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Fanfare for Vecchie Viti

Deborah Parker Wong / photos by the author

Frescobaldi family tradition becomes Castello di Nipozzano's "Old Vines"

Handwritten labels from the 1961 vintage.

On the occasion of his birth, the wine given to the Marquise Lamberto Frescobaldi by his father Leonardo was produced from an old-vine site at the family's Castello di Nipozzano estate in Chianti Rufina. Wines from the 25-acre vineyard had traditionally been reserved for family members, but with the recent emphasis on identifying cru-worthy sites in Chianti, in April, Frescobaldi unveiled the first release of Castello di Nipozzano 2011 Vecchi Viti Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG with a medieval celebration at the estate timed to coincide with Vinitaly.
  Celebration at Castello di Nipozzano

Lamberto Frescobaldi set the stage for the introduction of Vecchie Viti (old vines) with a tasting of two library wines from the estate. Rich with tarry balsamic and dark cherry aromas, the 1961 Castello di Nipozzano had a lively ruby core of cherry bark, cinnamon, chocolate and saddle. "At the time, Trebbiano was blended with the Sangiovese and the result is a wine that's aging better than I am," he said of the vintage he received in lieu of the underwhelming 1963. The 1974 Montesodi, a 100% Sangiovese that was the first vintage for the label, was garnet and delicate on the palate with fully-developed notes of earth, tart, red cherries, cinnamon and worn leather. "My father was something of a renegade with this wine," said Lamberto "even then he believed that the wines of Nipozzano were age-worthy."

Lamberto Frescobaldi.    

Vecchie Viti 2011 is the first new wine for Nipozzano since the introduction of an IGT Bordeaux-style blend from the estate's Mormoreto vineyard in 1983. A Sangiovese-dominant field blend that includes Malvasia Nera, Canaiolo and Colorino, Vecchie Viti 2011 is deep ruby with raspberry, black tea, dried herbs and a striking freshness that's attributed to the estate's chalky limestone soils. Large Slovenian casks lend a nuanced oak signature to the old-vine expression and tannins have been rounded by two years (of the requisite 38 months aging) in wood. The Montesodi Riserva DOCG and Nipozzano's oak-aged Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG which is largely regarded as one of the best quality-for-value wines in Tuscany complete the estate's portfolio.

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