Italy > Chianti Rufina > Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva

Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva

Country: Italy
Region: Chianti Rufina
Producer: Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi
Grape variety: 90% Sangiovese / 10% Others (Malvasia Nera, Colorino, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon)
Vintage: 2008
Found at: Costco, Co-op Wines and Spirits, Real Canadian Liquorstore, Willow Park Wines and Spirits  (or see Liquor Connect and enter your postal code)
Price: $17.99 – $21.69

About the region: A few weeks ago, we visited Tuscany and described the rise of the Super Tuscans in response to stringent wine legislation and below-par quality standards in Chianti. Thankfully, practices have improved drastically in Chianti over the past several decades. In the vineyard, grape growers started looking for Sangiovese clones that would provide higher quality as opposed to higher volumes. Legislation also changed to allow any red grape variety to be added to the blend (at up to 20%) and local white varieties are now no longer allowed in the blend. In the winery, modern winemaking equipment was introduced.

Since so many different grape varieties are allowed to make up 20% of the blend, Chianti comes in a wide variety of styles. Winemaking practices contribute to the variety of styles as well: some producers still use the large, old wooden casks (known as botti), which are usually made of Slavonian oak, while other producers that are looking for a more modern, concentrated style are using smaller (225 litre) barrels made from French oak (known as barriques).

Most Super Tuscans display an international style of wine: that is, many aren’t necessarily an expression of Chianti’s unique qualities, but instead show characteristics that we find across the globe. Chianti, carried by 80-100% Sangiovese, will typically show blueberry, cherry, and savoury flavours with high acidity and tannins.

About the wine: The Frescobaldi family initially made their fortune in banking, after having moved to Florence at the end of the 11th century. Around 1300, the Frescobaldi’s inherited some vineyards and started producing wine, which soon got picked up by England’s royal family and others belonging to Europe’s upper echelon. Over the course of the next several centuries, the family continued to combine their winemaking business with other commercial activities, which ensured a distribution network that included the pope, Henry the VIII, King of England, and Donatello (the artist; not the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle).

The Castello di Nipozzano was built in 1000 as a defensive fortress, but at the start of the 16th century the Frescobaldi family converted it into a residence and winery, where it produces and cask-ages its red Chianti Rufina wines even until the present day.

The Chianti Rufina Riserva is one of those wines. It’s made in a modern style, spending 24 months in barriques and another 3 months in bottle before being released. There is blueberry, red cherry, black pepper, and cedar notes. Well-balanced, with some solid acidity holding it up and smooth tannins. It receives rave reviews year after year and regularly appears in Wine Spectator’s Top 100.

In Susanne’s words: I have loved this wine for years.

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