The 2011 vintage brought fair weather to Tuscany, so not surprisingly Castello di Monsanto once again fashioned a truly beautiful, complex Chianti Classico Riserva in 2011. The wine has garnered tremendous press, including 92 points from Wine Spectator. This is certainly an excellent score, but it is a score that may prove a bit stingy as Castello di Monsanto’s Chianti Classico Riserva is traditionally one of the more reticent of the great Chianti Classicos upon release. Happily, it possesses the propensity to mature into one of the finest and most complex wines in all Chianti. The beautiful 2011 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva is no exception. The classic 2011 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva recalls the beautiful Tuscan landscape: elegant, fecund, positively captivating, timeless, and always in good taste, and this Riserva is no less stunning than the land that produced it. It offers up savory scents and flavors of cherry, wild berries, fennel, forest floor, tobacco and spice, all wrapped in a powerful package. Although it can be savored and enjoyed now, this outstanding 2011 Chianti Classico Riserva is built for the long haul and will continue to improve for up to a decade. For optimal enjoyment we strongly suggest opening this Tuscan treasure at least one hour ahead and serving it at cool room temperature (60°-65° F). Salute!
The superbly crafted 2011 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva is one of the easiest Tuscan reds to bring to table. It pairs equally well with Tuscany’s country cooking as it does with many classic specialties from around the world. Although it is a sophisticated wine that deserves to hold court with the best one has to offer, it also has a way of making ordinary country foods seem like haute cuisine. Who can pass on a mid week treat? Consequently, Ribollita, a traditional Tuscan soup based upon beans, bread, olive oil and herbs has always been a personal favorite with Monsanto’s wines. Thick lentil soup with ham and plenty of root vegetables works its own magic, too. However, as appealing as these marriages may be, Monsanto’s 2011 Riserva will absolutely shine in the company of sophisticated fare. Beef tenderloin, grilled to perfection with a brush of olive oil, garlic, mint, and rosemary; pheasant, stuffed with braised vegetables, porcini mushrooms and a hint of truffle; and Lamb Osso Bucco offer even grander accompaniments to match Castello di Monsanto’s elegance and panache. Roasted herb encrusted lamb chops provide a simpler but equally satisfying treat with Castello di Monsanto’s critically acclaimed 2011 Chianti Classico Riserva. Buon Appetito!
Since 1961 when he purchased Castello di Monsanto, Fabrizio Bianchi has been one of Chianti Classico’s greatest innovators and artists. A successful textile manufacturer from Milan, Bianchi brought a pioneering spirit to Chianti that has never wavered nor has his estate failed to produce anything but superlative wine. Fabrizio acquired Monsanto with “a consciousness that he was walking on a treasure, not of gold, but mere land.” What he has done with that special bit of Tuscany is turn it into liquid gold in the form of the finest Chianti Classico, while simultaneously transforming one of the oldest and most respected wine regions on earth through a series of innovations, which continue under the guidance of Fabrizio’s ebullient daughter Laura Bianchi.
Castello di Monsanto is a large estate by Tuscan standards (206 hectares or a little more than 453 acres), but only a fraction of the total (72 hectares) is actually under vine. Fabrizio and his family have opted to preserve the natural forests of oak, myrtle, and wild berries that surround the estate, thereby protecting the natural pollinators and indigenous yeasts that abound at Monsanto. And from the very beginning, Fabrizio set out upon refurbishing the estate’s vineyards and protecting the special terroir that exists at Monsanto. Consequently, all of Monsanto’s grapes are hand harvested and only the property’s natural yeast is employed in fermentation.
In addition to revitalizing Chianti Classico, Monsanto has been at the vanguard of Tuscany’s renewed interest in traditional French varietals such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, which the Bianchis also fashion into award winning wines. Furthermore, Monsanto produces a small quantity of a single cru 100% Sangiovese that is labeled Sangioveto Grosso from their renowned Scanni vineyard and a bit of Vin Santo from Malvasia and Trebbiano.
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