Guide to Italian Wines Two great Tuscan properties
© by Tom Hyland

Chianti Classico Two of the hottest properties in all of Chianti Classico are CASTELLO DI BROLIO and CASTELLO DI FONTERUTOLI. The former property, located in Gaiole in Chianti, has one of the longest histories of any wine estate in the world, having produced wine since 1141! In 1993, Barone Francesco Ricasoli took back control of the estate, spending millions of dollars replanting vineyards and upgrading the cellars. Today, Brolio is again one of Tuscany's leading wine estates.

At Castello di Fonterutoli in Castellina in Chianti, the Mazzei family creates bold, intensely fruity Chianti Classicos. All of their releases display the advances in viticulture and winemaking that characterizes the very best of Tuscany today. (Incidentally, Carlo Ferrini serves as consulting enologist for both wineries.)

CASTELLO DI BROLIO Gaiole

1999 BROLIO CHIANTI CLASSICO
Ruby red, aroma of cherry, cedar and a hint of thyme. Medium-full palate with fine concentration and an elegant finish with moderate tannins and lovely acidity. ($18) ***

1998 CASTELLO DI BROLIO
Ruby red, intense aroma of cherry, plum, tobacco, cinnamon and cedar. Medium-full to full palate with excellent concentration. Long finish with youthful but balanced tannins and textbook acidity. ($40) ****

1998 BARONE RICASOLI CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA "ROCCA GUICCIARDA"
Ruby red, aroma of black cherry, tomato and thyme. Medium-bodied with upfront fruit and a long finish with moderate tannins. A riper, more forward style than the Brolio Chianti Classico ($22) ***

1999 BARONE RICASOLI CASALFERRO (IGT)
Deep ruby red, aroma of black cherry, licorice, strawberry, vanilla and a hint of pepper. Medium-full palate with a gorgeous supple mouthfeel and a long, long, elegant finish with sleek tannins and very fine acidity. This is the finest Casalferro to date - not as big as the superb 1997, but more complete. ($45) *****

CASTELLO DI FONTERUTOLI Castellina in Chianti

2000 BADIOLA (IGT)
Deep garnet, aroma of violets and ripe cherries. Medium-bodied with bright fruit, soft tannins and very fine acidity, this is a Sangiovese meant for short-term enjoyment ($16) ***

1999 CHIANTI CLASSICO "MAZZEI"
Ruby red, aroma of black cherry, plum and black spices. Medium-full palate with ripe, forward fruit and an elegant finish. Beautiful acidity, this is enjoyable now and should drink well for another 3-5 years. ($28) ****

1997 CASTELLO DI FONTERUTOLI CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA
Ruby red, with an aroma of tomato, dried cherry and tobacco. Medium-full to full body with rich concentration and a long, long finish that combines the rich fruit with youthful, balanced tannins and well-integrated oak. This is impressive now, but will improve for another 5-7 years. ($45) *****

1999 SIEPI (IGT)
50% Sangiovese, 50% Merlot. Ruby red, aroma of chocolate, violets, black cherry and licorice. Full bodied palate with layers of flavor. Big finish with youthful, but balanced tannins and persistent fruit. Big and bold, but never over the top, this should age well for 7-10 years, perhaps longer. ($65) *****

The wines of Brolio and Fonterutoli are imported by William Grant and Sons, Edison, NJ

May 8, 2002

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