the signorial feuds, the Ricasolis devoted to the development of agriculture and viticulture.
Already in the 1600s historical documents trace the first exports to Amsterdam and England, and the dawn at the XX century, Brolio wines were known and exported all over the world: China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Guatemala, Costa Rica and the then British African colonies.
Baron Bettino Ricasoli (1809 – 1880), illustrious politician, researcher and marketer entrepreneur, was the promoter of the most famous Italian wine in the world today: Chianti.
Today it is the largest domaine in the Chianti Classico area: Castello di Brolio, where Baron Bettino Ricasoli came with the Chianti formula in 1872, is surrounded by 1,200 hectares in the towns of Gaiole and Castelnuovo Berardenga. Valleys, hills, woods of oak and chestnut trees, 235 hectares of vineyards and 26 hectares of olive groves, in the beautiful are of central Chianti.
Recently Panorama Italia had the chance of meeting Francesco Ricasoli who has been at the helm of the family business since 1993 and has renewed the quality and personality of the Brolio wines. Francesco striked me as a strategic businessman with a passionate winelover heart. Like Bettino, he continues to experiment and bring the most of its land and history. New projects are coming to existence and the already known wines, are getting better and better.
The invitation to taste the wines of the Barone was a courtesy of its Quebec Importer, Société de Vins Fins. The tasting took place in the Italian restaurant Graziella in Montreal.
Rose apart, the Chiantis of Ricasoli are very food versatile. Their entry level wines such as the basic Chianti and the Classico will pair well with pizzas or simple grilled cuts of meat on the BBQ. Think italian sausages, or thick chicken legs. Moving on to the medium and high end range, they will be noble companions to a bistecca alla fiorentina, or a thick eye rib steak, grilled on a charcoal grill.
Albia Rose 2016. Toscana IGT ( Private Import, $19.25)
An assemblage of Sangiovese and Merlot, vinified liked a white wine. 3 months in Stainless steel vats
Crisp and delightful with nuances of raspberry, orange and herbs. On the mouth, refreshing, harmonious with a beautiful acidity. Floral with a very nice minerality, Excellent gastronomical rose wine. Lovely with the Zuppa di Pesce bisque at Graziella. The italian rose of this summer, get it while you can, as it flies fast.
Chianti Ricasoli 2015. SAQ # 13188858. $15.55
90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot.
Notes of tobacco, licorice, maraschino cherry, sandalwood and ripe blackberry fruit. Firm and quite elegant. Fleshy tannins and a long persistence in the mouth. A steal for the price.
Brolio Chianti Classico 2014. SAQ # 00003962. $23.55. LCBO VINTAGES#: 3962. $22.95. BC SKU 3962, $27.99
Sangiovese 80%, Merlot 15%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%. 9 months aging in Barriques and large barrels.
Tobacco leaf, mahogany wood, vibrant cassis fruit, green pepper jelly with black tea nuances. Racy, very long in the mouth with an almost aerial structure. Cool Nervy acidity. Firm tannins.Excellent aging potential. Buy with the case and let it develop in your cellar as the years pass by. Projected maturity: 2024-2030.
Rocca Guicciarda Riserva 2014. SAQ # 10253440. $24.35. LCBO VINTAGES#: 943613. $24.95
Sangiovese 80%, Merlot 10%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%. Aging in 15 months french oak.
Textbook Sangiovese nose. Notes of peperoncino, ripe red fruit, leather and smoke. Classic Chianti Classico structure, very long and austere. Fresh, with lots of depth of complex earthy flavours. Ravishing finale,but with a bit of drying tannins in the aftertaste. Great with grilled meat dishes or hard cheeses such as Pecorino. Will be at its prime in a decade or so.
Brolio Riserva 2013. SAQ # 12392401. $30.00.
Sangiovese 80%, Merlot 15%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%. An assemblage of the best vineyards of the estate which are in high altitude ( 280-480 m ). 16 months aging in barrique and large barrels with an additional 3 months in bottle.
A masterpiece of a wine. Cigar box, spiced black fruit, cocoa and cured meat nuances. Elegant with cashmere like tannins. Very perfumed all in finesse and harmony. Confident of an aging potential of a least two decades easily.
Colledila Gran Selezione 2013. ( Private Import QC, $66.95), LCBO VINTAGES#: 293522, $51.95.
Monovarietal Sangiovese from the high altitude parcel Colledila, at 380 meters above sea level.Colledila, is the best vineyard of the Brolio estate. The parcel has a spectacular fine soil. Argyle composition with lots of cray and with an excellent drainage.
Very floral like nose. Dry rose petals, violet petals, church incense, beef jerky. Round, enveloping with very fine tannins. Elegant with a very long finale. Very Burgundian in style. Brings to mind a great premier grand cru Burgundy.