Sometimes all roads lead to The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan; at least for me. Lorenzo Gatteschi, winemaker of Podere Ciona in Gaiole, Tuscany was there hosting a tasting of his family’s wines. I was reading the history of the winery on their website “Franca and Franco Gatteschi were looking for a place in the countryside to retire to, after many years of working in Italy and abroad, when they came across a small, beautiful, albeit run down property: 100 acres of land, mostly wooded with 10 acres set aside for cultivation, of which 2.5 acres already had vineyards; a house from the 18th Century, abandoned for more than 40 years; and, above all, a view without equal on the Chianti hills, with Siena in the distance.” It really sounds idyllic and makes one ponder how this property was neglected and ignored for years. “They purchased the estate at the beginning of 1990 and they immediately started the reconstruction work on the main house (it took nearly three years). They also set up a small but well- equipped wine cellar for making wine. In 1996 they permanently moved to live on the estate and the following year, the great 1997 vintage, saw the birth of the first “official” wine of Podere Ciona: A Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva.”
Lorenzo is a fine gentleman of the “Old School” and was very gracious, in fact each time that I have met him, I get the same feelings. After dealing with the public for fifty years, I think I have developed a keen appreciation for the qualities of a gentleman. We started off with Podere Ciona Rosé Toscana IGT 2018 made entirely of Sangiovese in the saignée method. The vines are from six to nineteen years of age and planted on quartz, clay schist and marl. The fruit is harvested manually in small baskets and then de-stemming, berry by berry for a slight crush in Stainless Steel vats for ten to twelve hours of skin contact and no Malolactic Fermentation. The wine is then aged for about six months in Stainless Steel and then further fined and bottle aged for six months before distribution. There was about one-hundred-eighty cases produced of this wine. A pretty salmon-pink color with notes of fruit and spices, just a well-balanced light and easy drinking wine with a nice medium count finish offering terroir.
We then had the Podere Ciona Chianti Classico DOCG 2018. This wine is a blend of eighty-eight percent Sangiovese, ten percent Merlot and two percent Alicante Bouschet and planted on their quartz, clay schist and marl. The ages of the Sangiovese vines are from seven to seventeen years of age, while the Merlot and Alicante Bouschet vines are eighteen years of age. Once again, the fruit is hand harvested, crushed and initial fermentation is done in Stainless Steel vats for ten days, and then an extended twenty-five days on the skins during the Malolactic fermentation. Seventy percent of the wine is then aged in French Oak barrels, while thirty percent are aged in large French Oak tonneaux for twelve months, with an additional twelve months in the bottle, before distribution. Three-hundred-fifty cases were made of this wine. The wine was a lighter ruby shade with notes of red fruits and spices, while on the palate notes of cherry, spices, softer tannins and well balanced with a nice medium finish of terroir. Great for easy drinking or with food.