Italian wine: A Taste of Tuscany's Gran Selezione

Jan 19, 2020 46

Within Italian wine you have the typical designations of vino da tavola (table wine), climbing up to IGT, DOC and then DOCG wines.  Within the Chianti Classico DOCG in particular there is another set of categories starting at the “annata” level, known as vintage.  Above that are your Chianti Classico Riserva wines with additional aging.  Then comes the newer category known as the Gran Selezione.

The Gran Selezione was established in 2013 and dates back to wines at the 2010 vintage and beyond.   These wines are intended to be the cream of the crop, but we know as that goes it’s all personal preference and I never believe a wine is better because of its designation or price point.  Judge for yourself.  Overall though the wines are to be grown the a vineyards best grapes with many coming from single vineyard sites.  The wines are required to be at least 13% alcohol and a minimum of 30 months of aging with 3 of those spent in the bottle.  The wines also go through a tasting and lab analysis in order to carry this particular designation.

The Wines

2015 Borgo Salcetino “I Salci” Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG

One of the brands under Azienda Agricola Livon’s umbrella, Borgo Salcetino began in 1996 with about 30 acres planted to grapes.  The owners and winemakers,Valneo and Tonino Livon, actually hail from the region of Friuli.  They wanted to try out winemaking in the Chianti Classico district, located particularly in Radda in Chianti.  It seems they are really revamping the winery and vineyards so I’d be interested to see the future progression. 

I couldn’t find the technical sheet on this wine, but was told at the tasting it was about 80-90% sangiovese with 10% canaiolo and spends about 2 years in wood, which was very apparent upon tasting.  Bright acid with dried cherry flavors and spice.  Some gripping tannins so I’d like to see this wine tasted in the future as I believe it stills need some time or decanting, but I’m all about these characteristics hence why I’m a lover of sangiovese.  ABV 14.5% SRP $50

2015 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico San Lorenzo Gran Selezione DOCG

The estate of Castello di Ama has a rich history unfortunately destroyed in the 15th century under the Aragonese invasion and rebuilt later into the 18th century.  Even though winemaking of this area dates far back Castello di Ama has been producing wine for the last 35 years when over 200+ acres of vineyards were replanted.  Today the winery is run by one of the young daughters, Lorenza Sebasti, whom married a well-known agronomist and prior President of the Chianti Classico Consortium, Marco Pallanti. 

Marco’s early on research project over 10 years helped to define the vineyards of Castello di Ama to ensure that the best quality grapes were being grown on the right parcels of land throughout the estate.  His dedication to the region to make sure that the wines of Chianti Classico are produced at optimum quality is very important to him and others of the region.

The 2015 San Lorenzo Gran Selezione is made of 80% sangiovese, 7% malvasia nera and 13% merlot.  Aged in 18% new oak barrique for 10 months.  Juicy black cherry and blackberry with herbal qualities and a hint of tobacco.  A bit of earthiness on this wine.  Although the tannins seem rather chewy up front they seem to become more velvety on the finish.  A layered and beautiful wine.  ABV 13% SRP $55        

2015 Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Gran Selezione DOCG

Last, but not least I received this wine as a sample for the group. I've yet to try the extra virgin olive oil, but I have a special place in my heart for the olive oil of Tuscany. The Ricasoli family is one I’ve written about a few times at Vino Travels and earlier this year featuring the Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva.  This time around I had the opportunity to try their 2015 Gran Selezione.  Produced from 90% sangiovese, 5% cabernet sauvignon and 5% petit Verdot spending 18 months in 30% new tonneaux barrels.  Medium-bodied and a well-balanced wine with nice elegance.  Pure red fruits expressed finishing with notes of sweet tobacco and vanilla nuances. ABV 14% SRP $70   

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