Wow! The 2016 Selvapiana Vigneto Bucerchiale Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG from 100% Sangiovese vines is deep, complex, and packed with power and flavor. Built for the long haul, this is not your grandfather’s little Chianti, and has garnered impressive attention from the critics (96 pts: Wine Enthusiast, 96 pts: James Suckling, 94 pts: Vinous, 93 pts: Wine Spectator). Hauntingly aromatic with the savory scents of black cherry, fennel, sweet tobacco, and dried rosemary, this wine had us at the first draught. Powerful but wonderfully nuanced, layers of flavor in the form of kirsch, fennel, chocolate, and aromatic spices lay stacked in the wine’s firm tannins. This wine is as complete as any Chianti we have ever tasted and an extraordinary example of how splendid Rufina Chianti can be. Enjoy it now and for years to come. For optimal enjoyment of the 2016 Selvapiana Bucerchiale Riserva, we strongly suggest an hour in a decanter before serving at cool room temperature (58°-62° F). Enjoy!
A wine as powerful and complex as the 2016 Selvapiana Vigneto Bucerchiale Chianti Rufina Riserva begs to be brought to table in the company of the finest fare. Red meat, pork, poultry, and vegetables will take on a whole new dimension when paired with this wine. Florentine Steak or a Prime Porterhouse rubbed with garlic, olive oil, mint, and wild herbs is an easy choice. Pheasant stuffed with braised vegetables, porcini mushrooms, and a hint of truffle, makes another splendid accompaniment and a marriage that will last forever. If pheasant seems a bit too exotic, substitute game hens or other fowl for the pheasant to enjoy this wonderful combination of food and wine. Crown Roast of Pork or Wild Boar, if you can procure it, provides another worthy suitor. A juicy leg of lamb provides a tasty companion, too. Classic Tuscan white bean dishes such as Ribollita when served with flat Tuscan onion bread and a few slices of hard cheese will thrill both carnivores and vegetarians alike and satisfy the soul as well as the stomach. Buon Appetito!
Situated in the hills near the Sieve River, a tributary of the Arno, where the air is cool and clean, Selvapiana has for centuries been a retreat for aristocrats fleeing Florence’s summer heat. Selvapiana was constructed during the Renaissance by a noble Florentine family by enlarging a medieval watchtower that guarded Florence from invading enemies. Today, Selvapiana guards the great tradition of crafting the finest, longest lived Rufina Chiantis from 30 acres of vineyard. The estate’s Vigneto Bucerchiale Chianti Riserva DOCG (this month’s feature) is Selvapiana’s flagship wine. Bucerchiale is fashioned from the estate’s best vineyard, Bucerchiale, and only in the finest vintages such as 2016. It is not a blend as are most Chiantis; it is crafted entirely of Sangiovese, Tuscany’s indigenous and most celebrated varietal. It is also hand harvested and Organic Certified.
In addition to Bucerchiale, Selvapiana crafts two other fine Rufina Chiantis, a Super Tuscan, and a delicious Vin Santo, Tuscany’s unique and profound dessert wine, all of which rank among Tuscany’s finest.
Chianti is a sea of vines amid the pastoral slopes of Tuscany. Between Florence and Siena over one hundred and fifty thousand acres of vines share the hills and hollows of this ancient land with olive groves and grain fields, bleating sheep, and woods full of oak, chestnut, and wild boar. Chianti is the largest DOCG in Italy, producing more than two hundred million liters of wine each year from seven distinct districts. Consequently, Chianti is, in fact, many different wines from over seven thousand registered growers in seven distinct districts and the Chianti Classico Consorzio.
Chianti Classico is only one of the official areas of Tuscany entitled to bear the name Chianti on its labels. The others are Chianti Rufina, Colli Fiorentini, Montalbano, Montespertoli, Colline Pisane, Colli Senese, and Colli Aretini. Chianti Classico is Chianti from the heart of Chianti whose producers belong to the Chianti Classico Consorzio or Consortium. The Chianti Classico Consorzio is the most recognizable consortium in Tuscany and its members have high standards of excellence among Chianti producers. The Chianti Classico Consorzio seeks to define, improve, and promote the wines of Chianti Classico. The majority of producers within the confines of Chianti Classico belong to the consortium, but not all. Standards are strict: the monitoring of prescribed grape varieties, vineyards, yields, alcohol levels, and even a tasting of every member’s wines are part of the consortium’s annual ritual of enforcement. Nonetheless, many outstanding examples of Chianti can be found outside of Chianti Classico, especially in Rufina, which was defined in the world’s earliest-known denomination protection law in 1716. The finest of these Chiantis are designated Riserva DOCG, Italy’s highest designation of quality. However, many DOCG Chiantis will not bear the seal of the Consorzio (the Gallo Nero or Black Rooster seal on the neck of the bottle), either for ideological reasons or because the wine emanates from vineyards that lie outside the delimited boundaries of Chianti Classico.
Today, Chianti is only a red wine, but this has not always been the case. Until the early 16th century, the opposite was true. Only the white wine of central Tuscany was called Chianti, but during the Renaissance the dry red wine of the area, which was commonly referred to as Vermiglio by Michelangelo and his Florentine contemporaries, also adopted the name Chianti. By law, all Chianti must meet certain legal and qualitative standards. Chianti must contain only certain prescribed grape varieties, with Sangiovese always playing the starring role. Cannaiolo, Colorino, and small amounts of Cabernet and Merlot are other permitted red varietals for Chianti. And although no longer required, two white grape varieties are still permitted in Chianti. Some traditional Chianti producers still use small amounts of white grapes in the form of Trebbiano and Malvasia in producing their Chianti. Hence, there is a great variety of sizes and styles of Chianti from which to choose.
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