Of the three wines produced on the property, this Chianti gives the most hedonistic, unadulterated expression of pure unbridled deliciousness. It is a fruit-driven, full-bodied, smooth, flavorful red that does an admirable Houdini act on your table. There is no better example to show why Chianti is still going strong after three hundred years of “official” production.
Almost all of the growers with whom we work manage “small family farms.” Then there is Podere Campriano in Greve, who prove the statement more literally than just about anyone. This Tuscan family lives in a humble farmhouse atop a small hillside of 2 hectares of Sangiovese vines. This is their organically pampered backyard from which they craft a delicious Chianti Classicos in the stone cellars beneath their home. The Campriano red wines are traditionally made and reflective of the unique terroir of the Alta Greve—dark, galestro schist infused wines with bold fruit and serious depth. The extreme care and focus of the Lapini family and their dedication to organic agriculture impart a unique character and spirit upon their wines.
Perhaps no region is tied to Italy’s reputation as a producer of fine wine as much as Tuscany. Since Etruscan times, viticulture has played a prominent role in this idyllic land of rolling hills, and the Tuscan winemaking tradition remains as strong as ever today. With a favorable Mediterranean climate, an undulating topography offering countless altitudes and expositions, and a wealth of poor, well-draining soils, conditions are ideal for crafting high-quality wines. Add to that the rich gastronomical tradition—Tuscany is home to some of the country’s finest game, pastas, salumi, and cheeses—and you have the blueprint for a world-class wine region.
This is Sangiovese territory; in fact, it is arguably the only place in the world where Sangiovese reaches a truly regal expression. In spite of a rocky history with fluctuations in quality, traditionally produced Chianti has reclaimed its status as one of the country’s most reliable, food-friendly reds, while the rapid rise of Brunello di Montalcino shows the grape’s potential for grandiose, opulent reds allying power and finesse. Traditionally-minded growers have stuck to using only indigenous grape varieties and employing techniques like aging in massive wooden casks known as botti, creating wines of terroir that shine at the Tuscan table.
Tuscan wines have had a place in our portfolio since Kermit’s first visit in 1977. While the names of the estates have changed, the spirit of those first unfiltered Chiantis he imported live on through our current selections.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Inspiring Thirst, page 171
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