“One of the Top Producers of Italy”
The most incredible Chianti Classico bargain we’ve ever seen is this Riserva from Piergiorgio Castellani’s family-owned Castellani estate. As Wine Enthusiast says, “Castellani have been prominent members of Tuscan wine community for nearly a century. Today under the guidance of the latest Castellani generation in the person of Piergiorgio this ancient family company is jockeying for a position as one of the top producers of Italy.” Tasted last week with Piergiorgio, pictured above (center), along with Benoit Vialle (left) and myself (right) — this 2012 Castellani Chianti Classico Riserva blew me away. It is truly classic, replete with complex, savory aromas of strawberry, fresh plum, wildberry fruits, grilled meats, roasted chestnuts, and exotic spices. Classically structured, it has wonderfully suave palate with real depth and resonance. James Suckling agrees, scoring it 92 points, enthusing about its “velvety tannins and a juicy finish” and calling it “so enjoyable and silky.” It looks and tastes far more expensive than its astonishing price of $15.99. I have bought two cases for myself.
In Manhattan last week, Wine Access CEO Benoit Vialle, Adam Lapierre MW, and I tasted over a hundred wines with dozens of winemakers who were in town for various wine trade events. However, one standout tasting took place in the lavish midtown office of a European wine importer whose bottles are coveted by the wine directors of Jean Georges, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin and Auriole restaurants. It was there that we met with Piergiorgio Castellani, an incredible thoughtful and sensitive winemaker producing wines of astonishing quality, value, and class.
When Piergiorgio poured us a glass of his 2012 Classico Riserva, I was instantly enchanted. “I don’t like using barriques for Chianti Classico,” he told us. “I like the complexity and harmony that large old Slavonian oak provides and this wine was matured in just such casks for 24 months in our historic cellars.”
The nose instantly took me to Chianti Classico in the best possible way. A nostalgic experience that transformed me straight to the cypress-dotted hillsides of Tuscany. Tasting the wine, my mouth watered as I began dreaming of wild boar ragout or pappardelle of rabbit — this is genuine fine wine.
When Piergiorgio exclaimed his price per bottle, I was astonished. This is undoubtedly the best Chianti Classico bargain we have ever offered.
A true renaissance man, Piergiorgio inherited his family’s century-old estate that has been growing, making, and exporting wine since 1903. Because he and his family live on the property, he is passionate about organic viticulture. He is a lover of art and nature, an avid surfer, and acted in the film, Bella Vita, directed by Jason Baffa. The label of this 2012 Chianti Classico features an India ink drawing by Italian artist Andrea Collesano, a master at capturing animals in nature.
After the tasting as we said our goodbyes, Piergiorgio reminded us why Tuscany is the sacred home of Sangiovese.
“Italy has an incredible and unique landscape, and Sangiovese grows all over the peninsula,” he said, “but only in Tuscany is it capable of producing great wines at the levels of Chianti Classico, il Brunello, il Nobile — wines that are able to age while improving with time; and this only thanks to a unique combination of climate, soil and tradition by which each region expresses in its own unique way.”
This 2012 Chianti Classico Riserva encapsulates the majesty of fine Tuscan Sangiovese and the poetic soul of Piergiorgio perfectly.