Recently the JN wine team made a visit to one of our amazing producers, Rocca Delle Macie in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. On a warm and beautiful night we arrived at the Riserva di Fizzano, a retreat reconstructed from a medieval village in the heart of Chianti Classico and surrounded by the vineyards of Rocca. After a very hospitable welcome from Georgetta we had a good night’s rest.
In the morning nothing could have prepared us for what lay around us. The Tuscan landscape was everything I had imaged and more; rolling hills of vines and magnificent Cyprus trees which we hadn’t seen as we arrived in the darkness of the evening, and beautiful stone buildings dotted amongst it all. The Chianti region is stunning. After our breakfast we made the 15min journey to the Rocca Delle Macie cellars, stopping occasionally (impossible not to) to take in all the wonderful views and vastness of the estate.
Upon arrival to the cellars we were shown the wine shop. This opens every day for people looking to sample and ultimately buy the wines. In the shop we heard the history of Rocca and how Italio Zangarelli’s love for Tuscany made him leave a life of films and create a winery in the heart of the Chianti Classico Region. Today the winery consists of about 600 hectares (200 for vineyards, 80 as Olive groves) divided among the 6 properties: Le Macìe, Sant’Alfonso, Fizzano and le Tavolelle within the borders of Chianti Classico, and Campomaccione and Casamaria within the DOC of Morellino di Scansano.
The tour began with an explanation of how the vines have changed over the years due to both improvements in technology and climate change. The new technology has aided the growers in pinpointing any faults in the grapes down to the individual vines and therefore only that vine will be treated instead of treating the whole vineyard, thus lowering the chemical contact. These factors have helped the vineyard become 95% organic.
As of the time of year we visited, the team was in the process of transferring the vinified wine into the casks for aging. The smell was amazing; something that I hope and think will never be forgotten. As we were taken into the cellars we were greeted by rows and rows of beautiful Slavonian and French oak casks. Some already filled with wine and some soon to be filled. From here the next stop was to the bottling factory, this was where we soon realised the vastness of the production of Rocca Delle Macie. On any given day they produce 6000 bottles per hour, a combination of their own estate wines and bottling wines from other growers.
Rocca Delle Macie makes a wide selection of wines, from table wine through to the new Chianti denomination of Gran Selezione. This wine from the new Chianti Classico Denomination shows again just how great wonderful Chianti Classico can be. Made from a single vineyard beside the apartments we stayed in, it is intense with flavours of wild berries, coffee and spice. Well balanced acidity and tannins with a long finish. Watch this space!
Once the tour was over we were treated to an amazing lunch where we were introduced to Sergio Zingarelli, owner of Rocca Delle Macie, son of Italio and President of the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium. With the lunch we got to enjoy some of the wines that we distribute from Rocca.
Chianti Classico 2013
Bottle Price: £13.75 / €19.50 Case Bottle Price £12.38 / €17.55
This wine was born with the vineyard, as the vineyard developed so has the wine. We tasted the 2013 vintage and it was good; ripe berries on the nose with a hint of oak. On the palate it carried through these flavours to give a full bodied wine with a lasting finish. Perfect for the tomato based pasta dish
Tenuta Sant'Alfonso 2012
Bottle Price: £16.95 / €23.50 Case Bottle Price: £15.26 / €21.15
This wine has been made in a way to preserve as much of the fruit flavours as possible. Beautiful on the nose, with a touch of spice from the oak. Has great tannins and very smooth on finish. A delicious combination with our duck dish.
Rocca Macie Chianti Riserva 2011
Bottle Price: £18.89 / €25.75 Case Bottle Price £17.00 / €23.18
This is an intense wine on the nose, an abundance of fruit, blackcurrant, blueberry and dark cherries. It just fills the mouth with flavour as with the aromas, a well-balanced wine that leaves you wanting more. A brilliant pairing with our steak.