Wine Review – 2001 Castellare Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy

Winery: CastellareCastellareFront

Bottling: 2001 Chianti Classico Riserva

Importer: Winebow Imports

Region: Italy

Sub-Region: Chianti, Tuscany

Estimated Retail Price: $31

Purchase Details: A friend who shared this with us paid approximately $40 for this wine.

Tasting Notes: In the glass, an opaque red, black color.  On the nose, oh yeah, old world baby.  Socks and a little barnyard funk of the good kind that is.  On the palate, wow! Rich dark cherries, dark berries, cassis, licorice, mint and a dusty finish.  Super firm tannins, well-structured and mouth filling with a seemingly endless finish.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  As I was drinking this wine, I thought to myself how much more big and rich this chianti was than the Castellares that I’ve had in the past.  Upon taking a closer look at the label, I realized that this was Castellare’s riserva!  I was embarrassed because when I saw what I initially thought was their regular classico bottling in my friend’s cellar, I urged him that “this 2001 needed to be drunk now, soon, tonight!  This might already be over the hill!”  I guess the only thing over the hill at this point was my label recognition skills.  Sorry Mark, I owe you a bottle.

Food Pairing & Context in Which to Enjoy: Big, meaty, rich dishes or hard aged cheeses.

CastellareRiserva

The prominently displayed "Riserva" label

Winery & Other Background Information: The Castellare estate was established in 1978 and is one of my favorite Chianti producers.  We used to carry their standard Chianti Classico in our shop which sold pretty well for us.  In fact, my Italian wine section was pretty much anchored by wines from the Italian portion of Importer Winebow’s portfolio.  This estate like many in Winebow’s is a reflection of the quality of producers that they represent.

Castellare tends to keep their vineyard yields a lot lower than the maximum allowable yields that the Chianti DOCG allows.  This is great as they strive to focus on quality rather than quantity, and you’ll know what I mean when you taste a mass-produced one vs. one from Castellare.  I highly recommend their riserva.

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