Last night, James Suckling released his 2013 Chianti Classico report and he views the vintage as an excellent one for Chianti. This has resulted in a selection of very high scores for wines that are released at utterly superb prices. With the exception of Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo, which received 96 points, one Estate stole the show, Barone Ricasoli. This is fitting because it was Baron Bettino Ricasoli who in 1872 defined the Chianti recipe and is therefore the forefather of Chianti today. Barone Ricasoli make two exceptional wines; Castello di Brolio Gran Selezione and Colledila Gran Selezione. These were both awarded an exceptional 95 points and priced at £165 IB per 6×75 they offer an excellent entry point.

Ricasoli has the distinction of being the oldest winery in Italy, said to be the second oldest in the world, dating back to 1141. The Brolio castle is majestic, regarded as a palace, a landmark in the tapestry of Tuscan history. The vineyards that surround it are among the best in the region, cited in Gaiole and Castelnuovo Berardenga. The Grand Vin, Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio Gran Selezione is produced at Castello di Brolio, selected from the very best Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot grapes, which are sourced from the Estate’s 250 hectares of vineyards. This stunning assortment of vineyards are cited at a high elevation between 250m to 450m above sea level and are south/south-west facing, which means the vineyards are exposed to the ideal climatic factors required to produce a superb Chianti Classico. Fermentation and Maceration is carried out in stainless steel tanks, whereby skin contact occurs for a period of 14-16 days. Following this, the wine is then aged in French oak barriques and tonneaux (20% new) for a total of 21 months. This wine has previously been rated as one of the five best wines in the world by The Wine Spectator. We are very pleased to offer this new release to you at just £27.50 per bottle. It is a wine ready to drink now or one to cellar and drink over the coming years.

Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio Gran Selezione 2013, 6x75cl, £165 IB – 95 points, James Suckling

A bright and refined red with delicate chocolate, plum and raspberry character. Medium body, integrated fruit and tannins. Bright acidity. Love the vivid fruit and citrus combination here. Drink now or hold. 

Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Colledila Gran Selezione 2013 is considered to be their “Cru” wine. Colledila derives it name from the single vineyard where the grapes are exclusively selected from. This particular piece of land is the most beautiful part of the Estate and has been part of the Brolio Estate for centuries. This special terroir is famed for perennially adding complexity and elegance to the wine. It was only after fifteen years of research that they determined this single vineyard to be the ideal plot to produce their signature Cru wine, made from 100% Sangiovese.

The Colledila vineyard is south-west facing and is also at a higher elevation (380m). Thermo-regulated fermentation takes place over 12 to 16 days and the wine matures in new barrels and casks for 18 to 21 months. As a single vineyard Colledila’s production is small and therefore the wine is hard to source on release and with bottle age. As such, this presents a great opportunity to also secure their 2013 Cru for £165 per case of six bottles.

Both wines are classified as Grand Selezione, a new designation which only encompasses 10% of the wines produced per vintage. For a Chianti Classico to obtain Gran Selezione status, it must be made of 80% Sangiovese as before but capture the ‘signature’ of the grape, regardless of its geography among the nine Chianti communes. All grapes must be grown on the Estate, come from the finest single vineyards or plots of a vineyard and be aged for a minimum of 30 months to include three months in bottle. As such, wines that bear this designation are the pinnacle of what the leading Estates can do with their indigenous super grape.

Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Colledila Gran Selezione 2013, 6x75cl £165 IB – 95 points, James Suckling

A subtle and refined wine with cherry, chocolate and hints of meat. Medium body, ultra-fine texture and a long finish. So beautiful. Decadent and complex. Drink now.

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