The rock in Rocca di Montegrossi

Rocca di Montegrossi is our new winery from Gaiole in Chianti, specifically from the sub-region of Monti, where the soil is very rocky and planting a vineyard here is a costly exercise. The going rate in Chianti Classico for clearing and planting a vineyard is 7-8K per hectare (euro). In Monti, it’s up around 4 times that much because of the work required to break through the rocks and prepare the ground.

It was a ‘meant to be’ meeting between us and Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi (yes, as in THE Ricasoli family – although Marco’s wines are very different to that of his cousin’s) and the wines did not disappoint. Recently, Antonio Galloni of Wine Advocate awarded 92 points to the 2008 Chianti Classico and said the “progress this young estate has made under Ricasoli’s leadership is nothing short of remarkable”, adding that “this is the equivalent of top-notch village level Burgundy….at a fraction of the price”. I’d go one further to say that this blows the socks of village burgundy. I do love Nebbiolo (some people say even a little too much), but when it comes to Sangiovese and Chianti Classico well, I could drink it every day. And best of all, it will partner just about anything you put on the table. For my money, Chianti Classico remains one of the world’s great wine buys.

Rocca di Montegrossi’s Chianti Classico is 90% Sangiovese with 5% Canaiolo and 5% Colorino. Bright red berry fruit and floral notes, the palate balances the ripe fruit with Chianti’s typical freshness. Our first shipment, arriving later this month, includes the 2009 Chianti Classico and the single vineyard 2006 Chianti Classico ‘San Marcellino’.

And something you don’t see very often is the mixed wood caratelli (small barrels) used for the Vin Santo at Rocca di Montegrossi. This barrel is a mix of three types of wood: cherry (the dark wood on the left), chestnut (in the middle) and oak. So that’s what they mean when they say aged in various oak!