The Anfiteatro Super-Tuscan, first made back in 1983, is actually the house Chianti Riserva, owner Roccaldo Acuti told me. "In reality, we never stopped making our Riserva," he explained. "But I decided to call it by another name as there were too many Riserva wines being made then that weren't any good. Besides, the market at the time wanted something different." Located on the outskirts of Greve in the Classico zone, not far from Panzano, this estate has fast-draining soils and superb sangiovese vines that have been carefully selected by Acuti over the years. "Back in the early '80s I saw a small vineyard that still had some grapes on it that were great to eat at Christmas-time, which amazed me," said Acuti. "I found out who the owner was and I bought the vineyard outright-this is what I mean when I say that the single most important secret to making great sangiovese here is the selection of the vines. Like it or not, it's just like with pinot noir: totally impossible to make great wine with lesser sub-varieties such as those from Emilia-Romagna or from inappropriate terroirs
($20) Light-medium ruby. Very pure raspberry and redcurrant aromas are complicated by game and leather. A penetrating, pure style of Chianti, with loads of bright red cherry fruit, a hint of orange zest and an element of sweet underbrush. The wine's strong tannic backbone is reinforced by a good acidic spine, which ensures a palate-coating texture and extends the finish.
($20) Medium-full ruby. Morello cherry dominates the nose, with riper raspberry syrup and tobacco notes emerging with aeration. Inviting flavors of raspberry jam, Oolong tea and leather are framed by firm tannins, with the sweetness of the fruit giving this wine a distinctly mouthfilling quality. The long finish is nicely accented by dried fruit and fig flavors.
($55) Medium-deep ruby. Captivating aromas of ripe red cherry, dried tea and bay leaf show a smoky complexity. Fat and penetrating at the same time, with intriguing tobacco and game nuances to the red cherry and spicy ripe plum flavors. Very fine tannins and a long, sweet finish make this Super-Tuscan an absolute stunner.
Deep ruby. Profound nose redolent of smoky ripe red and black plum, enlivened by hints of mint and blackberry liqueur. Rich, fleshy flavors of ripe red cherry, black plum and milk chocolate are nicely framed by fine acids. This extremely suave wine boasts very silky tannins and a long finish. One of the better, more refined cabernet sauvignons made in Italy. (Selected Estates of Europe, Mamaroneck, NY; Summa Vitis, Sonoma, CA)