Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Traditional
Chianti Classico Riserva:
La Fattoria La Ripa

Casella Postale n°1
50020 San Donato in Poggio (FI)
Tel. 055.807.2948

Fattoria La Ripa is an old, old Tuscan estate: In 1400 it belonged to Antonio Maria di Noldo Gherardini, Monna Lisa's father, who gave it to his daughter as part of her dowry when she married Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo and moved to Vignamaggio, where Leonardo is said to have painted her portrait. And it's nice to think of her as a little girl, walking the vineyards, and perhaps even picking some of the grapes, though as the future owner she wouldn't have had to do the heavy work.

The Fattoria was also important from a strategic standpoint, because it borders one of the highways connecting the Via Francigena, the major pilgrimage route to Rome, which followed the Val D'Elsa, with the Val di Pesa, which led to Florence, and therefore appears on the maps of the Guelph Captains who patrolled Florence's territory.

Moving much closer to the present, in 1968 the Fattoria, which now belongs to the Caramelli Family, began to bottle its wines and olive oil. It is now directed by Sandro Caramelli, an extremely personable engineer who lived and worked in a number of places before deciding to return to Italy and to the soil, as it were; his son Niccolò, who grew up at the Fattoria is technical co-director, while Marco Chellini is the estate's enologist.

We tasted a number of vintages of the Chianti Classico Riserva, and two more recent vintages of the basic Chianti Classico; as a general introduction one can say that stylistically the wines are quite traditional, with bright acidity and brambly tannins. No wood-induced smoothness, nor soft French varietals to tame Sangiovese's bite.

Tasting Notes | Fairs & Samples

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