Castellina in Chianti is, without question, one of the best Commune for producing Chianti Classico. It’s also a favorite of mine for many reasons.
Home to about 2,800 locals, Castellina is large enough to make you feel connected but still retains its small town charm. Shops abound, but not only the expected Enoteca. A casual stroll on the Via Ferruccio discovers leather, products of olive wood, Trattoria, Pizzeria, Gelateria and all manner of local produce and product.
Of course, if you wander long enough, you will see some sights that are, shall we say less than colorful.
But don’t be mislead for an instant. This is a wine town with long standing traditions. Despite its relatively small size, Castellina is home to a number of Enoteca. Seemingly they are more than the population can support yet for one reason or another, they all have their faithful patrons and all seem to thrive. After all, this is Chianti.
I’ve written often about the wonderful wines of Villa Cerna and Villa Rosa. Most recently, I compared their two flagships. In this article I am reviewing their individual workhorse reds, if you will. Two Chianti Classico, both from the same vintage, the same producer and even the same Commune. I was interested to see the results.
The Villa Rosa estate was acquired by the Cecchi family in 2015 and it didn’t take long for their investments in the vineyards and quality to take hold. Ribaldoni is a selection from a single vineyard on the estate by the same name. It is an expression of Chianti Classico that all should aim for.
The 2020 Villa Rosa Chianti Classic Ribaldoni is a deep violet color throughout. At first glance, the nose was shy but with air the aromas and the palate blossomed. Decant this? I would. Vibrant aromas of fresh flowers, fresh cut sweet herbs, black cherry and mocha are prominent. Flavors follow the nose in this delicious, juicy Sangiovese. Medium to full bodied with well integrated tannins, there’s really nothing not to like here except the limited importation. 100% Sangiovese, imported by Volio Imports. 91 points. About $28. Find this wine.
As I alluded above, I was surprised at how different such similar wines could be. But…. that’s what makes things fun.
The 2020 Villa Cerna Chianti Classico Primocolle is a deep crimson red in the glass. This is another wine that I’ve had in many past vintages. In contrast with Villa Rosa, this wine shows deep black cherry aromas, but also adds more savory notes of cured salume, dried herbs and new leather.
On the palate, it’s equally as intriguing with well integrated tannins adding structure to the wild berry fruit. This is joined by toasted baking spices, dried tobacco leaf and a cured/smoky note. With the grilled lamb, which was marinated in rosemary and garlic, this shined and picked up on all the herb and grilled meat notes. Really a perfect pairing. 91 points. Choose your style! Also imported by Volio Imports. Find this wine.
One final item to note. While the Ribaldoni is 100% Sangiovese, the Villa Cerna is only 90%, while the remaining balance is Canaiolo and Colorino. Perhaps that accounts for some of the more, shall I say rustic, nature of the Villa Cerna. Two styles, equally enjoyable.