Gabbiano Chianti tastings

I recently had the pleasure of attending an iYellow event where the wine maker from Gabbiano, Frederico came along and told us all about Chianti’s. I thought I would pass along some of the tid bits I was able to glean from the evening. It was lovely. Below you will find my tasting notes for the wines we had at the event.

Chianti as you may know is a region within Italy (in Tuscany) where they grow predominantly the Sangiovese grape that is used in Chianti wines. There is a wonderful article on wikipedia all about the Chianti and Chianti Classico regions. As you may know the wine legislation in Italy grants a quality designation of DOCG for meeting all the requirements for the region.

An example of a Chianti is Gabbiano’s from the general list in the LCBO:
Gabbiano Chianti DOCG — LCBO#: 78006
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Medium ruby red colour; aromas of red cherry, dried herbs, nuanced by vanilla notes; dry, medium-bodied, velvety tannins, displaying flavours of liquorice, spice and red cherries on the finish. $13.95

Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in: Italy By: Castello Di Gabbiano Sugar Content:5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity
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My Tasting Note for the 2014 vintage: Lighter in color with a simple fruity nose of light red berries. On the mid palate the wine is a simple fruit forward wine with a light finish. I would give it an 88 or so.

From the winemaker’s web site:
“This wine, with is marked freshness and ample enjoyment, comes from the vinification of native vines.”
Wine: 90% Sangiovese 10% and other red berry vines

Wine production: A very natural wine making process, in which the alcoholic fermentation is followed naturally by malolactic fermentation in steel casks. The ageing period of the wine before the bottling is brief, without passage in wood: in this way, the wine maintains and displays all the organoleptic characteristics of the grape, along with great freshness. It is a young, enjoyable wine that does not require ageing, which should be drunk in the first two years of life.

Another region beyond Chianti is called Chianti Classico. Here the Sangiovese is aged in oak. In the case of the Gabbiano one from the LCBO it is aged in larger oak casks leading to more subtle effects of the oak:
Gabbiano Chianti Classico DOCG — LCBO#: 219808
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Medium ruby colour; aromas and flavours of dried cherry, red berry fruit and gentle baking spice; dry, medium-bodied, mild tannins and refreshing acidity. $16.95

Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in: Tuscany, Italy By: Castello Di Gabbiano Sugar Content: 5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity
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My tasting note for the 2012 vintage: Dark in color with a mild nose with some dried fruits coming through. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice red berries along with some dried fruit notes to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice dryness. I would give the wine an 88+. You can really see the additional complexity of this wine over the previous one coming through.

From the wine maker’s web site:
“Produced according to the classic method, this wine, with its full, balanced flavour, bears honest testimony to its territory and ancient tradition.”
Wine: 90% Sangiovese 10% and other red berry vines

Wine production: Produced according to the most traditional Chianti Classico fermentation processes on the skins, in temperature-controlled tanks at a temperature of 28°C. Malolactic fermentation takes place naturally in steel tanks. The wine is bottled a year after harvest, after several (5/7) months ageing in medium and large capacity French oak casks – from 15 to 50 hectolitres. The moderate use of the wood, the choice of large casks, according to the most classical method, allows the wine to preserve the most natural characteristics of the Sangiovese grape, bringing them into harmony: fruitiness, freshness and the level of tannin.

Next up are Chianti Classico reservas. These spend longer in oak and in the case of the Gabbiano are aged in smaller casks, new oak, which imparts more of the oak into the wine. From the LCBO web site:
Castello di Gabbiano Riserva Chianti Classico 2011 — VINTAGES#: 216309
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
Excellent red with layers of subtle fruit, toasted oak, mushroom and truffles. Full body with firm, racy tannins and a long, flavorful finish. A solid example of a riserva Chianti Classico with lovely balance and structure. Drink now. Score – 92. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, Oct. 20, 2014) $22.95

Release Date:May 30, 2015
Alcohol/Vol 14.2% Made in: Tuscany, Italy By:Treasury Wine Estates Sugar Content: 6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style: Full-bodied & Firm
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My tasting notes for the 2011 vintage: Dark in color with a nice smooth red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays nice smooth red berries to match the nose along with some minty notes. I’m never a lover of mint 🙁 The finish on the wine is on the lighter side of medium in length. I would give it an 87-88.

From the wine maker’s web site:
“Created from the property’s oldest Chianti Classico vineyards, the castle’s Riserva is a wine that maintains all the most typical organoleptic characteristics of Chianti Classico, emphasised by a balanced ageing in wood.”

Wine: 95% Sangiovese 5% merlot
Wine production: The best grapes from the castle vineyards, harvested by hand, are quickly taken to the cellar. After delicately pressing and removing the grapes from the stalks, the alcoholic fermentation in the skins is carried out, in short fermentations, individually monitored with great care, so that the pumping of must over the grape dregs and the shedding are carried out in the ideal measure and times for each must.

The wine, therefore, spontaneously takes the malolactic fermentation to its conclusion, only partly in wood (casks of medium capacity or barriques of new French oak). In the following 16/18 months before bottling, the wine ages in casks of medium to large capacity – from 15 to 35 hectolitres – and in barriques of French oak of 225 litres. A wine that rewards the more patient consumer, since it requires a long ageing in bottles.

Next up they poured the 2011 Bellezza Chianti Classico DOCG Gran Selezione. This wine is not currently in the LCBO but lists for $39.95.

My tasting note for the 2011 vintage: Dark in color with a lovely nose of red berries along with some oak. On the mid palate there are some nice red berries to match the nose along with some earthy notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice dryness and tannins. The complexity of the wine is very nice. I would give it an 88-89.

From the wine maker’s web site:
“A wine with an entirely Tuscan soul, presented in a new way.”

The highest quality grapes selection from a unique estate vineyard gives us this powerful Chianti Classico wine of class, made in a modern style.
The word ‘Bellezza’(Beauty) was familiarly used by workers to name this vineyard for its beauty and special production, thus it became the vineyard nickname.

Wine: 100% Sangiovese

Wine production: The same attention and care which is given to the grape on the vine continues in the cellar in the processes of pressing and removing the grapes from the stalks, which means every day during the alcoholic fermentation and the subsequent malolactic fermentation, which takes place in new barriques of French oak.

The wine is aged, therefore, for a period of 14/16 months in small capacity barrels (225 litres) and barriques (225 litres) of French oak of first passage, which bestow softness on the wine and emphasise the typical tang of this grape. Long refinement in the bottle completes the ageing and emphasises the tertiary fragrances.
Bellezza01

And last but not least is a category of wines called “Super Tuscans”. These are wines that were made outside the rigid laws defining DOC/DOCG. This allowed wine makers in Chianti to use smaller percentage of Sangiovese grapes (and even little to no Sangiovese). They are designated IGT on the bottle. As an example of this was the 2011 Solatìo.

My tasting notes: Inky dark in color with a lovely nose of dark berries and some oak. On the mid palate the wine displays nice dark berries to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some super dry pucker power along with some nice tannins. This is a lovely wine. I would give it a solid 89. Not in the LCBO and I forgot to take note of the price.

from the wine maker’s web site:
A new entry in the family!”

“A lovely, fine wine whose name tells about a sunny land. It exhibits a clear character. A rich and captivating taste and great freshness, which intend to ingratiate a wide audience. A wine that will be placed on the market in a range of non-exclusive access.”

Wine: 50% Syrah 45% Cabernet Sauvignon 5% Sangiovese.

Winemaking
Separate fermentations. Just a short oak contact.
Solatio

Update 6/8/2016
I recently learned about an additional categorization called Chianti classico gran selezione.
Here’s a chart for your reference:
Chianti-Classico-table-e1392666317706

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