"Rich, vivid and beautifully layered".
We noted last year that the 2015 Rocca Di Montegrossi Chianti Classico was a fairy-tale Chianti. Producer Marco Ricasoli has now reached a tier above praise with this offering. I have always loved Rocca as they produce a beautiful wine no matter what the vintage conditions. They have honed the near-perfect conditions of 2016 to make a near perfect Chianti Classico.
The 2016 Chianti Classico is a very serious wine in its peer group. Rich, vivid and beautifully layered, the Chianti Classico will give readers a very good look at just how compelling 2016 is as a vintage. Sweet red cherry, tobacco and menthol notes open up in the glass, but more than anything else, Rocca di Montegrossi's Chianti Classico is a wine of true character. It will age gracefully for a number of years. 92 Points. A. GALLONI
The accolades keep coming. It has been included in Wine & Spirits' Top 100 Wineries. It has received ecstatic reviews from Robert Parker, Wine Spectator, Antonio Galloni at Vinous, James Suckling and Jancis Robinson. Falstaff, Austria's leading magazine has made it their top wine of the year for the second year running and it has scorched the awards circuit in Asia, an emerging market for Italian Wine. It is not possible to find anything written about this wine that is anything other than glowing. But why should we buy Chianti Classico?
Many people mistakenly still associate Chianti Classico with being a light and characterless wine that came in the traditional wicker basket. This wicker basket by the way is called a fiasco in Italian - an apt description of the juice contained therein. Going even further back, they used to seal the wine with olive oil rather than cork. More recently though, Chianti was such a volatile proposition because of its appellation laws, the most ludicrous stipulating that a certain amount of white grapes must be used in the blend. (These archaic and inappropriate laws were partly what fuelled the Super Tuscan movement - but that is for another day). Eventually, responding to pressure from ever-increasingly exasperrated producers, the consorzio put in place new production laws to guarantee quality for the consumer. Chianti Classico has also implemented 'zonation' and now the terroir-led characteristics for the various villages have come to the fore, moving CC away from the old Rioja-style homogenous production, toward a more nuanced Burgundian vineyard-based system. Ok, why buy Rocca Di Montegrossi?
The Ricasoli and Medici families fought for the soul of the region and the scars of war today are borne in the form of beautiful forts and castles that dot the Tuscan Countryside. The old village of Giaole in Chianti Classico is no exception. Rocca Di Montegrossi is named after a 7th Century castle at the heart of this region and the family behind this wine, have lineage that dating back to the creation and original recipe for Chianti Classico. Marco Ricasoli, descendent and current wine maker at Rocca is one of Italy's leading wine makers. Thoughtful and softly spoken, he quietly seeks and achieves excellence every year non matter what the vintage throws at him. Is this his best effort ever?
Rocca is made in the village of Gaiole, where the wines are typically richer and more full bodied that in the rest of CC. Marco Ricasoli achieves beautiful acidity and minerality on his wines due to an extra bit of altitude and the galestro soils, that are very rich in calcium, not to mention the site itself - the original Chianti recipe was born here for a reason! His best ever? Maybe. I am just always excited to taste his new wine.
This result for me is the most complete Chianti Classico available. (He also makes a Grand Selezione called San Marcellino which we will also tackle another day if we can find some to sell). The wine is classic but ripe. It has rich and luscious fruit but is underpinned by a backbone of acidity and minerality. The usual galaxy of CC characteristics are present in it's magnificent complexity; black fruits, red fruits, spice, blossom, rose, leather - the list goes on. The wine is supported firstly by the lovely dusty sangiovese tannins that seem to refresh the palate and prepare it for great length on the finish.
Is there better Tuscan wine available? Sure. Is there at this price? No. No way.