Search

The Honest Pour with John Lenart

Taking you beyond the bottle.

Author

John Lenart

Francesco Ricasoli, President and Owner Ricasoli

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of visiting a number of producers in Chianti Classico. To hear those shows check back to episodes 61 – 67. Sadly, while there I missed the chance to visit one of the region’s most iconic estates, Ricasoli at Castello Brolio in Gaiole. Fortunately, when I returned home, I had the opportunity to meet with Francesco Ricasoli.

During his visit he previewed the release of Raritas, a line of three single vineyard Chianti Classico wines that are the highest most distinguished expressions of wines produced on the Brolio estate. Technically Gran Selezione wines, Francesco calls these “Cru” bottlings.

We met to discuss this project and how it fits into the idea of Gran Selezione, his research from which these wines were born, and of course to taste some delicious wines.

Now available on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Podcast. Click “Subscribe” above.

fooditor-logo-read

Check out our sponsor Fooditor.com,  the total Chicago food experience, bringing you the stories of Chicago’s chefs, restaurants, and people who make food all over town, in words, pictures, video and audio. Read local– read Fooditor.com.

ricasoli-4

Francesco Ricasoli, President and Owner, Ricasoli

 

Brolio_413x623

2015 Brolio, Chianti Classico

Delicate aromas of cherry, earth, lavender and spices. Wonderful texture, high acidity and grippy tannin. Flavors of cherry, cocoa, and leather notes.

 

SRP: $24

 

 

 

Brolio_Riserva_530x799

2015 Brolio, Chianti Classico Riserva

Complex aromas of raspberry, cherry, espresso and cocoa. Lovely balance and elegant velvety texture. Layered flavors of black cherry, plum, milk chocolate, lavender, clove, and mocha. Fine tannins and mouthwatering acidity. Will mature for 5 to 10  years.

SRP:  $32

 

 

Colledila_530x800

2015 Colledilà, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Very pretty aroma of earth and perfumed flowers. Very fresh fruit on the palate. Silky texture and finessed balance Elegant and complex flavors of cherry and leather. Lovely harmony. A special wine made to age.

SRP: $70

 

 

 

Matt Crafton, Winemaker, Chateau Montelena

Chateau Montelena will forever hold a special place in Napa Valley wine history after famously winning Steven Spurrier’s 1976 Paris tasting. In 2014 Matt Crafton was named winemaker there and today he maintains the heritage of this iconic producer. With a strong belief in sustainability Crafton is paving the way to the future while staying true to the legacy of Chateau Montelena. We sat down to discuss this and also to taste some delicious wine.

 

Now available on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Podcast. Click “Subscribe” above.

fooditor-logo-read

Check out our sponsor Fooditor.com,  the total Chicago food experience, bringing you the stories of Chicago’s chefs, restaurants, and people who make food all over town, in words, pictures, video and audio. Read local– read Fooditor.com.
DH1_2902

Matt Crafton, Winemaker, Chateau Montelena

 

CH11NV2011 Chateau Montelena Estate Napa Valley Chardonnay

Aromas of golden apple honeysuckle and lemon zest. Precision and depth describe this delicious, mature wine. A full weight yet still possessing lots of finesse and mouthwatering acidity. Still years left in this tasty wine from an often overlooked vintage.

SRP:  $67

 

 

 

CH16NV2016 Chateau Montelena Estate Napa Valley Chardonnay

Aromas of green apple, lemon, crushed rock and floral notes. Rich texture and complex flavors are balanced by bright acidity. Obviously made to age for a decade or more but drinking beautifully now. A stunner.

SRP:  $58

 

 

CS15NV

2015 Chateau Montelena Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Fresh aromas of mixed red fruit and blossoming violets. This elegant wine shows a ton of restraint and elegance. Complex flavors play harmoniously with the texture and acidity of this youthful wine. A classic which will age for decades.

SRP:  $175

 

CS05NV 2005 Chateau Montelena Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Tons of floral perfume earthiness back up lovely integrated fruit. Bold tannins and still fresh acidity back up and give balance to this lovely mature wine. Drink now with a great meal and friends.

 

SRP:  $225

Brook Bannister, Bannister Wines

Cool climate pinot noir is a widely used buzz phrase today. But in the late 80’s Marty Bannister was one of the pioneers of the segment. She made these wines for over a decade when health concerns forced her to let the family label go dormant. In the early 2000’s her son Brook decided to revive the brand and continue working with these cool climate wines, maintaining his mother’s legacy.  So many of the stories told through wine are about, place, history, or farming. This episode is about a son’s love of his mother and his dedication to making sure her place in wine history is maintained.

Now available on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Podcast. Click “Subscribe” above.

fooditor-logo-read

Check out our sponsor Fooditor.com,  the total Chicago food experience, bringing you the stories of Chicago’s chefs, restaurants, and people who make food all over town, in words, pictures, video and audio. Read local– read Fooditor.com.

Brook Bannister 1

Brook Bannister, Bannister Wines

 

2018Reisling_web2018, Bannister Riesling

This skin dry riesling was fermented on the skins adding intriguing aromatic and savory notes. Aromas of tart apple, lemon zest, and cumin are followed by flavors of apple, quince and exotic spices.

SRP:  $28

 

 

13campbell2015 Bannister Campbell Ranch Pinot Noir

Aromas of dark cherry and earth mingle with floral notes of this pinot from a classic vintage. Flavors of light berries are balanced by fine tannins and mouth watering acidity. This wine is all about finesse. Cellar of 3 to 5 years or more.

SRP:  $55

 

DSC6842-Edit2017 Bannister Saini Ranch Zinfandel

Zinfandel made with the soul of pinot noir. Arpomas of mixed berries, mushroom, and tobacco. On the palate flavors of fresh raspberry, dutch cocoa, tobacco and white pepper mingle in this fresh, playful zin.

SRP:  $36

Paul Hobbs, Paul Hobbs Winery

We’re back after a short break. We return to the U.S. after our Chianti Classico series to visit with a most thoughtful California wine maker. While many interviews are about history, culture or estate terroir, Paul Hobbs is a guy who I can geek out with about wine. And that makes me happy. Despite his impressive resume, talking with him about soil types, climate, and grape variety is something that is really exciting and makes you want to taste and enjoy his wines. What I really loved about talking with Hobbs is that his passion extends beyond California to Argentina, Spain, France, and Armenia, not because he wants to globalize his brand but  in order to hone his craft. I sat down with Paul to talk about this and of course to taste some delicious wines.

Now available on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Podcast. Click “Subscribe” above.

fooditor-logo-read

Check out our sponsor Fooditor.com,  the total Chicago food experience, bringing you the stories of Chicago’s chefs, restaurants, and people who make food all over town, in words, pictures, video and audio. Read local– read Fooditor.com.

 

Paul-Hobbs-Winery-Paul-Walking-the-Napa-Vineyards-Gallery-Image-1477 Paul Hobbs

 

Paul-Hobbs-Winery-Paul-Hobbs-Pinot-Noir-Sonoma-Coast-Bottleshot-15312016 Paul Hobbs Winery, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Wonderfully balanced aroma of cherry and clay with notes of fresh herbs. Finessed body highlighted by complex flavors of strawberry, blueberry and black tea. Great balance of sunshine and earth.

SRP:  $65

 

 

Paul-Hobbs-Winery-Paul-Hobbs-Winery-Nathan-Coombs-Estate,-Coombsville,-Napa-Valley-Bottleshot-14852014 Paul Hobbs Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nathan Coombs Estate, Coombsville, Napa Valley

Napa meets Bordeaux in this restrained, elegant Napa cab. Inky deep purple in color. Aromas of dark mixed berries, cassis, lavander, and black olive. Flavors of blackberry, black currant, graphite and dark chocolate are backed up by fantastic structure. Absolutely delicious and drinkable now but will age for decades to come. A classic.

SRP: $400

 

 

cr+le+calcifere+14+btl+shot-2_250+x+750

2014 Crocus Le Calcifere

Not your aunt’s sweet grenadine-like malbec. This intensely colored wine booms with aromas of dark berries, earth and spice box. Concetrated flavors of plum, cocoa, and baking spices are brought into balance by nice acidity and grippy tannin. GIMME A STEAK!

SRP: $45

 

 

Ep. 67 Fabrizio Benedetti, Castello Monterinaldi

We wrap up our visit to Chianti Classico with a visit to Castello Monterinaldi in Radda. Searching for the terroir of each commune of the region has proven to be a challenge as so many microclimates and soil types exist withing each commune. However, matching clones of sangiovese to each microclimate within an estate is an important job at Castello Monterinaldi. This effort leads to some special wine. I met with Fabrizio Benedetti to discuss this and of course to taste some delicious wines.

Now available on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Play. Click “Subscribe” above.

fooditor-logo-read

Check out our sponsor Fooditor.com,  the total Chicago food experience, bringing you the stories of Chicago’s chefs, restaurants, and people who make food all over town, in words, pictures, video and audio. Read local– read Fooditor.com.

 

86A2819_portraitFabrizio Benedetti, Castello Monterinaldi

 

castellomonterinaldi2012_base2016 Castello Monterinaldi Chianti Classico

Aromas of dark cherry, earth, cocoa, and toffee. On the palate flavors of black cherry, espresso, fresh herbs and fine tannins in this food friendly well balanced wine

SRP: $16

 

 

 

                             

Boscone

2016 Castello Monterinaldi, Chianti Classico, Vignetto Boscone

A special bottling from an expressive single plot within the Monterinaldi estate. This wine sees no wood and is 100% sangiovese. Quite pretty aroma of elegant fruit, hints of flowers and minerality. On the palate gentle tannins support pure dark cherry flavor. Fresh acidity balance out this expression of the earth and fruit.

SRP: $38

 

 

castello-monterinaldi-5abcfcf7d27882015 Castello Monterinaldi, Chianti Classico Riserva

Complex aroma of decayed forest floor, leather, and violets. On the palate sour cherry leads the way and balances with moderate fine tannin and mouthwatering acidity. Cellar for 10 to 20 years for a special treat.

SRP: $28

 

 

Ep 66 Giovanni Poggiali, Felsina

While some wineries take centuries to figure out which clones or massal selections work best in their vineyards, the brilliant minds of Felsina have accomplished the same in just five decades. Today, third generation winemaker Giovanni Poggiali maintains his family’s commitment to producing wines that express the distinct terroir of each of Felsina’s vineyards and dedication to purity of sangiovese.

L1160415
The famed Rancia vineyard of Felsina

Now available on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Play. Click “Subscribe” above.

fooditor-logo-read

Check out our sponsor Fooditor.com,  the total Chicago food experience, bringing you the stories of Chicago’s chefs, restaurants, and people who make food all over town, in words, pictures, video and audio. Read local– read Fooditor.com.

 

download

Giovanni Poggiali, Felsina

Chianti-Classico2017 Felsina Berardegna Chianti Classico DOCG

Bold dark cherries on the nose backed by floral notes and minerality. On the palate rich red cherries with good complexity and silky texture.

SRP: $28

 

Chianti-classico-riserva

2016 Felsina Berardegna Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG

Finessed and complex nose of purple flowers, red berries and minerality. On the palate flavors of red cherry, tobacco and truffle are backed by good acidity and silky tannins.

SRP:  $32

 

rancia-portfolio

2016 Felsina Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG

Lively and serious this wine. While young, it is shaping up to be a classic wine from an outstanding vintage which will age for decades. Classic flavors of cherry and tobacco are balanced out by fantastic structure and tension.

SRP:  $50

 

Fontalloro2016 Felsina Fontalloro IGT

Demure, elegant nose of delicate dark fruit, cocoa, and violet. On the palate this full bodied wine shows delicious earthy notes followed by darker fruits, plum, currant and black cherry with hints of dried flowers. Amazing long complexity and great structure. Ages for five to twenty years or more.

SRP:  $58

 

Colonia

2011 Felsina Colonia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Dark berry aroma is balance by classic Felsina notes of tobacco and earth. On the palate dark lush fruit, plum, berries mingle with dried herbs and spicy notes all supporting an intriguing body. Worth the effort to find.

SRP: $120

 

Ep. 65 Roberto Stucchi Prinetti, Badia a Coltibuono

The wines of Badia a Coltibuono are some of the most precise, balanced, and typically Chianti Classico of those produced in the region. While many wineries pay lip service using terms like ” we believe wine begins in the vineyard,” Roberto Stucchi Prinetti truly follows the axiom. After receiving his degree at UC Davis, and working under Cathy Corison at Chappellet, he returned to take over as the sixth generation of his family running Badia a Coltibuono. He immediately replanted the vineyards to maximize quality and emphasize terroir. Ever since the wines he makes have been met with critical acclaim.

 

Now available on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Play. Click “Subscribe” above.

fooditor-logo-read

Check out our sponsor Fooditor.com,  the total Chicago food experience, bringing you the stories of Chicago’s chefs, restaurants, and people who make food all over town, in words, pictures, video and audio. Read local– read Fooditor.com.

Coltibuono - Roberto StucchiRoberto Stucchi Prinetti, Badia a Coltibuono

Chianti Estate bottle shot2016 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico

Nose of rich berries and fresh herbs with a hint of limestone minerality. On the palate this medium weight wine shows flavors of black cherry, currant and baking spices all balanced by crisp acidity and fine tannins.

SRP: $23

 

 

 

 

Coltibuono Riserva bottle shot

2015 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva

Very pretty perfumed nose. Finesse and balance best describe this wine. Layers of complex flavor, fine yet assertive tannins, and mouthwatering acidity are all wonderfully balanced. IN time this will be a very special wine from an amazing vintage. Wait three to five years. A steal at this price.

SRP: $35

 

 

505557

2013 Badia a Coltibuono Sangioveto IGT

Elegant, complex, and harmonious nose. On the palate the structure is balanced and elegant showing prime characteristic flavors of cherry and violets. Great acidity make this the perfect wine for foods from Tuscany.

SRP: $55

 

Montebello bottle shot2013 Badia a Coltibuono Montebello IGT

Made from nine historical varieties: Mammolo, Ciliegiolo, Pugnitello, Colorino, Sanforte, Malvasia Nera, Canaiolo, Foglia Tonda, Sangiovese. All vinified separately. If you are a fan of Chianti Classico this wine is familiar yet unknown all in the same sip. Flavors of plum and dark berries mingle with tangy acidity and hints of minerality. Intriguing, intellectual and delicious.

SRP: $60

Ep. 64 Federica Mascheroni Stianti, Castello di Volpaia

I’ve traveled throughout the wine world and few places have enchanted me the way Volpaia and the people there have.

The hilltop hamlet is magical. The 11th century piazza is composed of a church, a cafe and a the Castello di Volpaia tasting room which was closed when I arrived. That’s it.

L1160444
Volpaia

I wander up the road another 50 or so meters to find a smaller, older piazza consisting of not much more than yet another church, a small well and an iron gate.

L1160442
The well on the tiny piazza in Volpaia

With no signs, I have no idea where to go so I throw caution to the wind and enter the gate. Sitting in the manicured garden under the warm spring Tuscan sun I meet Giovannella Stianti. Tall, grey haired and elegant, Giovannella introduces herself to me and warmly welcomes me into her home. All of the walls inside the ancient building are lined with beautiful books. Gio explains that her father was a book binder and this was his work.

After lunch Gio takes me on a wonderful tour of the village and winery within. The modern winery is built into the building of the 11th century with pipes running underground connecting one production area to the next. Already enchanted with both the place and Giovannella, I then sat down to record this episode with Federica Mascheroni Stianti, Gio’s daughter, who now runs the family business. As charming as her mother, Federica and I talk about what makes wine from Radda unique, the controversy behind gran selezione classification, and of course we taste some delicious wines.

If you travel to Chianti Classico a visit to Castello di Volpaia is not to be missed.

Now available on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Play. Click “Subscribe” above.

fooditor-logo-read

Check out our sponsor Fooditor.com,  the total Chicago food experience, bringing you the stories of Chicago’s chefs, restaurants, and people who make food all over town, in words, pictures, video and audio. Read local– read Fooditor.com.

L1160438

Federica Mascheroni Stianti, Castello de Volpaia

VCC 2016 Volpaia Chianti Classico

Alluring aroma of lavender and complex perfume.  On the palate flavors of bright fresh cherries chocolate, lavander candies and leather. Silky body, great balance and a long complex finish make this wine lovely to drink with or without a meal. This is an example of the huge value offered by Chianti Classico.  One of the best sub $20 wines I have even tasted.

SRP: $19.99

Castello-di-Volpaia-Chianti-Classico-Riserva-Bottle

2016 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva

While you may be searching for the 2015 vintage, which garnered Wine Spectator #3 Wine of 2018 don’t bother. The 2016 picks up where the 2015 left off. Deep complex aromas of black cherry, tobacco and spice box let you know that this is a serious wine. On the palate beautiful fruit, grippy tannin, and forward acidity make the structure of this wine something you want in your cellar. Drink now through the next 20 years.

SRP:  $35.99

original2015 Castello di Volpaia Coltassala Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Pretty nose full of fresh violet, red licorice, coffee and vanilla along with a distinct minerality. Elegant texture with flavors showing black cherry, dark berries, plum, play harmoniously with grippy tannin and forward acidity. Structured to age for decades but drinks beautifully now.

SRP: $69.99

 

Ep. 63 Paolo De Marchi, Isole e Olena

The sub-region of Barberino Tavarnelle lies in the western part of Chianti Classico. Topping out at about 400 meters above sea-level the vines here flower early and experience a longer growing season than other areas of Chianti Classico. Wines for here typically express more earth that fruit and are the perfect companions of the region’s game focused cuisine. I met with Paolo De Marchi of Isole e Olena, a top producer from Barberino Tavarnelle to talk about these wines and learn about how his farming choices over the past 45 years have allowed him to express its special terroir.

 

Now available on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Play. Click “Subscribe” above.

fooditor-logo-read

Check out our sponsor Fooditor.com,  the total Chicago food experience, bringing you the stories of Chicago’s chefs, restaurants, and people who make food all over town, in words, pictures, video and audio. Read local– read Fooditor.com.

20190322_094217Paolo De Marchi, Isole e Olena

IsoleOlenaChiantiClassicoBottleSmall2016 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico

Aromas of earth, red berries, hints of tomato leaf, leather and cocoa. This is a food wine. This medium bodies wine is driven by earth and acidity. Flavors of fresh red cherries and cedar lend balance. Drink alongside Tuscan cuisine for maximum happiness.

SRP:  $30

 

 

images 2016 Isole e Olena Cepparello

100% Sangiovese from the best of selected sites throughout the estate. Nose of a dusty minerality, dark cherries and cocoa powder. An elegant texture showing wonderful balance between fruit, acid and fine tannin. Complex flavors. Drinks nice now, but will age spectacularly for decades. I recommend waiting 5 years minimum for this special wine to mature.

SRP:  $89

 

 

IsoleeOlenaGranSelezioneSmall2013 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Aromas of dried red berries, dutch cocoa, spy sauce and a distinct earthiness. Full bodied showing great balance between fruit and earth.  Bright acid and fine tannins make this a wine for a special dinner.

SRP: $225

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑