Ricasoli, Brolio 2018 Chianti Classico DOCG

Bright ruby red color. The nose is all hints of small red fruits, irises and violets. In the mouth, elegant, with velvety tannins well integrated with acidity. Persistent finish, expression of the territory of Brolio.

Origin: Gaiole, Chianti Classico

Grapes: Sangiovese 80%, Merlot 15%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%

ABV: 13.5%

Producer Profile

With a history that dates back nearly a thousand years the story of Ricasoli has, not surprisingly, become closely interwoven with that of the region. The strength and importance of this long association has been captured in a number of historical documents, including a reproduction of the Ricasoli family tree that was printed in 1584, which is one of the first references to wine in the Chianti region. Later documentation shows Ricasoli’s growing importance in the region, with records from the 1600’s detailing its first exports to Amsterdam and England. Bettino Ricasoli, who was known as the ‘Iron Baron’, is also credited with producing the original Chianti Classico blend in the 19th Century.

Grape Profile

The high acidity and light body characteristics of the Sangiovese grape can present a problem for winemaking. The grape also lacks some of the color-creating phenolic compounds known as acylated anthocyanins. Modern winemakers have devised many techniques trying to find ways to add body and texture to Sangiovese — ranging from using grapes that come from extremely low yielding vines, to adjusting the temperature and length of fermentation and employing extensive oak treatment. One historical technique is the blending of other grape varieties with Sangiovese, in order to complement its attractive qualities and fill in the gaps of some of its weaker points. The Sangiovese-based wines of Chianti have a long tradition of liberally employed blending partners—such as Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Mammolo, Colorino and Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Region Profile

The earliest examples of Chianti were a white wine but gradually evolved into a red. Baron Bettino Ricasoli, the future Prime Minister in the Kingdom of Italy created the first known "Chianti recipe" in 1872, recommending 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia bianca. In 1967, the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) regulation set by the Italian government firmly established the "Ricasoli formula" of a Sangiovese-based blend with 10-30% Malvasia and Trebbiano. However some producers desired to make Chianti that did not conform to these standards-such as a 100% variety Sangiovese wine, or all red wine grape varieties and perhaps with allowance for French grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to be used. A few producers went ahead and made their "chianti" as they desired but, prohibited from labeling, sold them as simple vino da tavola. Despite their low level classifications, these "super Chiantis" became internationally recognized by critics and consumers and were coined as Super Tuscans.

Viticulture

The vineyards which produce the grapes for the Brolio label are planted in five geological areas at an elevation between 280 meters to 480 meters (919 to 1, 575 feet high) and with different exposures. Vineyard soils vary greatly but all are strewn with stony fragments adding mineral richness. This exalts the structure of the Chianti Classico vintage. Overall, 2018 was a complex harvest due to the climate trends, which tended to be more humid than average in the past, but with excellent summer temperatures and a very dry period in the months of September and October. Thanks to good underground water supplies, the plants never suffered water stress and ripened regularly. The quality of the grapes was of a very high standard, which leads us to hope for a high quality wine.

Vinification

Fermented in stainless steel at controlled temperature of 24°C-27°C (75.2°-80.6°F) with 12/16 days of skins contact.

Aged for 9 months in used oak tonneaus (2 and 3 year old barrels)

Suggested Food:

Tomato-based pasta sauces, pizza, charcuterie and cheese board

Try it with:

Tuscan Ribollita