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 with Piergiorgio in NYC, this 2012 Castellani Chianti Classico Riserva blew us away. It is truly classic, replete with complex, savory aromas of strawberry, fresh plum, wild berry fruits, grilled meats, roasted chestnuts, and exotic spices. Classically structured, it has a 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.”
In Manhattan, earlier this year, a few of us from Wine Access, including our CEO, Benoit Vialle, tasted 100+ wines with dozens of winemakers who were in town for various trade events. At the sumptuous offices of a favorite importer of the wine directors of Jean Georges, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin and Auriole restaurants, we were particularly delighted by a tasting 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, it was instantly enchanting. “I don’t like using barriques for Chianti Classico,” he told us, “I like the complexity and harmony that large old Slavonian oak provides. This wine is matured in casks for 24 months in our historic cellars.” The nose instantly transports to Chianti Classico in the best possible way. A nostalgic experience that calls to mind the cypress dotted hillsides of Tuscany. Tasting the wine, our mouths watered and we began dreaming aloud of dishes like wild boar ragout or pappardelle of rabbit. This is genuine fine wine, and at this price, it is undoubtedly the best Chianti Classico bargain we have ever offered on Wine Access.
A true renaissance man, Piergiorgio inherited his family’s century-old estate, which has been growing, making and exporting wine since 1903. 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 wine features a painting by Andrea Collesano, who Piergiorgio says, “captures animals in nature beautifully.” Because he and his family live on the property he is passionate about organic viticulture.
Piergiorgio: “Italy has an incredible and unique landscape. Sangiovese is grown all over the peninsula, 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 an 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.