Import Selection: Chianti, 1988. Castello di Gabbiano

If, from all the pictures, car­toons, TV documentaries and books logged in your memory you were to imagine a medieval castle with jutting towers and classic parapets, you would be seeing Castello di Gabbiano (Castle of Gabbiano). According to archives, this romantic castle dates back to the twelfth century, rich with his­tory and family feuds that would make daytime soaps look logical.

Surrounded by green country­side, olive trees and vineyards the castle has a tall tower in the cen­ter, flanked by four smaller towers in each corner. Each family that inhabited the castle was able to maintain control for centuries. Fi­nally, in the 16th century, the pop­ular Soderini family chose to fight the illustrious and upcoming Med­ici family. The Soderinis lost and were forced to leave Tuscany. Castello di Gabbiano was aban­doned and left to ruin.

Today, the castle has been re­stored and the vineyards are flou­rishing again.

The Tuscany region; more de­fined, the Chianti designation, produces wines that are closely monitored by the government. Different designations are re­quired for the varied levels of quality. “D.O.C.G.” means that samples of the wine have been tasted by a panel of officials all through the vinification process and has passed strict requirements to receive the designation.

The origin of grapes for this months selection are vineyards in the northwestern part of the Chi­anti Classico region. The area named as S. Casciano Val di Pesa actually boasts vineyards in both the Chianti and Chianti Classico designations. This area produces moderately fragrant Chianti with lots of fruit and body.

Compared with other Chianti produced by Gabbiano this “D.O.C.G. White Label” has more Sangiovese and Canniolo grapes blended with less Trebbiano and Malvasia. This blend makes the wine more youthful, consistent with the wines from S. Casciano.

Our selection shows a color of ruby red to garnet. The nose has blackcurrants with a hint of flow­ers and berry. The flavor is very true to the nose. Lots of blackcur­rants and berries. The grape flavor is very fresh. The finish is dry with a nice lingering berry taste. A nice example of a Chianti from this northwestern region.

Serve with any red pasta dish or rack of lamb with basil.

Cellaring Notes: Drinks wonder­ful now but will age 2-3 years while mellowing.

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