Saturday, June 07, 2008

An Older Wine: Villa Calcinaia Chianti Classico Riserva 1998

Like most wine writers, I have accumulated quite a few bottles over the years. However, I am Running Out Of Space, and have decided to take action.

Hence an Older Wine, which will, I hope, be weekly.

Villa Calcinaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 1998
Fairly deep garnet ruby with brownish garnet rim. The bouquet is elegant, with berry fruit laced with leaf tobacco and underlying balsamic warmth and dusky leather, with forest underbrush as well. Graceful, and quite pleasant to swish in the glass. On the palate it's medium bodied, with fairly rich leathery minerality supported by clean brambly acidity and very smooth tannins that flow into a long brambly finish with lasting bitterness and some balsamic accents. It's quite elegant, in a fully mature key that thrusts tertiary aromas and flavors convincingly to the fore, and works very well with foods -- we enjoyed it with spit-roasted chicken, roasted potatoes, and salad, and the pairing was just about perfect.

And here is what I said when I first tasted it in 2002:

Villa Calcinaia Chianti Classico Riserva 1998
Lot 0104
Black cherry ruby paling to white at the rim. The bouquet is quite fresh, with cherry blossoms laced with cherry fruit and some underlying vanilla. Pleasing and harmonious. On the palate it's medium bodied and quite languid, with cherry plum fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins that do have a slight oaky burr to them, and lead into a clean fresh cherry laced finish with bitter tannic underpinning. Though it won't stand out at a tasting it will work very well with foods, and is one of those whine you'll want to have a second bottle of handy. Enjoy it with meat-based pastas, including lighter north Italian lasagna (made with béchamel and meat sauce, without ricotta), or grilled red meats. It's a little delicate for a hearty stew. If you drink it now you will enjoy its freshness; it also has the capacity to age for a number of years, during which it will become more delicate and perhaps lacy too.
2 stars

I'd say it definitely lived up to its potential.

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