~ The Tolaini Estate as seen from the Copse of Trees – below ~

I’ve been very fortunate and thankful to cover the beautiful Tolaini Estate extensively on these pages.  Along with many others it’s one of the estates I love to support because they hit the vinous version of the trifecta: great people, excellent wines, fair prices.  

Today’s article is a retrospective of sorts because I first tasted the subject wine as part of my 2015 Report on Current Release Chianti.   Since then, the wine has charmed in various settings.  First at the Gran Selezione tasting in New York and then in a casual affair over dinner.  
~ The famous copse of trees that graces Tolaini’s Al Passo Label ~

The 2011 Tolaini Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is 100% Sangiovese from the Montebello vineyard in Castelnuovo Berardenga.  It’s an exceptional effort and the inaugural vintage of Gran Selezione for Tolaini.  

The Gran Selezione is meticulously crafted.  Hand harvested grapes are sorted twice; first in the vineyards as clusters and then after de-stemming.  Whole berry fermentation takes place in both stainless steel and French oak fermentors.  For aging, the wine rests 6 months on the lees, 6 months in stainless steel and 6 months in bottle.  The effort achieves notable results.  

In the glass, this Sangiovese is bright and deeply violet colored.  The aromas are effusive; with crushed berry, licorice, tobacco leaf and spices combining wonderfully.  On the palate, the velvety red plum flavors are wrapped in a collage of fennel, dried herb, bright pipe tobacco and a peppery, spicy finish.  This is mouthwatering and provides a “juicy” sensation that has paired well with a variety of foods from steak, Bolognese, roasted pork and risotto.  A winner!  And given what some comparable Gran Selezione wines cost, a total steal.  94 points,  about $35-$40.  
~ 100% Sangiovese from the Montebello Vineyard, #7 ~


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