Marchesi Frescobaldi is an old Tuscan family wine company that dates back an astonishing 700 years. It’s currently headed up by Lamberto Frescobaldi, who became president of the group in 2013, and who represents the 20th generation of this family.
Rather than resting on their laurels, they are growing, and have been acquiring new wineries. Their portfolio includes stand-alone jewels like Masseto, Luce and Orneillia, as well as a raft of Tuscan wineries under the Frescobaldi name, including Castelgiacondo, Nipozzano and Perano. The latter is a new addition: they initially rented this 250 hectare estate with 52 hectares of vines in 2014, and then bought it. It’s the main focus of this tasting. The vineyard is a south-facing amphitheatre at 500 m in Gaiole in Chianti Classico.
This tasting also had two wines from Nipozzano, their estate in the Rufino subdistrict of Chianti. It’s the smallest of Chianti’s sub-zones with 900 hectares of vines, and it’s right in the north, in a cool spot.
Sangiovese is the main story at both estates. It represents 13% of Italy’s vineyard, making it the most widely planted grape in the country. In Tuscany overall, it accounts for 60% of plantings.
Frescobaldi Castello Nipozzano Chianti Rúfina 2018 Tuscany, Italy
13.5% alcohol. 90% Sangiovese. Wild ferment in stainless steel tanks with a post ferment maceration of 20 days, then 24 months’ ageing in used oak barrels. This is brisk and vivid with firm cedary structure sitting under the focused cherry and plum fruit. There’s a savoury, slightly balsamic edge to the fruit, with real grip and good acidity, and a touch of sour cherry on the finish. This is linear, taut and very correct, and needs time to open out. 90/100 (£17 Morrisons)
Frescobaldi Castello Nipozzano Chianti Rúfina Vecchie Viti 2018 Tuscany, Italy
13.5% alcohol. Sangiovese 85%, Colorino 7%, Canaiolo 5%, Malvasia Nera 3%. Wild ferment in concrete tanks, post-ferment maceration, then two years’ ageing in oak. Aromatic black cherry, spice and cedar nose leads to a compact, dense palate with firm, structured blackberry and black cherry fruit. There’s a bit of mid-palate richness here, but it’s clamped at either end by firm tannins and good acidity, and some savoury, cedary notes. Very pure, but with potential for development. Currently quite tight and compressed. 91/100 (£25 Vinum, Noble Green Wines, Shelved Wine)
Frescobaldi Tenuta Perano Chianti Classico 2008 Tuscany, Italy
14% alcohol. Sangiovese 90%, Canaiolo 10%, aged for two years in a mix of stainless steel and barrels. Fruity but taut, with good structure and acidity sitting behind ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit. Has a touch of raspberry freshness and compact, linear tannic structure. Very direct, fresh and pure with good tannins, but also bright fruit. Again, this needs a bit of time to show its best but it has lovely brightness and directness. 91/100 (£24.50, Strictly Wine, Shelved Wine, Vinum)
Frescobaldi Tenuta Perano Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 Tuscany, Italy
14.5% alcohol. 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot, aged for 2 years in 2000 and 5000 litre casks. This is a primary, taut, compressed but already-detailed wine showing tar, spice, dried herbs and liqourice, as well as vivid cherry, blackberry and plum fruit. It has really grippy structure, but it works well with the bright, vivid berry and black fruit quality, and the grainy, vivid, mineral freshness. This is compressed an backwards at the moment, but it’s a really good wine with lots of potential. 94/100 (£35.50 Strictly Wine, Vinum, Loki Wine)
Frescobaldi Tenuta Perano Rialzi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016 Tuscany, Italy
14% alcohol. 100% Sangiovese aged for two years in new French oak. Dark, brooding and spicy on the nose with fresh black fruits and a touch of plum. On the palate the new oak adds some structure but not much flavour (this has been soaked up), and lots of bright, vivid red and black fruits with good structure, a touch of cedar spice and a fresh, fruit-driven finish. Still very compressed, showing some sweetness to the fruit, with potential for a long life ahead. 93/100 (£45.80, Corking Wines, Great Wines Direct, Shelved Wine)
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com