Well, you knew it had to happen eventually. I always try to keep an open mind, and more importantly, an open palate, so I'm always on the lookout for something interestingly different but good and affordable. Which means, of course, that I taste a lot of crap and really abuse my tongue for my customers. But, alas, such is my lot in life...
For some time now I've been seeking Italian wines, but between business development at home and herding my French and Spanish winemakers, I had not really had time to focus on that search. So I jumped at the opportunity to taste some Chiantis when a local trade tasting took place. And lo and behold, I found what I was looking for: a small farmer Organic Chianti.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Italians are coming!
Located in Cavriglia, between Florence and Arezzo, the Tenuta San Jacopo winery was in a state of disrepair, its old vine Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Trebbiano vines lying uncared for, until 2002. Then three wine-loving brothers from Milan purchased the property and set about restoring it to its former glory.
Stefano Balzanelli (the long-haired guy up top) manages the property, set in rolling dry hills between Florence and Arezzo. This mid-sized property is planted to 38 ha (93.9 acres) of vines, with another 20 ha to old olive groves. Portions of the vineyards were replanted after the purchase, while the older, healthier vines were tended to and brought up to modern standards. Certified Organic methods are used to take care of the land, the vines, and the grapes. These are then hand-harvested in small baskets, then sorted again at the winery and destalked before going into stainless or wood fermentation tanks (depending on the cuvee). The end results are lovely, earthy old-school renditions of Chianti. No over-ripe or over-oaked fruit here!
We are proud to add the Tenuta San Jacopo wines to the Vinotas family, and we’re sure you’ll be very pleasantly surprised with them as well. Stefano’s Poggio ai Grilli Chianti is lively, aromatic and refined while at the same time rustic, very Italian in so many ways. Bright, fresh red cherry fruit is complemented by earthy minerality and a wonderful lift, with a long finish. This is truly an old school Chianti.
I am so excited that I could start singing "When the Moon Hits Your Eye..." but I'm not sure that's appropriate. In any case, the wine is outstanding, it's Organic, and it will retail under $20 too.
PS: As usual, more pictures can be found HERE