Finds from the Vine: ‘The rise of the Super-Tuscans’
Vail CO, Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” Chianti built its name on good quality red wines, readily available, that most Americans could enjoy alone or with a simple pasta dinner. By the 1980s and early ’90s, the name was sullied, with mass producers making as much wine as they could and still fall within the legal boundaries of the blend. The “Chianti” name was sacrificed to the all-mighty dollar, clearing the way for the rise of Super-Tuscans.
The Chianti wineries (Chianti is a region in Tuscany) have done a heck of a reversal. Large wineries still produce cheap, sometimes good, sometimes bad, wines, but many small to medium size wineries now make lovely Chiantis, particularly in the Chianti Classico sub-region.
The Tenimenti Angelini “Sanleonino” is a big, dark Chianti Classico Riserva.
Winemaker/General Manager Mario Calzolari blends 95 percent Sangiovese with 5 percent Canaiolo, giving the wine dark berry, olive and earthy flavors. Spicy white pepper and a graphite-iron streak give the wine complexity and depth. The Tuscan acidity shines through, as do the sleek tannins, so let this wine open up for 30 minutes, or age it for another five years. Drink the Sanleonino with a big steak, or a rich meat stew.
The Angelini family estate covers 247 acres, of which 111 acres are planted to grapevines. Mario Calzolari has been with Tenimenti Angelini since the 1995 vintage.
He aged the 2003 Sanleonino for 18 months in Slovenian oak barrels and larger French oak barriques, to mellow out the wine and add lovely spicy oak notes. With the strength of this Sangiovese, the oak adds nuances, rather than overpowers the wine.
The 2003 Tenimenti Angelini “Sanleonino” Chianti Classico Riserva is $36.