Saturday, September 1, 2018

Badia a Coltibuono: Beginnings by Monks in Gaiole in Chianti

As we’re anxiously awaiting the cool weather to arrive here in the Boston area, or should I say New Hampshire now since my recent move, I’m starting to get back in to a red wine frame of mind and this month’s Italian Food, Wine & Travel group is highlighting some Italian fall reds to get the season started. 
We’re going to visit one of my favorites, if not my most favorite, grape of Italy.....sangiovese.  I’m sharing 4 different styles of sangiovese from the producer Badia a Coltibuono from the Tuscany region.   

The Winery ~ Badia a Coltibuono 
The Badia a Coltibuono winery started back in 1846 when the land was bought by Michele Giuntini, the great grandfather whom is also a cousin of the Selvapiana family of Rufina.  Today the winery is run by the 7th generation of the Stucchi Prinetti family,  Roberto and Emanuela Stucchi-Prinetti.   

The winery is named after the Latin name “Badia a Cultus Boni” meaning the “abbey of good culture”.  The Vallombrosan monks settled there in 1051 and agriculture was their way of life and primarily utilized the land for for olive oil and vines, which it’s still used today for.  They were forced to sell in the 19th century.  Today, in addition to the winery, there is also a cooking school operated by author, Lorenza de’ Medici di Ottajano, whom has written a boatload of cookbooks that I’m going to be seeking out myself to try.  

The Land ~ Gaiole in Chianti 
Badia a Coltibuono is located in Gaiole in Chianti, which falls within the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany.  It’s one of the main communes of the Chianti Classico territory that falls within the province of Siena located between Siena and Florence.  Gaiole in Chianti, like many of the other charming towns of Tuscany, is surrounded by rolling Tuscan hills and vineyards stumbling across a number of castles and churches in a rustic setting.   
Gaiole in Chianti Tuscany
Every October held on the 1st Sunday of the month the popular L’Eroica is held in Gaiole in Chianti.  Since 1997 this is a vintage bike race where only bikes built in 1987 and prior are allowed to be part of the event where they travel on gravel roads for about 209 km.  Unlike normal races where many stop for water in this area I’m curious if some stop for a quick glass of vino.  I would! 

The Grapes ~ Sangiovese 
Sangiovese is the most widely planted grape in Italy and the one mostly shared today.  I personally love this grape for its many typical qualities which include cherry and plum notes backed by high acidity and firm tannins.  It can be a rustic, earthy wine with elements of spice, leather and tobacco.  It’s a thin-skinned late ripening grape. 

The sangiovese wines of the past didn’t have the greatest reputation where the focus had been more on quantity over quality.  You may remember the days of the straw covered bottles known as fiasco.  Thankfully in recent decades sangiovese has made some major improvements and have shifted away from the days of quantity (well not all wineries), but there are plenty of great producers out there making quality sangiovese today. 

Sangiovese is primarily found in the central regions of Italy including Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, Lazio and Umbria.  It’s made it’s away around the world to other wine producing regions like the US (primarily California) and Australia.   
Badia a Coltibuono wines Gaiole in Chianti
The Wines 
The Badia a Coltibuono wines that the Stucchi-Prinetti family produce are certified organic using natural yeasts.   

2015 Coltibuono Chianti Classico RS DOCG 
2015 Coltibuono Chianti ClassicoThe Coltibuono labeled wines are produced from a selection of grape growers that the family has partnered with.  Made from 100% sangiovese this wine is aged a few months in neutral oak vats.  An approachable, easy drinking style chianti classico with juicy cherries, supple tannins and rather smooth wine with good acid.SRP $15 ABV 13.5% 
2016 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico DOCG 
2016 Badia a Coltibuno Chianti ClassicoAll the Badia a Coltibuono labeled wines are made from the family’s estate vineyards.  Produced in Monti in Chianti this wine comes from 15-25 year old vines.  The wine is comprised of hand picked sangiovese primarily combined with canaiolo, ciliegiolo and colorino.  Aged 1 year in French and Austrian oak casks.  Compared to the last this wine was more classic chianti classico ruby in the glass with notes of cherry and violets with hints of tobacco and spice.  Well balanced with nice acidity, solid tannins lingering in the mouth upon completion.  SRP $22 ABV 14% 
2013 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG  
2013 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico RiservaThe winery considers this their classic wine and possesses riserve chianti classico that date back to 1937.  They had lost prior vintages due to WWII.  Sourced from vineyards of up to 40 years old this wine is also a blend of primarily sangiovese with colorino, ciligielo and canaiolo.  Aged 2 years in French and Austrian oak with 4 months in the bottle before release.  A beautiful chianti classico riserva with much more complexity and aromas of cherry, licorice, spice and chocolate notes.  Full-bodied with plenty of acidity and tannin to age this for some time.  SRP $35 ABV 13.5% 
2013 Badia a Coltibuono Montebello Toscana IGT 
2013 Badia a Coltibuono Montebello
The standout wine from the group and stands proudly amongt the other bottles.  This goes to show how not always the designations dictate quality as this wine is labeled as an IGT because it doesn’t follow the specific laws of a chianti classico.  This wine is made of mammolo, sangiovese, ciliegiolo, pugnitello, colorino, malvasia nera, canaiolo, sanforte and fogliatonda.  Aged 12-16 months in oak casks with 6 months in the bottle a full-bodied wine showing earthiness, dark berries, spice and firm tannins.  A personal favorite of mine from this tasting with the Chianti Classico RiservaSRP $60 ABV 15%

The Favorite Italian Red Wines For Fall #ItalianFWT event will be Saturday, September 1, 2018. The following posts will go live early that morning and you can follow along on a Twitter chat — using #ItalianFWT — from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. CT.
Future #ItalianFWT Events
October 2018 (hosted by Gwendolyn of Wine Predator) Lugana November 2018 (hosted by Katarina of Grapevine Adventures) Gaglioppo and Calabria December 2018 (hosted by Martin of Enofylz Wine Blog) Italian Sparkling Wines

*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are all my own.  Imported by Dalla Terra Winery Direct. 


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