This l ittle-known Chianti producer makes wines that are lip-smackingly good, refreshing and absolutely true to sangiovese aromas and flavors. It is not by accident that some of the most respected names in Chianti, such as Ama's Marco Pallanti, will whisper that this estate is one of the very best at making authentic Chianti. Though the superbly located vineyards play a role (one of the two main vineyard areas is on the higher slope of Panzano's famous "conca d'oro," or golden amphitheater), the winemaking here is non-interventionist and uncompromising. The current line-up of wines is the best I have ever tried from Le Cinciole.

2004 Le Cinciole Chianti Classico

($23) Medium red-ruby. Downright seductive aromas and flavors of sweet red cherry, strawberry and ripe plum. Supple, sweet and vinous, with an intriguing mineral edge and a lightness that that make it hard to put the glass down. Fine tannins echo on the elegant, moderately long finish.


2003 Le Cinciole Chianti Classico Riserva Petresco

($40; 100% sangiovese) Deeper ruby color than the estate's base wine. Expressive aromas of red cherry, tobacco and underbrush, with dark berries and pomegranate emerging as the wine opens in the glass. Suave and silky on the palate, with charming, expressive red berry and cherry fruit enlivened and extended by lovely harmonious acidity. This has plenty of sappy freshness to its red cherry fruit and finishes long and vibrant, with a solid tannic backbone.


2003 Le Cinciole Camalaione Toscana Rosso

($70; a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah) The opaque ruby-black color is a good teaching tool by which to show the difference in color between a blend and a 100%-sangiovese wine. Fresh aromas of dark cherry, tobacco and sweet oak. Juicy and flavorful, with a compelling sweetness to the black cherry and spicy plum fruit. This very appealing wine finishes with supple, fine-grained but could use more length. (Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, NY)

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