Castello Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG (750ml)
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Purchased in 1961 by Aldo Bianchi, he started vinifying the grapes from his Il Poggio vineyard separately the next year. Overseen by his son Fabrizio and daughter Laura, the risky move to vinify grapes and plots on their own demonstrated just how much of a force Sangiovese could be and thus, the first Cru of Chianti Classico was born.
Monsanto is located in the central-western part of Chianti Classico and more specifically, Castello di Monsanto is part of the sub-zone of San Donato in Poggio. The vineyards look out across the Elsa Valley, where mistral winds blow in directly from the Tyrrhenian Sea to mitigate the winters and cool the summers. Located between 280 and 320 metres above sea level, the vineyards benefit from a microclimate that allows Sangiovese to ripen uniformly most years.
In the glass the wine is ruby red tending towards garnet. The aroma is pronounced, intense, complex with notes of black cherry and spice. The wine is rich, intense and complex with excellent depth of red berry fruit, distinct spice, outstanding acidity and nicely weighted tannins.
Made from 90% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo and Colorino, the grapes are sourced from Barberino Val d’Elsa estate vineyards in the Chianti Classico appellation. Grapes are hand-picked at optimum ripeness and fermentation takes place in stainless steel at controlled temperatures and the wine ages in 18 months in French oak barriques. This wine is classified as a “Riserva,” meaning that it represents a more structured and fuller version of Chianti Classico.
While 2017 was a challenging year for some of Chianti Classico, 2018 proved to be a more consistent year producing a solid vintage overall; this is a wine that is bold and has incredible depth but remains quite fresh on the pallet. The nose reveals a powerful blast of cherries and menthol while the palate is generous with a bit of wild character. Easily accessible today, this wine could also be cellared for a decade or more.