~ The Ancient Abbey and Fortress Badia a Passignano ~

In 1987,  the Marchese Piero Antinori made an incredibly smart move.  Although there was some internal debate about the decision,  for the Abbey and Fortress were historical landmarks tucked away neatly inside the “parcel”,  the family purchased the roughly 225 hectare estate surrounding the ancient Abbey. 
The estate plantings comprise almost 50 hectares of Sangiovese which produce fruit for one of Antinori’s flagship wines; the Chianti Classico Riserva that bears the estate’s name.  It’s a wine of pedigree, stature and dare I say royalty.  It’s consistently one of the best Chianti Classico Riservas produced.   Period.

~ Sloping hillside vineyards on the Badia a Passignano Estate.  The Abbey’s tower is visible in the distance ~
The Antinori Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva is a must buy in every vintage. The key is to find it at retail, which isn’t always easy.  The wine is produced from strictly selected grapes and production isn’t substantial.  But when you come across it,  I advise to buy what you can.  It never disappoints.
Recently we enjoyed the 2008 version.  Despite the cooler year, especially with the grey, sporadically wet conditions that defined the harvest,  you would be hard pressed to find fault in this wine. 
In the glass, it’s a deep ruby color with trademark Sangiovese orange and brick highlights at the rim.  The aromatic profile is impressive.  There’s an expanse of freshly cut flowers,  ground anise seed, crushed wild berries, earth, leather and tobacco that unfold before you as they eminate from the glass.  You could smell this wine from over a foot away. 
On the palate, the breeding and class of this wine is evident.  It’s not a tactile sensation, but the wine itself seems to know that it’s good.  It’s doing you a favor by letting you drink it.  The crushed wild berries cascade across your palate and are tinged with sweet pipe tobacco, fresh fennel, lively spices, and a slight smokey char of espresso.  I absolutely love it.  The finish is long and ripe and there’s nary a sense that this was a “subpar” vintage.   94 points.  About $70 on the wine list. Normal retail is about $50. 

~ Stunning Chianti Classico Riserva that I cannot recommend highly enough! ~

E vero!

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