MCF Rare Wine
Rocca di Montegrossi: My Favorite Kind of Chianti
It's been a while since I've gotten on the proverbial high horse about things, but...
...lucky you, because here I go.
The other week, Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi of Rocca di Montegrossi came by the shop to taste us through his lineup of fabulous Chianti.
Chianti is Sangiovese's most elegant expression, and Marco's style of it is one I truly admire. The easiest way I can think to describe it would be that his is the ultimate 'less is more' approach.
His wines aren't softened, jacked up or sex-i-fied in any way...they're just top-level Sangiovese that's made into classy, top tier, if rather tight lipped wines.
The main attraction was his Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Marcellino 2016. Marco takes an interesting approach here - he makes a baseline Chianti Classico (which is fabulous), but he chooses not to make a Riserva bottling, and instead skips right ahead to the Gran Selezione designation.
Now, most of the time, GS seems mostly to be a chance for producers to offer out a version of their Riserva that's not all that different, other than the much higher price tag.
But Marco is very clear about why he does this - the rules surrounding Classico Riserva are, to him, unfocused and leave too much room for interpretation and/or shenanigans, whereas by striving for the GS level, he's making clear exactly what his wines are.
After tasting his Selezione, you'll know why he does that. These are easily up there with the great bottlings of the region and, unlike most of the other GS, the price tag is not eyebrow raising.
In fact, for the insane level of quality you get here, the price tag is a dang value, IMO.
So, just what is so wonderful about the Gran Selezione San Marcellino? Well, the 'Paradox of Great Chianti' (I just made that term up) is that precisely what many casual wine drinkers find so perplexing about it when it's young (that it's tart, structured, linear, tannic...and generally has less fruit to latch onto) is also precisely what makes hardcore traditionalist wine drinkers swoon about it.
Because it's those exact traits that make it a both a ridiculously versatile wine, and they also allow it to slowly evolve into something so utterly profound with proper time in the cellar.
Now, any lifelong guitar player will tell you how many times over the years a teacher or bandleader used told them that 'less is more'...and how when they were young it drove them nuts, because big, flamboyant, over the top-ness was kind of baked into your mind as to what made a good guitar player.
As you get older, though, you're much more impressed with a guy who strives for the mythical 'one note solo' than you are by a player who won't STFU.
The same holds true in wine - the more you drink it, the more you're impressed by subtlety and detail and how a wine fits in with the context of a meal, and how such traits allow it to express something much more profound than a smack-you-in-the-face or all-luxury-and-no-hard-edges wine could ever hope to.
This wine is utterly magical in terms of what it delivers - haunting, enchanting, mineral, leathery, earthy and perfectly textbook Sangiovese from one of the world's greatest wine producing areas. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that it's also from Chianti's greatest vintage in most of our memories.
You'll love every sip of it now, but give it 5-10 and you'll hopefully understand the non-adherence-to-less-is-more length of this email...
Okay, I'll STFU now...
ROCCA di MONTEGROSSI
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Marcellino 2016
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Marcellino 2016 1.5L
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MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street NYC 10011
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