My readers and Rustic Tuscany Tour guests have heard me say many times that wine tells a story. Campochiarenti is no exception.
So, the story goes like this…
On a cold February day in Manhattan, I was attending a tasting sponsored by Slow Wine called “Chianti: Red & White”. The tasting was devoted to producers of Chianti other than Chianti Classico. As I made my way through the crowd, I came across Daniele Rosti. I would have stopped at his table eventually, but what caught my eye was that in a room where most producers were pouring 2012 Vernaccia, Daniele was pouring 2009.
That was the first wine of his I ever tasted. I put my nose in the glass and I said “this smells like the ocean” and then I tasted it and said “that carries right through in the mouth”. Daniele gave me a crooked smile because he knew I got it. I said, are you the winemaker? And he replied; “Yes, and I am the owner, the vineyard manager, the book keeper, the marketing man…..” That was almost 12 years ago and we have been friends ever since.
As a result of our friendship, I’m often careful, if not reserved, about the way I describe the Daniele’s wines. I never want it to seem as though I’m not being objective. But the simple truth is this – the wines speak for themselves. All I have to do is write about them. If you are one of the (likely hundreds) of people that I have turned on to Campochiarenti, you know what I mean. And so it goes….
After acquiring the latest red wine releases from Campochiarenti, I was eager to taste them alongside some worthy food. Let’s get to it….
2020 Chianti Colli Senesi Sant’Ambrogio – In the glass, this is a brilliant ruby color that trends toward violet. This young red is very expressive on the nose with cherry, raspberry, flowers and hints of vanilla emerging from the glass. On the palate, the word here is fresh – all day long! Bright, flavorful red fruits are juicy and lively. Hints of baking spices and fresh leaf tobacco add complexity. This is a tremendous QPR and is worthy of a case purchase. 91 points. Available directly from the winery. Sant’Ambrogio is a blend of 85% Sangiovese while the 15% is an estate mix of Canaiolo, Colorino, Mammolo and Foglia Tonda.
2017 Chianti Colli Senesi Riserva San Nicola – This is deep ruby in the glass with a slight amber ring around the edge of the bowl but the core still remains violet. Despite what was often a blazing hot vintage in Tuscany, this wine retains its freshness. The dark red fruits are more concentrated than the Chianti on both the nose and palate. Leather, newly turned earth and sweet pipe tobacco add a level of complexity that is both interesting and delicious. The finish has a trace hint of cured fennel. Maybe I like the 2011 Riserva a bit more – but maybe this will evolve in the same fashion? 93 points. Available Directly from the Winery.
Finally, the next wine is very near to me because it represents Vivi, Daniele’s vivacious mother whose energy, passion for life, wine and family belies her true age. To me, she’s become an adopted Matriarch.
2019 Campochiarenti Vivi – a noble Tuscan IGT, Vivi is special. Not because of what it represents, but because the wine has only been produced two times. That is the dedication to excellence and the name Vivi that Daniele insists upon.
Vivi is dark purple in the glass and nearly opaque. Despite its youth, the fine 2019 vintage sings aromatically. Blue and purple flowers like iris and lavender spring from the glass behind a core of black fruit. There are hints of dark cocoa and espresso bean as well. On the palate, this is elegant and refined. Raspberry and black stone fruits take center stage but dried tobacco, dusty chocolate, baking spices and mushroom are notable as well. The tannins are silky and very well integrated. Vivi is just as much about texture and deft as it is about flavor. It’s classy and elegant and based upon the 2007, will have a wonderful evolution. Vivi is 55% Sangiovese, 35% Merlot and 10% Cabernet. 95 points. Available directly from the winery.
Campochiarenti is a fixture on the Rustic Tuscany Tour. My guests were able to taste a wide range of Daniele’s wines in addition to the above. We will see him again in October.