We stumbled across a bottle of Chianti Colli Senesi 2005 from Villa Sant’Anna the other day while cruising our personal cellar; so, we drank it that evening. A simple but satisfying wine this modest Chianti from the hills just north of Montepulciano with a rustic, earthy bouquet, lots of presence on the palate and tannins that had evolved into that sweet and grainy state that makes for the final soulful pleasure to be had from that glass of wine.
While drinking this little gem, we thought of the fact that the wine was now almost seven years old and that, when it was released and placed on the market some four years or so ago, it certainly sold for less than $20 per bottle. The vintage was a difficult one in Tuscany with a fair amount of rain having fallen as harvest approached. Under the circumstances, one would have expected this most basic of wines from a vintage plagued by problematic weather conditions to have faded. In fact, the wine was stellar and had reached a lovely apogee which, once again, supports the argument that we frequently make that one need not feel intimidated about establishing a wine cellar to age wines simply because one may be of modest means.
A very viable cellar can be assembled without spending a fortune of money. The Chianti Colli Senesi from Villa Sant’Anna is a fine example of where one can shop for interesting wines that are reasonably priced yet can age well for three or five or even more years, using the time to smooth out and develop a certain complexity as well.
Other examples of that category of wine that we have in our personal cellar are the Crozes Hermitage “La Matiniere” 1989 from Michel Ferraton (when Michel was our grower and producing estate-bottled wines of breathtaking majesty) and the duo of Nebbiolo d’Alba (Bric Paradiso and Bric Tavoleto) 1982s from Carretta that we bought upon their release when we represented that lovely estate back in the early to mid 1980s.
Good wines of character need some time to show their stuff, to develop their identity and personality. It’s worth squirreling away some wine and building up a formidable cellar. And, most importantly, it doesn’t have to be a cellar devoted exclusively to 1er and Grand Cru wines from the most famous estates.