Giovanna studied oenology herself and went to work in the mid 1980s for San Felice wines in Castelnuovo Berardenga, near Siena, on a project to plant around 300 traditional Tuscan grape varietals collected from old vineyards. When Giovanna’s father gave her a small farm with olive groves, called Le Boncie, she added a vineyard planted with her favorites from the experimental project – Sangiovese, obviously, but also Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Foglia tonda Mammolo and Prugnolo., The vineyard, planted to a very high density of 7000 vines per hectare and dedicated principally to Sangiovese (supplemented by a few rows of Fogliatonda and the others for blending), produces the definitive wine of the estate: “Le Trame”. Vineyard work is conducted according to the general principles of the biodynamic movement. Harvesting is by hand. Fermentation occurs in traditional open-topped wooden tanks. The elevage is long and tranquil with an occasional racking implemented to aerate the wine. Aging occurs in mid-size barrels; the wine is then left to age in bottle for at least six months prior to release. Thus, the normal rhythm results in the wine’s arrival in our cellars in New York not earlier than 30 months after harvest.
|Chianti Classico Le Trame: The beauty of Sangiovese is revealed here in its most pure form, unencumbered by manipulation of the wine during vinification and elevage and without exposure to new oak. The vineyard lies at an altitude of 300-350 meters; the average vine age is 15 years. The essential character of this wine can best be described as “ferociously elegant”. But, what appears to be an oxymoron is, in fact, the reality. There is a gracefulness to this wine, an impeccable balance, that belies the intense concentration reflected in its vigorous, ripe tannins. Annual production is approximately 1000 cases; we import between 25% to 30% of that amount for the US market.|
|“Il Cinque”: is the little brother/sister of “Le Trame” from Podere Le Boncie. Originally this wine was sold only at the winery and was essentially created from fruit of vines younger and/or less well-positioned. Recently, Giovanna Morganti acquired access to a vineyard 3 kilometers up the road from their house in San Felice, a hamlet of Castelnuovo Berardenga but just outside the Chianti Classico zone. This new parcel is 1.3 hectares with very rocky limestone soils facing south-southwest in a windy area that is good for the health of the vines—Sangiovese with two rows of Canaiolo. (Her 3-1/2 hectares in the Chianti Classico zone are planted to Sangiovese with a bit of Mammalo, Colorino and Fogliatonda—first vintage bottled was 1990.) With this additional fruit, the “Il Cinque” has taken on a more serious tone and, starting with the 2012 vintage, we have purchased a substantial portion of the production.
The wine’s name “Cinque” recognizes the original composition of the wine, namely five grape types classic to the production of the finest Chianti Classico: principally Sangiovese with Colorino, Mammolo, Fogliatonda and Ciliegiolo completing the quintet. Recently, the wine is no longer composed strictly of the 5 grapes anymore, but Giovanna says the name also refers to the relative precociousness of the wine, thus a wine to “keep at hand” [5 fingers]. She also notes that grape vines have five leaves and flowers per bunch, that their house address is number 5, and that in Italian school you are graded one to ten, with five not quite passing, a bit of ironic understatement and a wink-of-the-eye modesty in reference to a wine that has assumed a rather majestic place amongst the elite wines of Tuscany. Cinque is perhaps less formidably structured than the Le Trame but it is no less noble, carrying its mantle of the particular terroir borne of the hills surrounding Castelnuovo Berardenga, wines of vigor and cut that chant the song of Sangiovese.. All parts of a good story to justify this quirky name of “5” or “Cinque”.
The Cinque is fermented in steel and then spends one year in wood vats of varying sizes (5 to 30 hectoliters). It is then assembled in tank, left to rest for a bit, and finally bottled without fining or filtration.
Even in warmer weather, some occasions cry out for a red. This Tuscan wine is a gorgeous expression of sangiovese, with many excellent producers.
Here’s my wine for the summer: Chianti Classico.
I know, it’s not what people usually imagine as a summer wine. It’s red, for one thing. Sunny days, sweaty nights and poolside tables are the regular haunts of rosés and whites.
I’ve always resisted the notion that seasons alone dictate what’s best to drink. It’s the food at least as much as the weather.
2017 Podere Le Boncie Chianti Classico Le Trame The 2017 Chianti Classico Le Trame is a wine of real character. Amarena cherry, earthiness, licorice and cedar notes develop in a nuanced, silky Chianti Classico that has so much to say. Time in the glass brings out a very pretty aromatic upper register and notable brightness […]
Chianti suffers from a profound identity crisis: at one extreme, an ocean of under-farmed, over-cropped wines riding on brand recognition and pretend-paisano authenticity; at the other, starched-shirt Super Tuscans with Bordeaux envy and appropriately aspirationalist pricing.Read More
We recently indulged ourselves with a trip into our past as experienced through several older vintages of Chianti Classico Riservas from Castell’in Villa, one of our first sources of superb Italian wine (and no longer part of our portfolio for a complex of reasons). Most specifically, we drank on separate occasions the 1988 and 1985 […]