On the Road with the Grape Guy24 Jan 2024
- Category: On the Road with the Grape Guy
(October 2023) ... Sometimes, when you can't go to Italy, Italy must come to you. During a recent visit to Toronto, a rep from Cottonwood Agency tied me down to a date and time because she had two winemakers, winery principles, to sit around a dining room table with me and taste their wines. Both wineries were Tuscan in nature, but with very different backstories and motives.
Starting with the more traditional winery: Poggio Borgoni. This is a classical Chianti producer. The family bought 15 hectares of land in 1999 and had replanted everything by 2004. They are located approximately 20 km outside of Florence. The plantings they have are 10 hectares worth of Sangiovese. They produce three wines: Chianti Classico, Classico Reserva, and an IGT.
Today they wanted to show the age-ability of Chianti Classico, which I had experienced a few years ago during the Antiprema Toscana - but it is always nice to be reminded about how well these wines can age. It was also nice to try wines from two wildly different vintages - the tough 2013 and the amazing 2012.
2013 Borromeo Riserva - Chianti Classico
The name for this wine comes from a street near the house, that is part of the winery. It is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot ... The usual makeup of the wine. It's silky and structured with dried strawberry nuances. Elegant, but definitely showing its age.
2012 Borromeo Riserva - Chianti Classico
The riper of the two vintages tasted; the makeup of the wine is the same as above, but that is where the similarities end. The aromas lure one into the glass and deliver on the palate. The fruit here is still bright and alive, while the tannins are firm. Black fruit, spiced-plum and smoke all take a turn at center stage; there is plenty of life left in this bottle.
Winery Two: Fattoria Fibbiano
The focus here is on indigenous varieties. They bought a pre-phyloxera vineyard in 1997. That was an old seabed full of sandy soils. In 2000, they began to map the vineyard to see what they had. They then started to replant the vines using the DNA from the old vines fruit. They replanted using North American rootstocks. The goal is an organic, self-sustainable vineyard with full production capped at ~160,000 bottles from their 100-hectare property of which today they have 25 hectares planted and subdivided into 7 plots. The varieties they currently have are Sangiovese (in a variety of clones), Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Colorino and Foliotonda (all red varieties).
Name for one of the seven plots. It is a 50/50 Sangiovese / Canaiolo blend. Spends 2 years in concrete and two more in Slovenian oak. The acid takes the stage here and never relinquishes. Red cherry, raspberry, strawberry all make for pleasant, drinkable and lovely flavours. This is juicy with delicate tannins.
2017 Sanforte, Costa Toscana IGT
This is made using the oldest known variety of Sangiovese, which had small berries and naturally low yield. It also produced wine with naturally high alcohol. Thru the year this clone was removed and replanted with more vigorous varieties of Sangiovese. But it was rediscovered in the vineyard during the DNA testing. The first vintage using this variety as a standalone grape was in 2014 ... from vines planted between 2002 and 2005. It is grown in a 1.2 hectare plot, spends one year in concrete, one to two more in Slovenian oak and another two in bottle before release. Only 6,000 bottles are produced. The wine jumps into the dark fruit realm, almost immediately; there's also a delicate smokiness on the nose. There's a richness on the palate where tannins meet cassis, black, plum and smoke. This is a powerhouse wine, but also shows a real elegance.
Primarily a Sangiovese wine, but a more apt description would be a field blend - named after the plot from where it came. This two hectare vineyard produces 2000 bottles a year and is the fruit from the The recouped 1894 vineyard. It's a fun historical wine that has high toned fruit and a little VA. Juicy, with cherry nibs across the palate. 2 years in concrete. 2 years Slavonian oak. 2 to 3 years in bottle - depending on aging and vintage conditions.