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Uncorked: Generations of knowledge at Frescobaldi

Published: Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 1:54 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Courtesy photo)
Marchesi de’Frescobaldi’s Toscana Tenuta Frescobaldi Di Castiglioni (2009) is a red wine dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with black cherry and Bristol raspberry fruit notes. A bottle costs $25.

The Frescobaldi family has had centuries to perfect the wine-making process in Tuscany. With the finest estate vineyards and a deep knowledge of the Tuscan terroir, Frescobaldi has an impressive portfolio that showcases the finest attributes of a historic region. 

Winemaker spotlight The printing press had yet to be invented when the Frescobaldi family started to make wine in Tuscany. Actually, back in 1308 most modern comforts were not available.

Yet, valuable knowledge has been passed throughout generations. The constant link from past to present being the deep understanding of their soil, vineyards and climate that go into making great wine.    

“When you make wines and you want to give them character and a sense of place, the most important element is knowing the vineyards very, very well,” said Alessandro Lunardi, director of Frescobaldi USA. “This can be obtained only by observing year after year the small signals that the vines give you as they grow and adapt to the environment.

“It is a very slow process that required painstaking patience, great dedication and above all passion and love. After so many years in Tuscany, and with some of the greatest vineyards sites of the region, the Frescobaldi family has the history, the tradition, and the rare capacity to understand the [places] that are second to none.”

It shows in the wines Frescobaldi produces.

Tenuta Frescobaldi Di Castiglioni, a 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 percent Merlot and 10 percent Cab Franc and Sangiovese blend, is a harmonious Tuscan blend. An Old World style balance between ripeness, fruit flavors and acidity highlight the wine, but a modern approach to vineyard management assured it would improve for years.

When Frescobaldi discovered Sangiovese wasn’t in a position to excel in the sandy and clay soil at the Castiglioni Estate, a decision was made to replant mostly with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cab Franc, leaving some Sangiovese in only the best parcels. 

“It’s essential and, for us, the ultimate objective,” said Lunardi when asked about the importance of a wine being balanced. “We are lucky at the Frescobaldi Estate of Castiglioni. It offers great diversity in the vineyards, which gives us the tools to find balance. We believe balance is the key in any wine and when achieved it will seamlessly host all the other elements allowing the character of the vineyard sites – that sense of place every wine should have – to be in the forefront.”

At an amazing price of $10, Remole is a great entry point into the Frescobaldi portfolio. While their Nipozzano Chianti Riserva ($20) has long been a favorite selection for any pasta dinner I host where a tomato-based sauce is involved, Remole presents a great value that provides a glimpse of the best Frescobaldi has to offer.

“Remole is extremely important for Frescobaldi,” Lunardi said. “This is the wine that allows us to make phenomenal estate and single vineyard wines at our five estates in Tuscany. It is, in fact, the result of the very strict and focused selection of both the fruit at harvest and the wines after fermentation that we don’t feel should make it into wines like Nipozzano Riserva, Montesodi, Mormoreto, Tenuta Frescobaldi.

“What doesn’t make our top wines makes Remole. But the real secret here is that our vineyards are all managed to produce high quality wines, we don’t cut corners anywhere, the care and attention is equal everywhere, therefore Remole becomes by default an absolute value, and the best wine to introduce people to the great wines of the Frescobaldi portfolio.”

What to buy Marchesi de’Frescobaldi, Toscana Remole, 2010 ($10): Silky tannins lead the way on this easy drinker from Tuscany. Strawberries and maraschino cherries dominate until a hint of leather wraps up the finish nicely. A great value wine perfect for a creamy pasta dish, a salty salami or even a Tuesday night pizza.

Marchesi de’Frescobaldi, Toscana Tenuta Frescobaldi Di Castiglioni, 2009 ($25): Ready to be enjoyed with rich, red meats is this Tuscan blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with black cherry and Bristol raspberry fruit notes that blend well with tobacco and vanilla. It’s bold enough to stand up to gamey, grilled meats or a beef or pork roast.

• James Nokes writes a bi-weekly wine column for Shaw Media. He’s been tasting, touring and collecting in the wine world for several years. Contact him at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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