Hey folks this time my review will revolve around another great wine, but this time my palate travels to the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany in Italy. Yes, I know a departure from the Chardonnay kick I've been on lately and is a review which has been long overdue. Chianti Classico is one of my favorite places in the world and I actually had the pleasure [and some pain] of traveling to this great and historic wine making region. This is the second wine I've reviewed from Brancaia and if you not familiar with that review, I would recommend taking a look there first before you continue reading here, it's entitled "Putting the "Super" in Super Tuscan
". It gives a lot more background on Brancaia than I will be accomplishing in this review today.
I know here I go again dipping into the pool of unadulterated honesty for which I'm sure I'll draw fire from some circles for claiming so, but here it goes; I believe truth is that wines [which can be quite dry and tannic in their youth] from the Chianti region can be both exciting and frustrating at the same time, because there are as many duds, as there are wines of wonder and amazement. Even among the [Denominazione di Orogine Controllata e Garantita] DOCG which designates a producer of Chianti Classico, where you should find the familiar Black Chicken on the neck of the bottle.
According to Jancis Robinson
, who notes that "Chianti is sometimes called the "Bordeaux of Italy",
as the flexibility in the blending recipe for Chianti accounts for some of the variability in styles among Chiantis." That said, when I find a great producer of Chianti, I get very excited and it's from this wellspring of excitement that I tell you it's a "new-day"
in Chianti Classico
and it's with great pleasure I present to you once more, Brancaia.
You may be asking why did I entitle this review a new day in Chianti? That's a good question, the premise of this "new-day" This pushing of the envelope, may be seen by some as "nuvo"
or un-traditional and while this may be true, it should not obscure the fact that Brancaia
is producing some [nope I didn't appreciate them all] truly fantastic wines, which are true to the concept of terroir
and in my mind many of their wines are a good example of what the region is capable of producing in the right hands.
To me this is what Brancaia certainly represents, as a new wave of producers in Chianti are thinking outside the traditional parameters in Chianti Classico, by introducing Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to their Sangiovese dominated blends and the use of French Oak barrels [some Tuscan winemakers consider anyone using French oak to be a non-traditionalist
First Swirl: After uncorking the bottle, [sorry Stelvin fans Chianti Classico only uses cork] and if you ask them about screw caps they just look at you like you must be from "outer-space". In the glass this wine has a deep colored garnet core, followed by a cerise colored rim, evidenced by the vivid color lurking in my glass.
First Sniff: Giving the wine a few good swirls, its aromatics open to reveal a super-elegant expression of fresh berries, and tobacco.
First Sip: The mouth feel reveals a plump expression of dark fruits, medium in weight, with a nice offset between the fruit and herbal characteristics which makes the wine very appealing today, while its sufficient tannic clout is enough to suggest allowing it to age for a few years to come.
Composition: 85% Sangiovese and 15% Merlot
Full Disclosure: So if you're wondering how I was able to get my hands on a bottle, well the fine folks at the Hess Collection who are the importers of this fine wine sent a sample to me. But my first encounter with Brancaia was in Italy and this is where I fell in love with their wines.
Price and where to purchase: Okay San Diego wine fans grabbing some of this wine is going to be a little tougher than I thought, as it is not sitting on any shelf just waiting for you to come and get it. If you really want this wine [I highly recommend it], the [sole] distributor Young’s Market [but without a liquor license you can't buy it] has plenty in stock but the majority of wine stores in San Diego would require you to purchase it by the case to keep the price in the reasonable range and by that I mean selling anywhere between $32.99 and $39.99, for specific prices please speak to your respective wine retailer. I spoke with the San Diego Wine Company and with Vintage Wines Limited of San Diego who both said they would order it for you, but you would need to speak with them regarding the arrangements of acquiring this wine.
My Recommendation: Because of the situation this wine is in, it may mean splitting a case with a friend or a few friends, who love a Chianti Classico like you do or maybe you could talk your favorite wine store into acquiring a few cases as a wise move to accommodate their customers. Whatever you do, I want to highly recommend this modern style of Chianti Classico to you, please give it a swirl and let me know your thoughts, I don't believe you will be disappointed, cheers.
Cuvée Corner Wine Blog Score: Hey point seekers here's my score if your interested: This wine scored 92 points on the Cuvee Corner 100 point scale and the QPR is very good. Another very well made wine worthy of a place in your cellar or at your dinner table.
Other Voices: In case you need another opinion about a wine that I've found most tasty, I give you Mr. James Suckling from WS [Wine Spectator] had this to say about the 2006 Brancaia Chianti Classico, "Shows plenty of crushed blackberry and cherry, with hints of flowers. Full-bodied, with a solid core of fruit and silky tannins that turn to vanilla and raspberry on the finish." and recommends to drink [good idea] now through 2014 and gave this wine a score of 91pts.