Ricasoli Brolio Riserva 2016, Chianti Classico
Sipping a beautiful Chianti usually transports me back to Tuscany, where my wife Teri and I visited with friends several years ago.
The green rolling hills, the hilltop towns and wineries and the incredible food live on in my memories, and a sip of wine from the region bring them all rushing back.
The Ricasoli Brolio Riserva 2016 from the Chianti Classico region had that effect on me when I drank it paired with a hearty vegetable soup.
It’s a shimmering ruby red in the glass with lush aromas of wild red fruit and black cherry. There are some spice and balsamic notes, but the fruit aromas prevail. On the palate it is a soft, round wine, with mild tannins and a robust, pleasant finish. It is a harmonious wine that is just right for many occasions, from a quiet sip on the back porch to dinner parties.
The blend is 80 percent Sangiovese, 15 percent Merlot and 5 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, produced from all estate-grown grapes. The vineyards range from 853 feel elevation to 1,640 feet.
The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature between 75 and 80 degrees, with 14-16 days of skin contact. After fermentation and blending the wine spent 18 months in first- and second-use tonneaus, or large barrels.
The winery is situated in Brolio Castle, with the winemaking and cellar located at the foot of the hill that holds the castle. Each vineyard parcel is handled separately in small steel vats. The original 19th century cellar was renovated and designed to have minimum impact on the wine, with everything gravity fed.
Ricasoli also produces Brolio Chianti Classico with the same blend. It only spends about nine months on oak, so it is a little less refined. But it has many of the same characteristics as the Riserva and sells for about $8 less.
Winery: Ricasoli 1141 is the most historic and representative wine producer in the Chianti Classico DOCG. Francesco Ricasoli, the 32nd Baron and owner, manages the 3,000 acre estate and winery, continuing the Ricasoli family legacy.
Castello di Brolio is an idyllic destination for wine and hospitality, offering guided wine tours, an Osteria with seasonal Tuscan fare, and scenic guesthouse accommodations.
Ricasoli produces an exceptional range of wines, including four Gran Selezione, Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva, and Toscana IGT labels.
The vineyards are planted around the Castle of Brolio, in the municipality of Gaiole in Chianti Classico. Since 1993 Francesco Ricasoli has been leading the company through new challenges, while honoring his ancestors beginning with Bettino Ricasoli, the “Iron Baron”, who was the second prime minister of a united Italy in the 1860s.
Bettino is credited with developing the modern formula for Chianti wine: 70 percent Sangiovese, 15 percent Canaiolo and 15 percent Malvasia bianca.
The history of the Ricasoli family has been linked to wine since 1141: written records dating back to that date attest that the family then owned Castello di Brolio. Over several centuries members of the family defended the land and nearby feudal lordships.
They then turned to the development of agriculture and vineyards. From the late 1600s, documents report the first exports to Amsterdam and England, while at the beginning of the 1900s Brolio wines, widespread and appreciated, were in demand and exported all over the world.
Francesco Ricasoli has brought out new ideas for the vineyards, stressing development in a sustainable way. Study of the soils and the clonal selection of Sangiovese di Brolio are among his greatest passions.
The company follows the three pillars of sustainability (social, environmental and economic).
The vineyards of the Ricasoli are all hilly, with altitudes ranging from 700 to 1,640 feet above sea level, exposed mainly to the south/southwest. The climate is continental, with rainfall concentrated in spring and autumn, mild winters with rare snowfalls, and hot and dry summers.
Goes with: We had this tasty wine with vegetable beef soup, a hearty soup that needs to be paired with a powerful wine. The Ricasoli Chianti Classico Reserve fit the bill perfectly.
The smooth fruitiness of the wine plays off the savory flavors in the soup while the mellow tannins give the wine some backbone. The wine begins with a beef broth and includes many different vegetables, including potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, turnips, parsnips and parsley.
This is a food-friendly wine that would pair well with many soups and stews, roast chicken or duck, pizza and a wide variety of cheeses.
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