Chianti Classico DOCG
By Ryder Kenerson
Today’s wine needs no theme, no double-entendre, puns, or any other form of metaphorical prose. Simply put: It’s a staple. The kind of wine you keep on-hand for the same reason you keep butter or olive oil. You just need it. There’re many wines I can live without; Chianti is NOT one of them.
This is Chianti Classico from Rocca di Montegrossi.
I’ll cut right to the chase: This wine is simply AWESOME. Like, everything you want in an old-world red wine: classic varietal character (mostly Sangiovese here), dusty tannins, a nose that awakens the senses with lots of fruit, earth, and minerality; oak that lingers in the background, and mouth-watering acidity (what makes Chianti such a food-friendly wine!).
Rocca di Montegrossi is located near Monti in Chianti, one of the finest sections of Chianti Classico. The cellars are near the Romanesque church of San Marcellino. Rocca di Montegrossi’s owner, Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi, is descended from a family that played a central role in the history of the Chianti Classico region and laid the foundations for Chianti Classico wine. The estate extends over an area of 100 hectares; 20 are planted to vine, another 20 are olive groves, and the remainder is woodland. The vineyards, on gentle south and southeast-facing hillsides with calcareous loamy soils, are at elevations between 340 and 510 meters above sea level. The vineyards are planted primarily to the varietals traditionally grown in Chianti Classico, though there is also a small percentage of international varietals (used mostly for making a Super Tuscan). The primary varietal is Sangiovese, with 13 hectares, followed by Merlot, with 2.5 hectares, while the remaining 4.5 hectares are planted to Canaiolo, Colorino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pugnitello, and Malvasia Bianca del Chianti. Farming is 100% certified organic.
The nose on this wine – particularly for the price and a current vintage – is incredible. Forest berries, sour cherries, wet asphalt, and new leather intertwine and carry on through to the palate. There is aweightlessness to this wine with the fruit lifted by the high-toned acidity. There are traces of oak and beautifully soft tannin on the palate, with apleasant dose of minerality. While obviously a perfect accompaniment to hearty Italian dishes, this wine would pair well with rotisserie chicken, sausage and lentils, and game. 90% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo, and 5% Colorino.
We talk about wines that punch above their weight and this is a prime example. The Rocca di Montegrossi has the complexity, balance, and lift of a wine thrice its price! Certainly, one, if not the best example, of a wine from the Chianti Classico that I’ve ever experienced (regardless of price). It drinks at the level of a much more special bottle yet is affordable enough to use (drink) like a staple in your pantry (every day).
92 points Wine Spectator.