All of the wines at today's tasting came from winemaker Lionello Marchesi of Castello di Monastero. Signore Marchesi was present for the tasting, and I was delighted to dust off my college Italian. The winery is located near Siena in Tuscany, and the wines tasted were a combination of I.G.T., D.O.C., and D.O.C.G. classifications. The wines are also produced under a couple of different labels, the names of which I'll include below.
The three Chiantis (wines 1, 2, and 4) are 85% Sangiovese with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the quantities of the latter two grapes varying with each year. This smooths out the flavor somewhat, and makes the wines more appealing to the US market.
Wine 1: 2002 Montetondo Chianti Superiore D.O.C.G. Firm tannins, a rich, dark aroma, and a soft finish. $15.
Wine 2: 2002 Castello di Monastero Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. Hint of tobacco on the nose, softer tannins than the first one with mild cherry flavors and a soft finish. $18.
Wine 3: 2002 Poggio Sughere Morellino di Scansano D.O.C. Very mellow aroma, and amazingly smooth. This one is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. If you ever wanted to convert someone with a fear of Italian wines based on a lifetime of cheap jug Chianti, this would be a perfect wine. This would be mild enough to serve with hearty chicken dishes but is still strong enough to stand up to roasted beef. $18.
Wine 4: 2000 Castello di Monastero Chianti Riserva D.O.C.G. Oak and plum aromas, great fruit forward flavor, with a short finish. Really nice wine here. $34.
Wine 5: 2002 Coldisole Rosso di Montalcino D.O.C. 100% Sangiovese Grosso. Good balance, more restrained than some of the other offerings. A hint of tannins left on the tongue, and a faint taste of licorice. $27.
Wine 6: 2001 Poggio Sughere Splendido 2001 I.G.T. 70% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot. Black cherry, almost no tannins. Short finish with just a tiny bite on the end. A great wine. $45.
Wine 7: 2001 Castello di Monastero Infinito I.G.T. 60% Sangiovese, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Soft and well rounded, well aged enough that the more mellow and flavorful elements of the two grapes are really able to shine. $50.
Wine 8: 2000 Coldisole Brunello di Montalcino D.O.C.G. 100% Sangiovese Grosso. A touch of toast on the aroma, with dark, slightly oaky flavors. The color, intensity, and flavor of this wine really showed proper aging. $45.
Wine 9: 1999 Lunanuova Vin Santo di Chianti D.O.C. 80% Malvasia, 20% Trebbiano. Vin Santo is an Italian fortified wine, somewhere between a tawny Port and a sherry and only 16% alcohol. It's got that great Port aroma but a feel and taste closer to sherry or Madeira. I first had Vin Santo in a trattoria near Florence, where it was served with dessert. The waiter brought out an entire bottle of Vin Santo, some small almond biscotti, and almost thimble-sized cups. It's sweet and strong, but warms you from the inside out. This tasting brought back some really fond memories. $60 (375 mL).