Lorenzo Gatteschi of Podere Ciona was hosting a tasting of his wines at The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. The estate is located in the original and oldest part of Tuscany’s Chianti wine-growing region and the area is still romantically symbolized by the Gallo Nero or Black Rooster from days of yore. The estate is on a south-facing hill and there is over a difference of four-hundred feet comparing the highest and lowest altitudes of the vineyards. The estate is comprised of thirteen acres of vineyards, two acres of olive groves and one-hundred acres of woodlands. They also have fruit trees, chickens, two vegetable gardens with beehives coming soon.
The Podere Ciona Chianti Classico 2018 is the winery’s basic Chianti wine and they still maintain their desire to only produce one bottle of wine per vine. The soil of the vineyards is a mix of sandstone, clay schist and marl. Depending on the vineyard the vines are between seven to eighteen years in age. The wine is eighty-nine percent Sangiovese, nine percent Merlot and two percent Alicante Bouschet. They still maintain hand harvesting and initial fermentation is in Stainless Steel for about ten days with extended post-fermentation maceration on the skins for about a month, followed by malolactic fermentation, and then aged in French Oak for about eighteen months, finally refined for twelve months in the bottle. This light-ruby colored wine offered notes of red fruits and spices, and on the palate fresh fruit, soft tannins and a velvety texture from the Merlot with a nice medium finish of fruit and terroir.
The Podere Ciona Semifonte Gaiole in Chianti IGT 2018 and is termed a Tuscan Rosso wine. Toscana IGT is the most famous of the IGT designations and it actually has three sub-regions already, and there are ten provinces that are allowed this designation. Tuscany is the home of Italy’s most famous IGT category, but it was where this category forced the hands of wine classification for a new designation, because some of the wine makers felt constrained by the current rules, and originally had to use the lowly Vino de Tavola or Table Wine designation for their new wines. Finally, in 1984, Sassicaia was granted its very own title of DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia and the floodgates were opened. IGT is Italy’s version of the Common Market’s designation of IGP. This particular wine is seventy-five percent Merlot and twenty-five percent Alicante Bouschet, the same varietal that they add to their Chianti Classico. This is a high-altitude Merlot planted on a mix of quartz and clay of vines that average about nineteen years of age. The initial fermentation was for ten days in Stainless Steel with post-fermentation maceration on the skins for about a month and has been aged for twelve months in French Oak and then cellared for twelve months in the bottle, before being released. There were about two-hundred cases produced and according to The Fine Wine Source they have the lion’s share of the production. The bright purple-red wines offered notes of plums and herbs and on the palate a smooth well rounded wine offering layers of cherry and red fruits with spices and a medium finish of fruit and terroir. Since, I always mention how much I enjoy Merlot, I guess I am already biased towards this wine.