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Chianti Classico with a View

What kind of view?

Well if you're visiting Castello la Leccia (do it!), you will have a spectacular view of the Chianti Classico region from a high hill (the vineyards of the estate are between 300 and 500 meters), but maybe we're talking about a different sort of view, a view of a sustainable future in one of the world's most heavily marketed and sales-driven wine regions. Chianti Classico is home to many of our favorite Sangiovese wines and we're believers in the region, but avian iconography does not make a fine wine and we encourage you to look for wineries in Chianti that focus on the health of their land and the unique growing conditions that foster some of the world's most privileged vines. Chianti is one of the world's most recognizable wines, and the Chianti Classico zone is one of the world's great wine regions, but unfortunately neither name is a guarantor of quality. Instead of buying by the Chianti name, we would urge you to note wineries instead, and La Leccia, for us, is one of the most important names to remember.

Certified organic agriculture is just a starting point for Castello la Leccia. Going beyond a certfication that guarantees no synthetic treatments are used in the vineyards, the team at Castello la Leccia is commited to reducing the use of copper sulfate, planting beneficial cover crops between rows of vines and reinvigorating the soil by waiting years when replanting vines. In the winery, great care is taken to extract only the most supple and fine-grained tannins from the skins of their pampered grapes. Each vineyard parcel is fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks before going into a combination of cement tanks and various sizes of oak barrels. Their top cuvee, Bruciagna, is aged exclusively in smaller oak barrels, mostly used. The goal at Castello la Leccia is to represent their exceptional fruit through an elegant and pure style of Chianti Classico. At every level, the wines of Castello la Leccia show amazing fruit flavors and uncommon depth; just ask the crowds that cleaned us out of their Toscana Rosso after tasting it this past weekend (it's back in stock today!).

Castello la Leccia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 'Bruciagna' 2013

Today we offer Castello la Leccia's only cru bottling: Bruciagna. An especially sunny site with chalky marl soils, the Bruciagna cru yields very small quantities of concentrated grapes, and in exceptional vintages Castello la Leccia will use it for a special cuvee. They have not bottled a Bruciagna since the 2010 vintage, so we were pumped when we heard that a 2013 would be released. So pumped, in fact, that we bought every bottle that came to Masschusetts! That would be just 60 bottles!

btw... the 2013 Bruciagna is a Gran Selezione. Chianti Classico didn't really need a new rung on their official quality ladder, but here we are. A Gran Selezione is basically a special Riserva, but it must come from estate-grown grapes, be at least 13% alcohol, contain at least 26 grams per liter of dry extract, and age at the estate for at least 30 months before release. If you ask us, the new Gran Selezione category is not especially relevant. It would have been much more interesting if effort had been spent to designate and delimit official crus and communes in the region... maybe next time.

Prescribed quality levels aside, Castello la Leccia's 2013 Bruciagna is a Chianti for the ages. Rich, structured and complex, it is dark in color for a pure Sangiovese (nothing suspicious though) and its fruit profile also veers to a dark side. It does, however, have a clear and classic Sangiovese varietal profile, with notes of tart dark cherry, blackcurrant syrup, sweet baking spices, licorice, mint, rosemary and leather. It's just starting to open up, and it will be a few years before it reaches maturity. It's some serious competition for excellent Brunello or any high-end Sangiovese; this wine represents incredible value in its category. For drinking today, one might decant for many hours and serve it with a fine piece of red meat. A thick porterhouse would be perfect.

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