No, it’s not the beginning of a bizarre math equation. Those closest to me know that would be the last thing I’d discuss. It’s not coordinates of longitude or latitude or even the combination of a lock. Over the past week, my home has been pummeled by the last grips of winter. Just as the daffodils seemed intent on making their annual appearance, we were eagerly anticipating various harbingers of Spring. But then, the numbers hit. No, they’re not cursed. This isn’t 4 8 15 16 23 42 though in many ways, it might have been. These numbers aren’t Lost on me.
22 inches of snow
43 degrees in my house
78 hours without power
So when I say that when the power finally returned I was ready for some comforting warmth, know that I mean it!
In 1973, when Italo Zingarelli purchased what is now the Rocca delle Macie estate, the property was little more than a dilapidated 14th century farmhouse surrounded by neglected vineyards just beyond the center of Castellina in Chianti. Leaving nothing to chance, the Zingarelli’s embarked upon a rigorous effort to rebuild the stone farmhouse, replant the vineyards, and construct a state of the art winery on the property. Today, Italo’s son Sergio runs the estate as a family business where he lives with his wife and two children. Rocca delle Macie is home.
Under Zingarelli’s watchful eye, the wines from this estate – at times often mediocre – have been steadily improving. The 2004 Riserva was a spectacular value and recently, the range of wines I tasted at Gambero Rosso all point to an estate on the rise.
I went to the market and grabbed a large roasting chicken. Cleaned, seasoned and resting in a pan, adorned with extra virgin olive oil and a variety of spices, I set it for a long slow roast. Alongside were onions, carrots and potatoes; perhaps the most comforting of meals. I chose a simple wine; a “foil” wine. A wine that was a piece of the puzzle, not the star. By no means is that a criticism. It completed the show.
The 2013 Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva was precisely the right fit. A blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot and 5% Cabernet this eminently drinkable red was the perfect accompaniment. Like a favorite slipper or pair of pants, this feels so familiar that you could be tempted to serve it in a tumbler, but that would cheat it of some of its charm.
Brilliant ruby in the glass, the wine exudes wonderful aromas of rosemary, wild berries, spices and cypress needle. Medium bodied, this soft plummy Riserva displays bright red fruit notes on the palate with tobacco, white pepper, and herbal accents that trend toward fresh fennel on the finish. Not a bruiser at all and not a wine that will benefit from cellaring; however, it can be a versatile partner to a variety of dishes. Price varies a bit, but should be in the mid teens. 89 points. Find this wine.