Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fattoria di Lucignano: A Classic, and Very Traditional Chianti from the Colli Fiorentini

Fattoria di Lucignano is a small estate in the Comune of San Casciano, but not the Chianti Classico part. Rather, it's located in the Chianti Colli Fiorentini production area, towards Montespertoli, on good ground, which is clayey with much stoniness to guarantee drainage. The varietals are for the most part traditional, with Sangiovese predominating, and lesser amounts of Colorino and Canaiolo, though Riccardo Galli, the estate's agronomist, notes that in the past 10 years small amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon have been planted too.

Fermentation is temperature controlled, in glass-lined cement vats, followed by prolonged macerations -- 10-15 days -- on the skins. The malolactic fermentation takes place at about Christmas time, and the wines are bottled in September; the cellar is old and cool, and Riccardo says that under these conditions cement vats are perfect for keeping the wines fresh.

They only bottle Chianti Colli Fiorentini, and in addition to making Chianti, make a vinsanto from Trebbiano and Malvasia that they dry on stuoie, the traditional mats, until the sugars reach a concentration of 350 g/liter (of must), at which point they are pressed, and go into caratelli, the small traditional vinsanto barrels. Fermentation is long and slow, with some of the barrels reaching alcohol contents of 20% (they use their own madri, or starters, which contain yeasts that have adapted well to the extreme conditions of vinsanto) with pleasingly low volatile acidities. The wines, tasted at Vinitaly April 2009:

Fattoria Di Lucignano Chianti Colli Fiorentini 2006
Lot L0904
Deep garnet ruby with black reflections and cherry rim paling to white. The bouquet is rich, with deft sour cherry fruit supported by savory accents and some bright, sour berry fruit acidity coupled with dusky shade and slight vegetal accents. Pleasant, and nicely balanced in a traditional key. On the palate it's medium bodied, with rich cherry and forest berry fruit supported by sour cherry acidity with underlying savory notes, and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean fresh sour cherry finish with a warm tannic underpinning. A pleasant food wine that will work very well with grilled meats or light stews, and also has the acidity necessary to go with fried meats and vegetables. Expect the bottle to go quickly.

I also tasted a barrel sample of the 2007: It's quite pleasant, and perhaps superior to the 2006.

Fattoria Di Lucignano Vinsanto del Chianti 1997 Tawny amber with orange apricot highlights. Pleasant to look at. The bouquet is rich, with dried fruit -- dates laced with walnut skins -- and oatmeal, with some sticky dark brown sugar and deft hints of dried mushroom. Considerable depth and finesse. On the palate it's full, with rich dried apricot fruit supported by pleasant sweetness and apricot acidity that gradually fades into warmth, while walnut skin bitterness emerges to provide a counterpoint, and the finish is very, very long. A great pleasure to drink, and one of the nicest things about it is that it's not extreme -- sweet but not too sweet, and rich but not cloying. Perfect with friends by the fire after a meal, or even on a patio in the evening.

A little more info on the Fattoria di Lucignano, from Marc De Grazia

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