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2008 Castello La Leccia Chianti Classico

February 20, 2011

Does this have Syrah in it? I blaspheme, but this wine is dark for a Chianti Sangiovese and the 2008 vintage in Chianti was not noted for producing particularly concentrated grapes. Upon investigating their website I found that Castello la Leccia does grow a little Merlot and Canaiolo which are “separately harvested, fermented and refined, to be used as light accents in the delicate phase of blending the final vintage.” If there is Merlot in this wine, the back label indicates Sangiovese alone, it may be imparting quite the bold accent in the way of color and fruitiness. Whatever it is that has been done is fine with me because this is certainly within a range of styles to be expected from Chianti Classico and it is the best 2008 Chianti I’ve tasted so far.

Of particular note is a technique used at Castello La Leccia that as far as I know is unique to their winemaking. At the bottom of their stainless steel tanks are propellers (this is a common feature) which have been retrofitted with teflon blades (this is the unique part) to sweep the seeds out of a slot at the bottom of the tank. How exactly this occurs without losing a bunch of wine I don’t know but on their website they say “Depending on the need we can remove as much as 50 percent of the seeds during those first few days.” It makes perfect sense that they developed this technique in 2002, a cool and rainy vintage where one might have wanted to avoid extracting material from green seeds that did not lignify (turn hard and brown). This technique might likely account for the easy drinking nature of this Chianti.

The wine has a fairly dark ruby red color. The nose is full of strawberry and dark cherry with hints of cream, clove and warm black earth.  With air some vanillary oak becomes obvious and an interesting green note emerges but overall this has a wonderfully pure and intense nose that is all about the fruit. Medium plus tannin and medium plus acidity are well supported by the juiciness. The finish isn’t terribly long but it is fine and purely fruited.

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