Cerbaiona VDT Rosso
Sylvaner, Auxerrois, and Muscat Grapes
Cerbaiona is a bit culty but in a good way. It was founded by former airline pilot Diego Molinari in the 1980s, and his straightforward “let the land speak” methods resulted in life-changing Brunello di Montalcino. His wines reminded people of the good old days, also known as pre-industrial wine. Because the land doing the talking, in this case, is incredible. It doesn’t need any additives or special tricks in the cellar. By adopting a hands-off approach in the vineyard and the winery, Cerbaiona consistently allows the land to fully express itself in their wines. Rosso di Montalcino is made with purely Sangiovese grapes, like Brunello. This particular wine, however, benefits from the addition of Pinot Noir, so it’s not technically a Rosso di Montalcino. It delivers a unique drinking experience and exceptional value. The Montalcino region — which has a combination of a warm, dry climate similar to the coast of Tuscany, and rocky, infertile soils — yields remarkable Sangiovese. Especially at Cerbaiona. Matthew Fioretti bought the estate from Diego Molinari in 2015 and has made quite a few changes to the operation since then. We’re looking forward to seeing how this estate moves forward and interprets its incredible location. Preferably with a glass of Rosso in our hand.
Cerbaiona recently replanted an olive grove to vines, under the new ownership. This reminds us that it’s super common for Italian, specifically Tuscan, estates to make olive oil as well as wine. That liquid gold, with a thick chunk of unsalted Tuscan bread, some salumi, and cheese, is one of the best snacks in the world. Since most bread here is made with salt, we recommend opting for a milder, less salty cheese to recreate that experience as best as possible. Invite some friends over, crack out Settlers of Catan, lay your cheese board, and pretend you’re building your own Tuscan kingdom while you sip this Rosso in between mouthfuls of bread.
Campriano Chianti Classico
100% Sangiovese Chianti
If you were to picture the quintessential Tuscan winemaker's home, it would probably be that of the family behind Podere Campriano. The stone house with its terracotta tile roof and green wooden shutters is nestled among a stand of trees on a hill that overlooks the town of Greve in Chianti, just south of Florence. They make their wines in the cellar below the house. The grapes in this Chianti Classico come from around one and a half hectares surrounding their idyllic perch, from soils made up of galestro (or clay and schist.) Campriano’s Chianti Classico is made of 100% Sangiovese. In times gone by that wasn’t so much the norm. Chianti has been around for a while (it was first delineated in 1716) and has had time to go through various permutations of the permissible blends. Not so long ago, it was common to add international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. And at one point, the use of white grapes was permitted too. Not anymore. Now you can still blend, but the trend is definitely towards high percentages of Sangiovese. After all, it is the grape of Italy. And Podere Campriano is staying true to that. Their high altitude, completely organic vineyard is producing some incredible expressions of this region and its star grape. (Just a fun side note: Like Cerbaiona, Podere Campriano produces a great declassified Chianti from their oldest Sangiovese vines. Sometimes, you just gotta do it your own way.)
Italian wines just feel like family. That vibe is particularly true here. So gather yours for a meal and a glass of wine. This Chianti Classico rocks some bold fruit and a profound depth owing to its unique terroir and would go great with a number of dishes. Given that the temperature is dropping, why not whip up a hearty, roast tomato soup and grilled cheese? Not a Tuscan lunch, per se, but it would be way more Italian with a bottle of this Chianti Classico.