2013 Palazzino Argenina
The Cru of Brolio is the birthplace of Chianti as a wine and wine region. Even before the Baron Bettino Ricasoli wrote the modern recipe for Chianti’s wines here in 1872, the region’s terroir – its soil, climate and aspect – was recognized as the best place to grow and make Sangiovese, the heart of all great Tuscan wine.
On the southeast-facing slope of Brolio, tucked into a nook is the family Palazzino. And while their winery is small, their little slope of vineyard is a slice of wine heaven.
You can stand in their driveway and see the storm clouds blow right on by, dumping rain on the next village down. Their soil is a compound of two different types of rock: a shale which vine roots can penetrate and a harder marble which has to be dynamited out of the ground. This is their single vineyard, Argenina, in the heart of Chianti Classico. And all these factors come together to create Sangiovese that is not only from the historic heartland of Chianti, but is also one of Chianti’s most deep, impassioned expressions.
In other words, this wine may be born of a humble family but is incredibly noble in its expression:
A dazzling display of black cherry fruit with hints of wood-fired cedar, blackberries, ripe plums, camphor and warm leather all leap from the glass. The shale rock mentioned above is said to give these wines a great depth of minerality, and here it is on full display: the body is deep and muscular, with a richness of minerality and fruit purity. It is deeply expressive of its origins and is a tribute to this great region.
And I am not the only one who thinks this. As Antonio Galloni, owner of Vinous and former wine writer for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate notes:
“Il Palazzino’s 2013 Chianti Classico Argenina offers striking depth and density, with plenty of Sangiovese character. Herbs, black olives, licorice, smoke and game create a striking aromatic presence. The masculine personality of Sangiovese from the southern reaches of Chianti Classico comes through loud and clear in this super-expressive wine.
Sometimes Chianti is thought to be simple, and maybe the price below fools you into thinking this one fits that category. But don’t. Here is a family about to make its 40th vintage with one grape in arguably the world’s best terroir for that grape. Great wine need not be expensive to be spectacular. And when Chianti is great, to my palate it is one of the greatest wines in the world.
While this wine is awesome now, I urge you to do what I am doing – buy cases upon cases of this sucker. It’ll only get better over the next ten, if not twenty years. And for me, that means every pizza night for a long, long time is gonna be upgraded. For $15, let’s make the evening awesome.
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