A vertical tasting of Casale dello Sparviero

Chianti Classico wine down the years

Helen Farrell
February 5, 2016 - 14:56

The countryside of Castellina in Chianti is irreproachable in its beauty and irresistible for wine lovers. Casale dello Sparviero, a wine estate owned by Ada Andrighetti, occupies 380 hectares in this Siena part of the Chianti Classico. The 90 hectares of vineyards have long since been regarded as the very best for fine Tuscan winemaking.

 

The cypress-lined drive leading to Casale dello Sparviero The cypress-lined drive leading to Casale dello Sparviero

 

The estate’s approach is a classical yet contemporary one: a non-invasive grape growing and viticulture scenario yields native Tuscan grapes Sangiovese and Canaiolo, which are carefully selected by hand. With the exception of a recently introduced rosé (Emily O’Hare writes about the Tuscan trend for rosati here), Casale dello Sparviero is fully focused on high-level reds using large oak barrels and more modern French barriques in the vaulted cellar.

 

The vertical tasting revealed a shift over time from complex, bold winemaking to a more contemporary focus on drinkability without forsaking any of the original outgoing character.

The vertical tasting revealed a shift over time from complex, bold winemaking to a more contemporary focus on drinkability without forsaking any of the outgoing character. Price points are affordable with the Chianti Classico on sale directly at the estate for 9 euro, the Riserva 15 euro and the Gran Selezione 24 euro.

 

Sparviero vertical tasting Sparviero vertical tasting

Wine lovers can take advantage of the six apartments affording views over the Chianti countryside but only after you’ve driven down the 800-metre-long cypress-line avenue to get there. Such is the hardship of holidaying in Tuscany.

 

 

What I tasted

Chianti Classico DOCG 2013

With 95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo, this is your classic Chianti Classico. An instant delight to the senses: deep ruby red with garnet highlights, forest fruits and violets on the nose, and dry and full-bodied in the mouth. Soft on the finish.

 

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2011

100% Sangiovese, this stern and serious wine will have you bowing down before it. Big on personality and bold in character: between ruby red and garnet, ripe forest fruits, jam, black pepper and tobacco on the nose and in the mouth.

 

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Riserva DOCG 2012, Vigna Paronza

100% Sangiovese from the Vigna Paronza vineyard only, this highly perfumed red has something intoxicating about it. Breathe in the cherries, vanilla and redcurrants. While the tannins are expected to calm down in time, this Gran Selezione dominates in the mouth with lasting aftertastes of blackberries and tobacco.

 

Wine label featuring the "sparviero", sparrowhawk bird that nests on the estate Wine label featuring the "sparviero", sparrowhawk bird that nests on the estate

 

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2010, Vigna Paronza

100% Sangiovese, produced in a perfectly balanced year, this is a perfectly balanced wine. Lean and long, elegant and emblematic, this is the homecoming, the glass to which you yearn to return.

 

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2007, Vigna Paronza

100% Sangiovese, this is the standout exception during the tasting. Enigmatic, herbacious with a metal-edged backbone, this Riserva needs time to unfurl and reveal its full expression. For me, this was the greatest surprise and the most intriguing. I'd have happily revisited it the following day.

 

Chianti Classico (Riserva but not labelled as such) DOCG 2004, Vigna Paronza

100% Sangiovese, a masterclass in ageing potential. As smooth and as controlled as a Chianti Classico is capable of being, this is a beautiful wine – like touching a ruby red velvet cushion.

 

Chianti Classico (Riserva but not labelled as such) DOCG 2003, Vigna Paronza

100% Sangiovese, also brilliantly aged, similar in tone to the 2004. Great age progression, smooth and elegant. Add tassels to that velvet cushion.

 

How to get there

 

Casale dello Sparviero

Loc. Casale, 93

53011 Castellina in Chianti (Siena)

0577/743228

www.casaledellosparviero.it

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