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Chianti Tasting with Famiglia Cecchi Wines

One of the great perks of blogging about wine is the opportunity to attend private tastings hosted by wineries from all over the world. The invitations stopped cold in March 2020 as COVID swept across the country. In a hopeful sign of the “new normal,” we were invited to a tasting of Famiglia Cecchi’s classic Chianti wines at our favorite local [Waltham, MA] wine shop Vino Italiano. This Italian-only specialty shop is just a few blocks away, so walking there on a bright October day was a balm for our Covid-weary souls. Knowing that Vino Italiano owner David Maione would be passing small bites from his fabulous restaurant La Campania was an added treat.

Giulia Cecchi, Cecchi Family Wines

Famiglia Cecchi is a fourth-generation family winery, founded in 1893 and run today by Andrea Cecchi. His daughter Giulia presented six wines from three of the family’s estates. Gary is a serious Chianti devotee; Lisa not so much. So take Gary’s notes into account far more than Lisa’s.

Spoiler Alert: Buy the 2016 Val della Rose, Morellino di Scansano Riserva “Poggio al Leone

2020 Val della Rose, Vermentino “Litorale” (100% Vermentino) @ $17
Pale straw color with an odd mix of cream and acid according to Lisa. Gary noted citrus and limestone undertones with a powdery finish. Not recommended.

2017 Villa Cerna, Chianti Classico “Primocolle” (90% Sang., 10% Colorino) @ $24
Notes: This wine is at the lower end of the winemaker’s Chianti Classico portfolio. Lisa noted its medium red color and a pleasant, dry finish. Gary picked up leather/cassis on the nose and light cherry flavor with some flintiness. A rather simple wine with no complexity.

2016 Villa Cerna, Chianti Classico Riserva (90% Sang., 10% Colorino) @ $35
Notes: Giulia Cecchi noted that the 2016 vintage was a better year for the region, and we agree.  Lisa found this to be a dry red with slightly more flavor than the 2017. Gary said it was pretty standard Chianti Classico with your basic leather, cigar-box on the nose and black cherry on the dry finish.

2016 Val della Rose, Morellino di Scansanso Riserva “Poggio al Leone” (90% Sangiovese, 10% Cab. Sauvignon) @ $40
Notes: From the coastal Morellino DOCG sub-region, the wine is bursting with flavor. Gary thought it would hold its own against the best of the Super Tuscans, with excellent balance of silky tannins, black fruit/cassis notes and a long toasty oak finish. Giulia Cecchi advised that this wine could age up to 25 years but the two bottles we bought will likely be gone before Thanksgiving!  Highly recommended.

2017 Val della Rose, “Aurelio” DOC Maremma Toscana (95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc) @ $38
Notes: Lisa noted its sour, acidic characteristics. Gary said, “Sadly, this is why Merlot was dissed in Sideways.

2016 Villa Rosa, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione (100% Sangiovese) @ $130 (1.5 L)
Notes: Aged 24 months in French Oak, 3 months in concrete. “Gran Selezione” is the flagship wine of Cecchi’s collection. We noted a light oak nose, with fresh cherries on the palate and a fine flintiness. A good Sangiovese but at $130 for a 1.5L bottle, its almost 3X the price of the Poggio al Leone and not nearly as good.

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