July reviews of Selvapiana wines on Master of Wine Christy Canterbury
Time Flies: Celebrating New & Old Wines at Fattoria Selvapiana
One hundred years passed between the Giuntini family’s last two purchases of land for vineyards, 1897 and 1997. So, the 19-year wait to produce the first single vineyard wine, Vigneto Erchi, from that new plot was relatively quick. (The family planted the vineyard in 1999.)
In the same year that Fattoria Selvapiana welcomed this new wine to its stable, the winery also celebrated the 300th harvest since Pomino’s first quality decree, or bando, by Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici in 1716. The duke defined this area to protect the quality of wines being shipped to England (in place of French claret during the various wars of those days) for increasingly higher prices and volumes.
Time flies, and life is too short to drink bad wine. With any of the Selvapiana wines, you won’t waste a sip!
Fattoria Selvapiana 2016 Vigneto Erchi Chianti Rùfina DOCG 14% $50
The south-facing Erchi vineyard is planted with massal selection Sangiovese from the Bucerchiale vineyard.
There is a fascinating, stern elegance in the Vigneto Erchi. The nose is tight and reserved. (Give it a hearty decanting.) The palate is similar though there is a pop of sweet cherry fleshiness in the mid-palate. The tannins are broad and grainy, and while their initial attack feels as though they may be relentlessly drying, the mid-palate plumpness diffuses them nicely. The concentrated, beautifully ripe fruit pivots into a lingering finish of dried mulch and exotic spice with a lightly leathery finish. Compelling now, this needs and deserves time. It has the structure and stuffing to age very well.
Fattoria Selvapiana 2016 Vigneto Bucerchiale Chianti Rùfina DOCG Riserva 14.5% $35
This pure Sangiovese Riserva from Selvapiana’s best vineyard is made only in the best vintages. (See the 2014 and 2015.)
It always impresses me that a wine with such pedigree can be so accessible at such an early age. This 2016 is raring to go with its enthralling aromas of roasted meat, briar fruits and mulch. The attack is smooth – almost lush for the Rùfina area – with ripe fruits. To back up this generously-bodied palate is Rùfina’s telltale chirpy acidity that creates a waterfall of refreshment on the back palate. Throughout, the lightly coarse and sticky tannins mold onto the palate to create a mouth-filling and dignified Sangiovese. The fruit is impressively powerful and forward – not surprising given the vintage, but the structure is unrelentingly harmonious.
Fattoria Selvapiana 2015 Pomino Rosso DOC Villa Di Petrognano 14% $21
While Pomino is a very small denominazione today, so small that only two producers use the DOC, it once defined a much larger area, including Chianti Rùfina, Chianti Classico, Carmignano and Val d’Arno di Sopra.
This wine’s dominant variety, Sangiovese (60%), is mostly noticeable in the orange-tinged, ruby color and the floral, strawberry-perfumed attack. Then this Pomino Rosso’s Bordeaux contributors – equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon – take over the palate flavors and feel. The mid-palate is full-bodied and supple thanks to the Merlot and the ripe nature of the 2015 vintage. The somewhat husky tannins hail from the Cabernet Sauvignon. The pleasantly earthy and minerally finish lingers with liveliness. There is good balance and integration here, and with the full-blast personality of the Bordeaux varieties, the wine could certainly stand to relax a bit in bottle. Still, it’s ready to be enjoyed if you like your wines young and vigorous. If you’re interested in putting away a few bottles to see how wines age, this should do nicely for the first half of this decade and even beyond, for a very modest sum!
Fattoria Selvapiana 2018 Chianti Rùfina DOCG 13.5% $19
Chianti’s Rùfina sub-zone of is arguably the best of those outside the Classico area, and this label consistently shows why.
Yet again, this is terrific value for the money, showing off Rùfina’s pretty and poised aromatics with Sangiovese’s tantalizing red fruit tones and light earthiness. This vintage’s aromas showcase rose petals, cigar wrapper and red currants. The medium-bodied palate is elegantly balanced between its pristine, energetic fruit, its lightly mouthcoating texture and elegant, talc-like tannins. There is zero evidence of oak use thanks to the employment of large, 25-30 hl French casks. This is the epitome of elegant, high altitude Chianti Rùfina. This vintage’s finish is lighter than the 2015 and 2016, suggesting that this is more of an early- to-mid-range wine.