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Wining Hour Feature: CeniPrimo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Ok, so while I may not ever need a reason to drink good wine, CeniPrimo was a great choice for the month of August for numerous reasons! For one, August represents the last full month of Summer, so it is definitely a time for basking in the sun and enjoying life. August is a festive month for many Italiani, as Ferragosto is observed. Lastly, August is the month in which I gain another year of wisdom! CeniPremo, the awesome Italian red wine from the Ricasoli family at Castello Brolio in Tuscany, was just the thing.

Ricasoli Estate and Castello Brolio, Gaiole in Chianti

Since 1141, the Ricasoli estate and Castello Brolio located in Gaiole in Chianti, has been a name associated with the production of Chianti. Not only was Baron Ricasoli instrumental in the Risorgimento that led to Italian Unification, after years of wine making and research, it was also Baron Bettino Ricasoli (“Il Barone di Ferro,” the Iron Baron) who suggested the formula for Chianti. He was very instrumental in Tuscan viticulture and in crafting an approachable wine with indigenous grapes using the practice of governo all’uso Toscano. Today, the Ricasoli estate has continued to be a cornerstone of Chianti Classico and craft the highest quality wines under the guidance of Francesco Ricasoli, the current owner and President and 32nd Baron Ricasoli.

Baron Francesco Ricosoli (right) and Agronomist, Massimiliano Biagi (left)
Ricasoli Wine Tasting

Tuscany is recognized as one of the most important and well-known wine regions of Italy, being the home of great wines such as Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Super Tuscans and, of course, Chianti Classico. Chianti Classico, originally known as Chianti Storico, was delineated in the 14th century. The Chianti Classico appellation (not to be confused with Chianti), stretches between Florence and Siena. It includes the well-known townships of Castellina, Radda and Gaiole and Greve, as well as parts of part of Barberino Val d’Elsa, San Casciano in Val di Pesa and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa within the Province of Florence, and parts of Castelnuovo Berardenga and Poggibonsi in Siena. By law, Chianti Classico is crafted from a minimum of 80% Sangiovese with a maximum of 20% of sanctioned ancilliary red grapes. There are three categories of Chianti Classico within the DOCG: Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva and Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. CeniPrimo, from Ricasoli, is a Chianti Classico Gran Selezione.

The Wining Hour Tasting: CeniPrimo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2016

As mentioned, CeniPrimo, is a Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, which was established in 2014, represents the highest quality and is at the top of the Chianti Classico pyramid. According to DOCG regulations for this category, the wines are sourced from a single vineyard and they are the best estate grown grapes. A minimum ABV level of 13% with at least 30 months aging (three of which must occur in the bottle) is required by the disciplinare, along with portraying the Gallo Nero trademark (Chianti Black Rooster) and other stringent requirements. This lovely Gran Selezione is a cru of 100% Sangiovese from the CeniPrimo vineyard, located at 300 meters above sea level on the Ancient Fluvial Terrace geological foundation. The soil, of Pilocene-Pleistone origin, is rich with clay and silt deposits. After harvesting manually, the grapes are destemmed and transferred to stainless steel tanks and then inoculated with selected yeasts. Following is fermentation and maceration on the skins for about 14-16 days. Aging is for 18 months in 500-liter tonneaus (30% new and 70% used).

I had the pleasure of tasting wines Ricasoli’s wines several times, and each time was a treat! CeniPremo is medium ruby red, with intense aromas of cherry, violet and plum. The palate is similar, as it unfolds with even more cherry and spicy plum, along with earthy, balsamic notes, tobacco and hints of salinity. This wine manifests excellent structure and complexity, with well balanced layers of fruit and tannins. The finish lingers…so you just have to take another sip. While CeniPrimo is five years old, it has the capacity to offer so much more. It can certainly age for another 10+ years. 14.5% ABV.

Again, Castello Brolio CeniPrimo was a perfect choice for my August wine feature! I enjoyed this Gran Selezione by itself, and then even more with a massive ribeye. Win-win.

Have you tried CeniPrimo? How about another Chianti Classico Gran Selezione? Which one(s)?

Check out this post on Super Tuscans

Planted, harvested and aged in NY. I have a background in education and marketing, with a love and passion for travel...and all things wine. In addition to writing about wine, I also maintain an online wine boutique (thewininghour.com) that caters to the winelover, as well as the weekly vinous winechat (#WiningHourChat) on Twitter (see page for more info).

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