Medium garnet color; strawberry, wild berry, spice, violets and other floral notes on the nose; raspberry, dried cherries, redcurrant, tobacco, roasted tomato on the palate.
Dry; noticeable, crunchy tannins matches with excellent acidity; some sweet oak hints. Rich and full in the mouth; medium body. Long sweet finish that presents the sweet oak and some minerality. Some vintages are 100% sangiovese, while others—maybe this one—the winery specs mention 5% canaiola.
Oak notes comes from 10% of the wine maturing for 15 months in Allier oak barriques, with the remainder in traditional, larger Slavonian oak barrels. After the wood, the wine ages a year in stainless steel, then three months in bottle before release. As a classic riserva Chianti, it is best drunk five years or so after the vintage and can age for a decade-plus after that.
Castello di Albola is the name of the castle in the village of Albola; the property is 22 miles north of Siena and 30 miles south of Florence in the commune of Radda in the heart of the Chianti region. The vineyard has the highest elevation in the Chianti Classico DOCG region; 1,150 to 2,150 feet above sea level. Wine making traditions in the region date to before Roman times. The Acciaiuoli family commissioned the vineyard in the 15th century.
The estate passed among several notable Tuscan families over the following centuries. The Zonin family acquired the property in 1979. Wines produced at Castello di Albola have earned the “Gallo Nero” symbol from the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium, a guarantee of the highest standards in winemaking. Castello di Albola (also spelled Castello d’Albola) is the showcase Zonin property and considered among the finest examples of Tuscan Renaissance architecture. While the Zonin family owns vineyards across Italy, Castello d’Albola is their star estate.
Established in 1821, the family-owned Casa Vinicola Zonin is Italy’s largest privately-held wine company. Its principal wine facility is located in Gambellara (halfway between Verona and Venice) in the province of Vicenza, the ancestral home of the Zonin family. “Commendatore” Domenico Zonin put the winery on the world map; born in 1899, he lived to be 101, a lifetime spanning three centuries. Gianni Zonin next led the company; he emphasized a green approach to ecologically sustainable viticulture and control of the wine process from vineyard to distribution. In 2014, leadership shifted to Gianni’s sons Domenico, Francesco, Michele, and Giuseppe.
Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2013 is rich, full, balanced, classic chianti riserva (the name is appropriate) that skillfully expresses Chianti Classico terroir. Pair with richly-flavored dishes; Italian dishes made with tomatoes; virtually all red meats; fish that is grilled, roasted, marinated, or stuffed. $25-30