The Wine: Chianti Classico 2015
This great Chianti Classico is made from 95% Sangiovese with 5% indigenous grapes, farmed organically, and following a non-interventionist approach. It's fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for 8 months in 10 hectoliter Slavonian oak barrels - big, neutral barrels. Only 3000 bottles produced for the current vintage.
Grapes are all from the Istine vineyard which was planted in 2002 at 5000 vines per hectare in limestone-rich soil. 3.78 hectares are planted to Sangiovese and other indigenous varieties for Chianti Classico. The vineyard faces North West and sits at an altitude of 450 to 520 meters. It is in the heart of the historic Chianti zone between Castellina and Radda on a hilltop surrounded by woods.
The Producer: Istine
Istine is a relatively new estate. Even though the Fronti family have been active since 1959 in agricultural construction and vineyard management, Istine's first vintage goes back only to 2009. After years spent purchasing vineyards and producing wine for third parties, in an incredibly short amount of time the Fronti was able to create one of the most respected Chianti Classico labels in Italy.
Istine consists of a group of high-altitude non-contiguous small vineyards around the towns of Radda in Chianti and Gaiole in Chianti, for a total of about 20 hectares, certified organic since 2016. The winery is run by talented winemaker Angela Fronti. Her approach to winemaking is non-interventionist and she only uses big natural Slavonian oak barrels.
The Region: Tuscany
Tuscany, Toscana in Italian, even more so than Piedmont, is the Italian region that has become a synonym with Italian wine worldwide. Its signature rolling hills, cypress trees, winding country roads, and medieval hilltop hamlets have been glamorized by countless films, TV shows, and publications, making Tuscany one of the most famous wine regions in the world.
Tuscany is situated in central Italy, delimitated to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and to the east by the Apennine Mountains – more specifically the Appennino Tosco-emiliano. It borders with Liguria and Emilia-Romagna (north), Umbria and Marche (east), and with Lazio (south). The capital of Tuscany is Florence.
The Terroir of Tuscany
In Tuscany, there are several microclimates which contribute to different terroirs. This is particularly evident if we look at the different styles of Sangiovese: cooler areas Sangiovese such as in Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino to, and warmer area Morellino di Scansano.
Generally speaking, the climate varies from temperate and generally warm on the coast to cooler with significant temperature variations between day and night inland, getting progressively warmer as we move south.
The Red Wines of Tuscany
Tuscany is home of the most widely planted red grape varietal in Italy, Sangiovese, which is present in a variety of clones with different names based on location. Classic Tuscan red wines Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Morellino di Scansano are made respectively with Sangiovese Grosso or Brunello, Prugnolo Gentile, Morellino.
Chianti is also made with Sangiovese, grown all over the Chianti region, traditionally blended with indigenous red grapes Colorino and Canaiolo – although in recent years Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon have also been used.
The coastal area around the town of Bolgheri, and more recently the southwestern area called Maremma Toscana, is where Super Tuscans find their home. Super Tuscan wines are blends including non-indigenous varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Syrah.
These French grape varietals are often blended with local Sangiovese, but we also have several examples of non-blended Super Tuscans.
The White Wines of Tuscany
In Tuscany we can also find great examples of white wines, Vernaccia di San Giminiano being the most characteristic, and sweet wines – Vin Santo, Aleatico Passito dell’Elba.
Trebbiano Toscano is the most widely planted white grape varietal but in recent years we have seen an increase in popularity of Vermentino and in some areas Chardonnay.