Located just north west of Castellina in Chianti, the ancient church that lends its entomology to the Piemaggio estate dates back to the XIIth century. Owned and run by Larissa Karaban, the estate boasts some of the highest vineyards in the entire Chianti Classico appellation. In fact, the name Piemaggio descends from a contraction of Pieve (church) and Maggiore (high atop a hill).
Despite its relatively small size, Piemaggio has only 12 hectares under vine, Karaban feels that the altitude affects their Sangiovese in a special way. As a result, Piemaggio typically releases their wines much later than the law would otherwise require. This is illustrated by the fact that the current vintage releases for the estate are the 2012 Classico and 2010 Riserva. Michele Neri is the winemaker.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be profiling Piemaggio through a series of articles reviewing their wines. Today we’re looking at an example of Piemaggio’s patience and also one of its current releases. The 2008 Chianti Classico “Le Fioraie” (Flower Girls in Italian) strikes all the wonderful notes that I’ve found in wines from the charming, aromatic 2008 vintage.
Given the wine’s age we decided not to decant it, though we clearly could have. In the glass, this nearly 10 year old Chianti Classico is a vibrant ruby color with lots of violet highlights and reflections throughout. Everything about the nose of the wine screams freshness. There’s newly cut flowers, cypress needle, crushed wild berry and wet stones. On the palate, the ripe berry notes are lifted vigorously by laser like fresh acidity. The core of fruit is rounded and accented with notes of tobacco, dusty minerals, and hints of sage. Elegant and youthful, this is drinking very well right now. I would generally not cellar Chianti Classico from a vintage like 2008 for almost 10 years. Given that this bottle was held in the winery’s cellar since release, that might be impacting its life cycle slightly. However, this wine could easily last another 2-4 years with no issues. Wonderful Sangiovese. 90 points. US retail around $17.
Like it’s older sibling, the 2012 Chianti Classico Le Fioraie is fresh, vibrant and young. As the last few glasses were much more expressive than the first half of the bottle, I strongly recommend decanting for an hour or simply aging the wine for a few years before trying it. Deep ruby with violet reflections, this is a full bodied Chianti Classico that has more in common with a Riserva than many Riservas do. Bright, focused aromas of cherries, red plums, pine and tobacco are boisterous. Flavors echo the aromas and add a supple, sweet fennel note that punctuates the finish. Caressing tannins and balanced acidity make this drinkable without food. But with simple Rigatoni con filetto di pomodoro, I was frankly in heaven. A tremendous value. Try hard to find this wine in the US. My EU readers should have an easier time of it. 92 points. About $17 US.
Stay tuned for more from this winery in the coming weeks. Disclosure: These wines were producer provided samples.
Want to find Le Fioraie? Go here: Wine Searcher