Let me introduce you to Niccolò Montecchi. He’s a member of the Antinori family – and in Italy, that means a LOT.
Villa del Cigliano (pronounced “chill-YAH-no”) is a 500-year-old Estate inherited by Niccolò from his grandmother Elenora Antinori (female blood line). In his own words, Niccolò has “murdered and recreated” himself as a noble farmer, choosing to spend his days making extraordinary Sangiovese-based wines just 15 miles south of Florence in San Casciano in the Chianti Classico wine region.
Hey man, that’s old-school.
Niccolò makes old-school Chianti Classico, aging his wine in botti, those big 12 to 20 hectolitre (300-500 gallon) barrels made from Slavonian oak. Not a touch of new French oak. It’s all about the fruit and the minerality that comes shining through in this clay-rich part of Chianti Classico.
This wine has a gorgeous garnet color that sparkles and immediately seduces the eye, but what pulls you in is the nose: ripe black cherries and dried herbs marry into a delicious aroma. One taste and the complexity goes deeper, with baked cherry, fennel and lavender, tobacco and some very light hazelnut. Tannins are soft and sweet, with decent acidity and a medium finish.
Food to pair this with.
The 2009 pairs wonderfully with classic Tuscan dishes – think more flavorful meats, pastas with meat-based sauces, and hearty soups. Grilled beef and veal steaks, roasted lamb, rabbit and roasted pork dishes are complimented by Chianti Classico. Pasta dishes like pappardelle with a rich beef ragu are divine with Sangiovese-based wines like Chianti Classico. If you’re in the mood for soup, try the Tuscan classic Ribollita, or make a farrotto with porcini mushrooms.