~ Castello di Brolio ~

If nothing else, the Brolio Castle is imposing and impressive.  It is a Castle, a Fortress in every sense of the word. Dating to the middle ages, it has cast its shadow upon many an invading force in route from Siena to Florence. 

Today, and since the year 1141, it’s been home to the Ricasoli family and their winemaking endeavours. It was the year 1872, when Barone Ricasoli documented one of the earliest formulas for the wine that would become Chianti Classico.
“…I verified the results of the early experiments, that is, that the wine receives most of its aroma from the Sangioveto as well as a certain vigour in taste; the Canaiolo gives it a sweetness which tempers the harshness of the former without taking away any of its aroma, though it has an aroma all of its own; the Malvasia, which could probably be omitted for wines for laying down, tends to dilute the wine made from the first two grapes, but increases the taste and makes the wine lighter and more readily suitable for daily consumption…”
To permit a slight tangent, it’s telling that even in this early quote, Ricasoli makes reference to Malvasia diluting the wine and preventing it from aging well.  And yet, it would be almost 100 years more before Marchesi Antinori would eskew this traditional formula and pioneer the quality revolution that we’ve seen in Chianti Classico today…. But back on point…..
A little over 2 years ago I documented the 1999 sibling of today’s wonderful CellarNote and with an early start to the Father’s Day weekend, we opened this 17 year old gem.

The 1997 Casalferro is 100% Sangiovese.  Upon purchase, likely in the year 2000, this wine cost a mere $18.  What an investment! I decanted the wine for 60 minutes to remove a large crust and coffee grind like sediment, and to allow the wine’s aromas to develop. 

In the decanter, the wine is a deep, black red. Almost impenetrable, which is amazing at this age of it’s life.  However, in the glass you can note the fading at the brick colored rim.  The aromas are penetrating, haunting, almost like the castle itself.  Rich, bottle sweet aromas of cherry, leather, wet stones, rich tobacco and warm mulch are notable. This is quintessentially Tuscan.  On the palate, the wine is smooth and warm with wonderful flavors of ripened cherry, cedar, dried tobacco, turned earth and spice. It’s just gorgeous and the perfectly born child of land and time. No other beverage but wine can evolve in this manner.  It’s the reason to cellar wines.  The flavors linger nicely on the long, delicate, finish where a note of herb and acidity refresh the palate for your next step.  95 points. 

Readers should note that somewhere along the line, the formula of Casalferro has been completely changed and newer vintages of this wine are now 100% Merlot.

~ In the Decanter & the Glass.  The 1997 Casalferro was 100% Sangiovese ~

 Salute! And a Happy Father’s Day to all! 

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