Sometimes a single word evokes a myriad of thoughts and images. In this case that word is Chianti. Most wine drinkers recognize this as an Italian wine. But depending on how deeply immersed in wine one is, not everyone also realizes that’s it’s a region in Italy. Just about everything in European wine is based on area of origination. That includes what grapes can go into local wines. In Chianti of course as with numerous other areas of Italy, Sangiovese is the predominant grape. Marchesi de Frescobaldi has been producing wine in Italy for thirty generations. Their range of offerings vary from entry level selections (such as Remole for $10) that are appropriate for everyday drinking to higher end Brunellos and the like suitable for aging, collecting and most importantly fine drinking. Today I’ll look at the current release of the Nipozzano Riserva, one of their most recognizable, affordable and widely available wines. The Marchesi de Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rùfina DOCG Riserva 2006 was produced using fruit sourced at their Castello di Nipozzano estate vineyard. In addition to Sangiovese (90%), this wine includes Malvasia Nera, Colorino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in small quantities. Oak aging was accomplished over 24 months in Barrique. This wine also underwent 3 months of bottle aging prior to release. The suggested retail price for this wine is $22.99.
This 2006 Chianti has a striking deep red hue that leans ever so slightly towards purple. Cherry and leather aromas lead the nose along with floral elements. Cherry notes, both red and black continue their role as they are the focus of this wines palate. Dark plum notes are present as well. All of these flavors are underscored by a wave of gentle spice characteristics (vanilla, white pepper, nutmeg among others) that kick in around mid-palate and continue on to the long, lingering and pleasing finish. Sour cherry is a significant component on the finish along with a subtle hint of earth and Kalamata olive, as well as black pepper. This Chianti has firm but yielding tannins and crisp acidity. Wine is best when partnered with food. Italian wines tend to lean heavily in that direction. The Nipozzano Riserva 2006 is no exception. It’ll pair well with a wide array of foods. Strong cheeses, roasted meats or a dish of pasta with red sauce are a few obvious sure fire bets.
This wine is pretty accessible right out of the bottle. But I still highly recommend letting this Chianti breathe if you have the time. An hour in the decanter will prove to be a revelation. It allows this wine to fully open up and expose all its many charms. Delicious now, this wine will evolve over the next 7-8 years (at minimum) and drink well for several after that. For around $20 this is an affordable wine most can drink on a regular basis. The price is also reasonable enough to stash away a case for aging. You could check on a bottle every year or so, make your own notes and watch it age and evolve. This is a terrific way to learn about wine, and more importantly perhaps your own palate.