Our tasting impressions
The best Colli Senesi I have tasted at Innocenti and the best I have tasted anywhere. Simply delicious Chianti that you could sip without a second thought but then you would miss out on the deceptive depth of flavors and lovely aromatics. I suspect this wine will develop further for at least 5 years.
About this wine
Chianti dei Colli Senesi is one of the 7 sub-regions of Chianti. The name is a derivative of Siena, the biggest city in its region. It is a very large sub-region, overlapping Montalcino, Montepulciano and San Gimignano. Whereas a Rosso from one of those appellations might be from declassified grapes from prime vineyards, Chianti Colli Senesi are generally next best sites. Still, it is a designated DOCG, so not plonk and in the right hands, like Signore Innocenti, they can be fine but playful wines.
Vittorio’s Colli Senesi is crafted from mostly Sangiovese blended with Canaiolo Toscano. The vines are as old as 50 years planted in medium clay soil. The old vines combined with holding the release of the wine for as much as a year and a half, result in a much more complex and serious version of this wine.
About the grape blend
Sangiovese is the most planted grape in Italy and is the dominant grape throughout the central part of the country. There are many variants and even different names like Prugnolo Gentile, Brunello, Sangioveto and Morellino.
The grapes are dark and thick skinned, slow-ripening, acidic and tannic. Like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese is heavily influenced by its terroir and similarly can be quite transparent in its differences from place to place.
Traditionally, Sangiovese-based wines (except in Montalcino) have other grapes mixed in, but in recent history there have been many successful wines produced from 100% Sangiovese. So, today, they are quite common.
Canaiolo is a traditional blending grape with Sangiovese. It adds softness and elegance as well as herbal flavors.
About the vintage
2014 was a challenging growing season, particularly the first half. Lots of rain, little sun and lots of heat might have resulted in unripe and dilute wines. But the late summer improved, and an extended Indian-summer helped the grapes ripen. A vintage of lighter wines in general, but Innocenti wines are not general.
On your table
In cooler weather, serve this with Ribollita, the traditional Tuscan bean and bread soup. On warmer days, dried pici pasta with a light ragu. Best at a cool cellar temp.
Vittorio Innocenti, a former philosophy teacher and his son Tommaso run this estate from a 13th century cellar in Montefollonico. They own 32 hectares in and around Montepulciano but only 12 are planted with vineyards of up to 50 years old. The vista views from the back patio are incredible.
They produce seven wines, but the cellars (in multiple locations) are dominated by the small barrels containing Vin Santo - a traditional Tuscan dessert wine. Vittorio says he has enough crops to produce more wine but he can’t because there is no room to store it.
Vittorio speaks no English and I no Italian. So we struggle to communicate in French unless, as usually is the case, his close friend Laura is on hand to translate. Despite the language gap, I like and have a deep respect for Vittorio. He is intensely committed to producing the highest quality wines and takes as much pride in his most modest offering as he does his top bottling.
VDLT is the only North American source for these extraordinary wines.