Toscolo Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 - Tuscany, Italy
92/100 James Suckling (2013 vintage)
Silver - International Wine & Spirits Competition (2012 vintage)
91/100 - Natalie MacLean (2007 vintage)
James Suckling "Full body, some really good depth and definition and a weighty finish. Shows lots of ripeness, but some good complexity with blackberry pastille, dark cherries, licorice, tar and vanilla."
Natalie MacLean "Lovely! Mocha but not too much, just a warming edge along with fleshy black plum. Full-bodied and almost smooth (nothing that 2 hours of decanting can't solve). Layered and delicious." (2007 vintage)
Wine Spectator "Black cherry and violet flavours mark this fruity, straightforward red. Balanced and set for early enjoyment."
Wine Spectator "A smoky graphite aroma leads off, with ample cherry, plum and balsamic notes underneath. Assertive tannins gang up on the finish, but this stays balanced.." (2016 vintage)
Wine Scores "For Bernabei, Reserva's can only be made from old vines. Here, scorched earth, violets and cherry, summer berries, vanilla and cedar appear on the nose. The palate is supple and silky with tobacco, cedar, cocoa and hints of oak. Excellent length and sweet ripe tannins. (2009 vintage)
The Winemaker - "The Riserva is exclusively issued in the best years, made from Sangiovese, with touches of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for added body, complexity and a velvety texture. The grapes are grown in the hilly vineyards of the region from ten to forty-year-old vines, which lend complexity and aroma. After a few weeks of maceration, the wine ages in oak for about twenty-four months and then six months in bottle. The result is a red-letter version of a traditional wine with lush aromas of cherry, plum, violet, iris, black pepper, coffee, vanilla and nutmeg confirmed on a full, luscious palate, with a lingering, clean finish"
Toscolo was founded by international wine entrepreneurs, Neil and Maria Empson. The winery produces premium wine in the true Tuscan style. Winemaking is overseen by star Italian enologist Franco Bernabei with grapes sourced from the finest vineyards in the region.
The soil and microclimates of the Toscolo vineyards are intriguingly diverse – from compact, very fine-textured limestone at approx. 400-450 meters (1,310 to 1,480 feet) above sea level, to rocky, calcareous clay areas with similar altitudes; and even clayey/siliceous/ calcareous soil at 250-300 meters (820-984 feet) above sea level. Neil is thus able to handpick the best selections according to harvest conditions in the individual vineyards, maintaining consistent quality with each vintage.
Tuscany is Italy's third most planted region (behind Sicily and Apulia) but it is eighth in terms of output, reflecting both the poor soil of Tuscany and deliberate efforts to limit yields and increase the quality in the wine. After Piedmont and the Veneto, Tuscany produces the third-highest volume of DOC/DOCG wines. More than 80% of the regions' production is in red wine, with the Sangiovese grape being Tuscany's' most prominent grape. Trebbiano is the leading white variety of the region.
The history of viticulture in Tuscany dates back to the Etruscans in the 8th century BC. From the fall of the Roman Empire and throughout the Middle Ages, monasteries were the main purveyors of wines in the region. As the aristocratic and merchant classes emerged, they inherited the share-cropping system of agriculture known as mezzadria. Many Tuscan landowners would turn their half of the grape harvest into wine that would be sold to merchants in Florence. Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Tuscany returned to the rule of the Habsburgs.
Chianti, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Super Tuscan are Tuscany’s best known wines.
The Chianti region is split between Chianti and Chianti Classico. Accordingly, two separate DOCG designations apply to wines from the Chianti region: the Chianti Classico DOCG for the heartland of Chianti, and Chianti DOCG for all other Chianti regions. (In 1984, the Chianti region was promoted from DOC to DOCG - Italy’s highest classification - and in 1996, Chianti Classico - the historic heartland of the region - DOCG was created, which gave autonomy to that region. In the last 20 years, a consortium of Chianti Classico producers have researched new Sangiovese clones, replanted vineyards, updated cellar practices and generally made Chianti Classico DOCG a world-class appellation. Chianti Classico must contain a minimum of 75% Sangiovese. In the 2014 edition of its annual compendium of wine ratings, Gambero Rosso noted that Chianti Classico DOCG wines were noteworthy for their “significant return to a more defined style, true to tradition.” The typical Chianti Classico wine is a ruby-red, Sangiovese-based wine with aromas of violets and cherries and a hint of earthy spice.
The Chianti DOCG designation covers wines from six Chianti sub-zones (Colli Pisane, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colli Aretini, Montalbano and Rufina) as well as all other Chianti wines. The Chianti Classico DOCG is located in the very center of Tuscany, between Florence and Sienna.
Sangiovese (or Nielluccio in Corsica), a dark-berried vine, is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy. Virtually synonymous with the red wines of Tuscany, and all the romanticism that goes with the territory, Sangiovese is the core constituent in some of the great names in Italian wine. Italy's love affair with Sangiovese – and indeed the world's – is generations old, though recent grapevine research suggests the variety is not as ancient as once thought.