Our tasting impressions
Such a ripping nose that screams (can noses scream?) Chianti. The biggest, baddest Senesi yet!? Pure fruit is, for now, slightly obscured by dry, dusty tannins. Give it a few months and it might just eclipse the wonderful 2015.
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 age of the vines 8-23 years planted in medium clay soil in Montepulciano. Fermentation and maceration is on the skins for about 10-12 days. Aging is 1 year in barrel before bottling with a wide-grain filter and additional rest in the cellar prior to release.
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
2016 is a modern day classic vintage in Tuscany. A near perfect growing season that started slowly, warmed up nicely through the summer, and ended with a classic autumn. Ample warm days and cool nights produced a slightly reduced crop of wines that combine the richness of low-yields with the near perfect balance of mature tannins and bright acidity.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Liberté
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.