Palazzino Azzero Chianti
It is now a rare thing in the wine world to see a family estate being nurtured into the next generation. But that is exactly what is happening at Palazzino.
You know Palazzino – it’s the family Chianti estate that I have been selling to you since the 2008 vintage which produces the wines “Chianti”, “Chianti Argenina”, “Chianti La Pieve” and finally Grosso Sanese. When I first visited the farm Alessandro and Andrea were hard at work in their vineyards, the same vineyards they have been farming since the 1970s. But the future was unclear and their son was still at school and not committed to wine becoming his calling. But now, with the first official vintage of Azzero, I am very happy to say that the young Edoardo has returned home and Palazzino is in loving hands.
As special as Edoardo’s return home is, Azzero even goes beyond that. When Edoardo graduated from school he did at first return home to the family vineyards. But it still was unclear if this would become his life’s work. He then went and took several wine related internships in France where he grew under the influence of biodynamic, natural, and non-interventionalist wine making. When he came back to Palazzino he brought these ideas with him.
Its is fun to listen to Edoardo and Alessandro discuss these new wine philosophies that Edoardo brought back. Both are kind, listening, and concerned gentlemen so it’s a little bit of push and pull and tug and permission: Dad wasn’t convinced but he wasn’t stifling. A couple barrels of several new “experimental” Chianti were allowed to be tried (some of you tasted the last vintage in Delafield when Edoardo visited). Some passed the generational test, some did not. But with these tests both Edoardo and Alsseandro began to grow in mutual respect and wine making. The result is this wine – Azzero.
Azzero is simply a powerhouse. What is it? Technically it could be called a Chianti Classico because it’s 100% Sangiovese from the Palazzino estate. But Edoardo also wants to make his own wines, so he chose this name and label instead. It’s boldly black fruited and pure, with a robust structure that makes it taste more like Brunello but without the woody accent. Its bramble black fruit has the classic Tuscan flavor mix of truffles along with compelling tannins and minerality. I believe the “experiments” that made it into this bottle are biodynamics in the vineyard, no sulfur in the winery (absolutely zero is what the name apparently means), and all older, larger wood barrels. Again, the result is a pure powerhouse of Sangiovese.
To me, this is a great accomplishment. New ideas, new (and delicious) wine, new generation yet old estate and old traditions. I can’t think of anything better in the wine world – except maybe adding in a great deal. Here it is: