Sunday, May 06, 2007

1997 Castell'in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva

I love the sangiovese-based wines of Tuscany. So why has it been 5 months since I last wrote one up? In part because I keep drinking my old faves - the Fonterutoli, Nipozzano, and Poggio Bronzone - but mostly because I forgot. In preparation for a dinner of wild boar steaks on the BBQ, I nearly went for the shiraz because of how well it pairs with game, but I read somewhere that a Chianti Riserva is also a perfect match. And it was.

The 1997 Castell'in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva is a great example of nicely made Chianti with a few years of cellaring behind it. Despite approaching nearly 10 years of age, the colour was still a bright cherry red, with only a hint of brick red from bottle age. The nose burst forth with musky, leathery, oaky aromas, with additional scents of tea, cloves, black cherries and some subtle floral scents. After a one hour decant, this wine was very, very smooth - medium bodied with velvety tannins, nice acidity and ripe cherry fruit. Complex, interesting, and a beautiful pairing for wild boar off the grill (a first for me). A classically-styled Chianti, this wine is at its peak now. A tip of the hat to my friend Lloyd who insisted I buy this.
13.5% alcohol
Score 17.5/20
Cost: C$45

PS - for our second bottle, I opened up the 2003 Nipozzano - a great wine, as always.


Anonymous said...

Joe - I find these CiV '97 Riservas are still getting better, though nearing peak. Whenever the SAQ has a sale, I found 'em as recently last Feb...the '01 Badia a Passignano CC Riserva and the '01 Ruffino Ducale Oro (both need an hr decant) are also excellent, long-life-candidate examples of the breed...thnx for the nod!

Joe said...

Hi 'Anonymous' - I did say at its peak, not 'peaked'. I think it will stay here for a while, but it won't get better. I have had mixed results with the Oro, but I still have a few in my cellar to review in coming weeks. Never had the Badia, but I know you have recommended them in the past - you wouldn't steer me wrong! Cheers!