2016 Villa Calcinaia Chianti Classico



During the Italian Wars of the late fifteenth century, Charles “The Affable” VIII of France attempted to secure his throne from the Hapsburg encirclement by conquering the Apennine (or Italian) Peninsula. There, it was none other than Piero Capponi of a humble Tuscan estate near Greve who rebuffed the Affable King, routed his forces, and drove him out of Italy – if only just that one time.

Capponi was a landowner, having purchased his small manor house, Villa Calcinaia, on May 23, 1524,. Although  its name was “villa,” back then it wasn’t much of an Under the Tuscan Sun romance retreat. It was a simple house with four small connected poderi – vineyard plantings. And like any good Tuscan landowner, Capponi commenced to making wine – Chianti.

But not just any Chianti. True, much Chianti is consumed both in this country and in Italy as “pizza wine” or “Tuesday night wine.” And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, if you are willing to taste a little bit deeper, Chianti can be one of the most dramatic wines in the world. And to this palate, the village of Greve offers one of those sweet-spot combinations of soil, microclimate, aspect and vines that turns a “mere” Chianti into one of absolute world-class greatness. And that is what you’ve got in this bottle:

The wine opens with a powerful expression of dark cherry fruit characteristics backed up by woodsmoke, truffles, hints of gravel, earth and bittersweet chocolate.  Yet for all its savory characteristics, the wine is ultimately pinned to the earth with a core of pure and fresh fruit.  And while 2016 is a great vintage, the wine is not overdone:  There is enough acidity, tannin and all-around structure to give definition to the power.  It is drinkable now, but I am also a lover (and believer) in aging Sangiovese, and good Sangiovese, like Grand Cru Red Burgundy – I am guessing this one has at least 25 years of life in it.

And it’s not just me who likes this wine – Capponi’s descendants must have thought that the Villa Calcinaia produced some good juice too! Because for the next thirty seven generations, right down to the present day, the Capponis continue to make Chianti at Calcinaia – this sensational wine. Saluti!