All good things do come to an end, and wine tastings seem to go by quicker than other events. Winemaker Lorenzo Gatteschi was representing his family’s Podere Ciona wines from Gaiole in Tuscany. While we were talking and tasting wines, some of the people there at the same time, were making inquiries about the guesthouses on the property some going back to the 18th Century, but all with modern conveniences for today’s travelers. Since the estate is located between Florence and Siena, it is a perfect location for a vacation.
I have often mentioned Chianti and Chianti Classico, as it was one of the first wines that I tasted as a child, when we didn’t have homemade “Dago Red” as gifts. There is a highly romanticized story about how the Chianti area was originally created. The story centers on horse riders with one from Florence and one from Siena and they stopped when the cock crowed, hence the Black Cockrell which is seen on all the bottles of Chianti, except in the USA, because of an international lawsuit by the Gallos. The area was first marked out in 1716 and significantly enlarged in 1932. It was legally recognized in 1966 with the DOC laws and in 1984 it became Chianti Classico DOCG. There are five other demarcated Chianti zones: Colli Aretini, Colline Pisane, Montalbano, Montespertoli and Rufina. The region is so large, with diverse altitudes, microclimate, soils and solar exposures that in 2021, eleven Unita GeoBlackgrafiche Aggiuntive (UGA) or Additional Geographical Units were designated. The following UGA designations will be allowed on the front label, instead of just being part of the address of the winery on the back label: Castellina, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Gaiole, Greve, Lamole, Montefioralle, Panzano, Radda, San Casciano, San Donato in Poggio and Vagliagi.
Lorenzo Gatteschi was offering current and some library wines in a vertical tasting of Podere Ciona Chianti Classico Riserva 2011, 2012 and 2015. Since all of the wine is estate grown, it is all on the same quartz, clay schist and marl soil. Each vintage had a slightly different blend, but at least ninety percent Sangiovese, then the balance basically Merlot, with only a couple of percentages of Alicante Bouschet. The production methods were basically the same year after year of manual harvesting, berry by berry selection, initial fermentation for ten days on the skins in French Oak followed by twenty-five to thirty days of Malolactic fermentation on the skins in French Oak. The 2011 and 2012 vintages were then aged for eighteen months in a mix of new and used French Oak, and the 2015 vintage was aged for twenty-four months and then all vintages were aged an additional twelve months in the bottles before distribution. The winery is not huge and I have included the case production for each vintage: 2011 seven-hundred-seventy cases, 2012 six-hundred-seventy-five cases, and 2015 one-thousand-seven-hundred-ninety “six packs.” All of the vintages offered the deep ruby-red color, notes of red fruit, on the palate rich fruit and velvety tannins with a nice deep finish of terroir. My immediate notes were: 2015 “perfect Chianti Classico,” 2012 “mellow and rich,” and the 2011 “excellent, all Chiantis should taste this great.” My notes for this fine estate, until the next time.