Barone Ricasoli, Rocca Guicciarda, DOCG Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy, 2011
Chianti Classico, and ageing regulations
There are 3 qualities under Classico – entry level rosso or normale, riserva, and gran selezione (from the 2010 vintage). Minimum alcohol rises at each level. There is a requirement for a minimum content of 80% sangiovese across all quality levels, which therefore permits varietal sangiovese wines. The 20% can be of eg cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, mammolo and canaiolo.
The period of exposure to oak during ageing is unregulated, the overall ageing requirements being, for rosso a minimum of 12 months, for riserva a minimum of 24 months of which 3 in bottle, and for gran selezione a minimum of 30 months of which 3 months in bottle, and further, must be estate bottled, but, in reality an estate may have vineyards in separate geographical areas.
This wine: lot no. L-RBT20 NC47-13, a blend of >= 80% sangiovese, plus in the minority, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, 15 months ageing in barrique (of 225l) and tonneau (of 900l ie equivalent to 4 barriques), coated natural cork closure, 13.5% abv, widely available, £18 (05/16)
Consumer tasting note: a nose of toasty spicy stewed red cherry, a touch creamy, dried herbs, with richer black cherry and liquorice appearing shortly; medium bodied, fresh, tannins a bit marked, with a weaker palate of ripe black berries and black liquorice. A rather expensive quaffing wine, not for deliberating over. Decant for 30 minutes.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity ruby, showing tears, no sediment.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of moderately toasty and spicy stewed red cherry, a slight meatiness, passing whiff of struck match, hint of beeswax, hint of sweet oak, ripe red plum, a floral lift of peony, creamy in a lactic sense red cherry, touch of black cherry, dried herbs, black liquorice.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium (+) tannins, medium (+) alcohol, medium body, medium intensity, with flavours of black berry, black cherry, black liquorice with a tarry edge to it. A medium length with a clean light to moderately grippy black berry and liquorice finish.
Quality: good, the sum of fresh acidity and tannins whilst in rough balance with the alcohol, is a little out of touch with the modest flavour intensity; concentration is also below par, verging on weak, though there is some complexity on the nose, but much less so on the palate; there is evidence of exposure to oak, with more than just a frill showing, and of time in bottle, with tertiary waxy and stewed notes. Finishes medium.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink up now, unsuited to further ageing – the balance is not particularly sound, and all other indicators are below par.