Deep ruby color; cherry, blueberry, balsamic, sage, earth; cherry, blackberry, oak, leather, plum, strawberry, espresso on the palate.
Dry; firm tannins with some balancing acidity. Decanting significantly softens this, bringing harmony and delivers focus on the tasty sangiovese fruit. Good, integrated structure. Polished, supple, smooth, simple easy drinker after decant. Riserva is the penultimate Chianti classification. Gran selezione ages 2.5 years; riserva two years. Both are steps up from standard classico Chiantis.
I reviewed the 2013 Castello di Albola gran selezione and there is a clear difference between the two. You can get this for half the price, for one thing. The 2014 riserva certainly is not as impressive as the 2013 gran selezione. Vintage 2014 was a problematic year in Tuscany, and this reflects that. In fact, Castello di Albola did not even release a gran selezione in 2014.
Medium body. This is simple, straightforward effort. It is neither dramatically delicious, certainly not dreadful dreck. Middle of the road pour. Worth drinking if you got it, for sure, but not one to go out of your way to find. Particularly since Castello di Albola, in better years, delivers bottles well worth your efforts to find; 13% ABV.
Castello di Albola/Castello d’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 2014 fresh with firm tannins. Good—if not great—effort in testing year. Decant to bring out its best. Pair with richly-flavored dishes; Italian dishes made with tomatoes and red meat; pizza, burgers and sliders; virtually all red meats; barbecue; lamb and veal; poultry; grilled fish. $25-30