Skip to main content

A Nice Chianti Without The Liver Or Fava Beans

Sorry, I could not resist the Hannibal reference. Anyway, let me set the scene. It's Sunday evening and the normal scramble had begun. My wife and I were frantically running around the kitchen looking for things with which we can make a substantial evening meal, whilst establishing what laundry needs to be attended to and whose homework needs to be finished.  The usual madness, I reassure myself, that occurs in the home of every other parent.
I found some meatballs, some pieces of roast chicken breast, a jar of pasta sauce, some herbs, garlic and spaghetti. Sounds like a meal, right? I fired up the oven and dash downstairs to pull a bottle from the cellar.  I had been looking for an excuse to try the new vintage from Marchesi dè Frescobaldi Castello di Nipozzano Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva (2009), having been reminded of it in Montreal last month when I enjoyed the 2006.

Castello di Nipozzano as depicted on the Marchesi de Frescobaldi web site

Winemaking at Castello di Nipozzano dates back to 1864. The region lies east of Florence in the revered territory of Chianti Rufina, overlooking the valley through which flows the River Arno. Better still, it is blessed by a distinctive microclimate that, married with the soil and altitude, provide ideal growing conditions for elegant and long lived wines.  But I digress...!

I pulled the cork on the 2009 Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva and left it to breathe for an hour while I began to prepare dinner and check homework.

I don't know about you but I love the first sniff, that first impression.  On this occasion, as with many Italian wines, it made my mouth water.  It's bad enough that by now the kitchen now smelled wonderfully of meat, tomato and garlic that were not yet ready to eat but now my eyes, nose and brain were ganging up on my stomach to say "FEED ME"!

While I waited, the wine would have to suffice. In the glass it beamed with a delightful deep purple hue, edged by a translucent rim.  The nose revealed herbs, summer flowers, leather, black cherry, blackberry and licorice. The palate grabbed me from the first sip. It's like the energizer bunny decided had arrived in my mouth with great fists full of black cherry plum skins, licorice, leather and earth, and pummeled my tongue like that darned little drum.  The fruit was vibrant and pure, showing nice focus and depth on mid-palate and dogged persistence. This bunny kept on going with a layered finish that added a little spice and smoke to the occasion.  

Once the food hit the table, the Nipozzano found its true comfort zone. As energetic as a kitten entertained by a laser pointer, this Chianti possessed an ample core of fruit, acidity and earthy tannin to complement even the most rustic of homemade pasta and tomato sauce dishes.  A little freshly ground black pepper and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and all was right with the world, my grumbling stomach and my bickering children.

It never ceases to amaze me how the simple combination of good wine, food and family restore a sense of balance to my weeworld.

In summary, the 2009 Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva is an elegant wine with great energy, and old world charm but eminently approachable in its youth. What is even better to me is the fact that it's built for food!  It's also built with some cellaring potential and age gracefully over the incoming 3-5 years.  As I said at the start, I recently tasted the 2006, and it was drinking wonderfully well.  The 2009 is beautifully perfumed with a great core of fruit and dusty tannin, and at around $26 USD this is definitely a steal. As the night rolled on – proved itself to be a great companion to the meatballs and spaghetti. 

For those who like a score - it comfortably makes the 88-90 point range. For those who don't like keeping score, think of it this way.  

Was the wine worth the money?  Yes! 
Was is a great complement to dinner? Undoubtedly, yes!
Am I at all disappointed that I bought it or opened it tonight? No!
Would I buy it again? Yes

Now - I will have to leave you all so I may enjoy the rest of the bottle in the company of my beautiful wife.  Cin Cin!



Cynthia Cosco said…
Great post - brought back some Italian home memories!

Thank you
Andy McCallion said…
Thanks Cynthia - I am delighted that you enjoyed it and hope you will drop in, read and comment every now and again.
Anonymous said…
Andy, I love Nipozzano and have been sipping Frescobaldi wines since 2003. This Chianti Rufina is one of my go to bottles for almost anything Italian. Well done my friend to highlight this Riserva. It can usually be found for $20 on sale.

Popular posts from this blog

Champagne Uncorked: A Visit to Champagne Louis Roederer

“I'll drink your champagne. I'll drink every drop of it, I don't care if it kills me.”  ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby Girls
My first trip to Champagne, was for me, a complete success. I came away from the trip with a brand new appreciation and a deeper desire to get to know it so much better. With each trip to France, I come away with a profound new respect for the country and its people. I've become a Francophile. A place, I barely knew or understood twelve years ago, back before I started this wine journey I'm currently on. I know this will sound cliched, but I like to think of wine as a journey, it's not a destination.

Each stone you overturn on the pathway to discovery develops greater understanding and appreciation not only for the wine but for the great folks behind these labels, who bring great traditions and passion to the table. It's evident in what they say, how they say it and oh-so-evident in the final product, passion is a sure 'seller' a…

Five Last-Minute Thanksgiving Wine Buys

"The three things that make a vineyard great are the climate, the soil, and the exposure. Bien Nacido Vineyard ~ James Ontiveros  

Another wonderful year is nearly ready to put in the can and stored away for posterity. But every year at this time we collectively take the time-out to give a "thanks" for our many blessings.Every year at this time, I give my Top Five Thanksgiving Holiday Wine 'picks' and this year is no exception. I know my post is a bit "danger" close for those wanting to stock up for the holiday, but this short and sweet guide is for the procrastinators who've waited for the last minute to hear about five Oregon Pinot Noir selections to brighten up their holiday menus for Thursdays big feast. 

The Willamette Valley in Oregon is known as a 'mecca' of sorts, where powerful, yet delicate, soulful Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay is grown, fermented, aged and bottled. I've recently become a resident of this state, much t…

A Spoonful of Social Media

“You can buy attention [advertising]. You can beg for attention from the media [PR], or you can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.” –David Meerman Scott, Best-Selling Author & Speaker

It was just about four years ago in downtown Paso Robles that Mrs. Cuvee and I were visiting the area, which we try to do as often as possible. We love to hit the wine trail nice and early, but before we head out for the day, we make it a point to have a big breakfast. Since we were staying at the Paso Robles Inn, we thought we'd have breakfast there at least once, the food was tasty, the service was excellent, and the coffee was hot. 

Just one thing was missing that morning; there were no spoons, yes you heard me right, not even a single spoon anywhere to stir cream and sugar into my coffee. We looked at the tables behind us, nothing, we looked into the server station, t…