2004 'Sasso Forato' Chianti Classico DOCG
Sangiovese •Chianti Classico DOCG
What We Say
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Mission Codename: 1000 Years and Counting
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Visit Fattoria La Marcellina and acquire their Gran Cru Sasso Forato Chianti Classico DOCG
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Fattoria La Marcellina
Wine Subject: 2004 Sasso Forato Chianti Classico DOCG
Winemaker: Fabio Castellacci
Chianti Classico DOCG is produced in one of the eight sub-regions in the Chianti region. This one hales from the Panzano in Chianti commune, in the Chianti hills about halfway between Siena to the south and Florence to the north. The DOCG requires that these wines range from 75-100% Sangiovese grapes and often is blended with Caniolo Nero, Trebbiano, Colorino, Malvasia or Cabernet Sauvignon (regular Chianti is limited to no more than 90% Sangiovese). This region in Chianti is most populated by foreign owned wineries. The La Marcellina family has owned and worked the land and vines in this area for about 1000 years.
This Chianti Classico DOCG is 100% Sangiovese and has good cellar potential. The finest Chianti Classico, such as this one, can age gracefully for up to 20 years and are also among the funnest food wines from Italy.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark ruby red with violet and ruby reflections through its clear core. Along the edges the color remains deep only lightening on the very edge to a lighter shade of ruby-garnet. When swirled, this wine leaves behind fast fat legs that show hints of color as the descend to the wine below.
Smell – Medium in intensity but fully aromatic. Notes of spice and oak over sweet and ripe red cherry and hints of strawberry are layered over vanilla, floral violets and a subtle bramble-herbal component.
Feel – Smooth and rich, this full-boded wine has firm, but finely textured silky tannins and lively acidity that mellows as this wine opens up. Mouth-coating and lightly chewy with a touch of minerality that lingers into the finish.
Taste – Rich flavors of red and black cherry, toasted oak and vanilla and subtle spice and earthy notes. Zesty and juicy, but not overdone, impressively layered and harmoniously integrated. Hints of dark mocha and tar add complexity.
Finish – Lingering and clean with notes of this wine’s minerality and tannin texture leading the way and framing its bright and rich fruit.
Conclusion – The 2004 La Marcellina Sasso Forato Chianti Classico DOCG is a very pretty wine from an exceptional vintage in the region. As this wine opens up, its refined subtle and elegant aromas and flavors emerge making this wine a great accompaniment to bold and rich Italian food. Easy to drink and enjoy, this Chianti Classico will continue to improve for the next 10 or more years.
Below is our original mission when Agent White first discovered the wines of La Marcellina, and specifically the Sassocupo Chianti Classico.
Word came in from OPS to head south from Florence and find Sassocupo… I had heard rumors of Sassocupo, but wasn’t sure what exactly what he or she, or it was. The rumors ranged from a Sasquatch type creature that wrecked havoc in the area to a small ground mole that raided vineyards in search of a tasty meal. I had no idea what to expect.
My local asset on the ground, Agent Baco Noir promoted the Sasquatch theory, I think in an effort to not only intimidate me but also, as I found out later, to as part of her ongoing game with me. Baco informed me that she had a lead and insisted that I be prepared for outdoor activities (think Man v. Wild), but I wasn’t worried, heck this was Tuscany, how wild would it get, not to mention, my local asset never wore anything less than 4 inch heels, regardless of the terrain.
We ventured forth on our Vespas through the winding hills of the Chianti region, and we approached a vineyard in the Panzano in Chianti commune. From here we went on foot, and walked into a carefully tended Sangiovese vineyard. Then things started to get strange, I started hearing grunts and other not-so-natural sounds. She took up a position behind me and pushed me forward. The noises continued and in the distance I could see a small worn-out barn.
“There, in the barn”, She pointed… _ “My contact said to check there…”_
As I opened the creaky door, a thin ray of sunlight lit only a portion of the otherwise dark and dusty barn. I took a step in and the door slammed shut with a shudder, both from the barn and also up my spine. Just then, Baco, goosed me by grabbing me from behind and scared the, well, better discretion says I cannot describe….
As she laughed, the door opened, and the Castellacci family emerged with big smiles and said “let’s go and meet Sassocupo”, as they presented me a bottle of their Chianti Classico Riserva, named Sassocupo.
Mystery solved, and a delicious mystery it was.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Fattoria La Marcellina can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Good deep ruby red colour with purple highlights. Intense aromas, fresh, ripe fruit nose reminiscent of the harvest. Stylish, evolved, lingering. Slightly aggressive due to the lively tannins, but rounded enough to fully enhance the well-balanced body and structure. Full and lingering.
This wine is obtained from a selection of grapes grown from selected Sangiovese clones, with high quality features.
Vinification: Careful vinification respecting the traditional methods using selected yeasts and advanced cellar techniques. The long maceration on the skins gives intense colour and considerable quantities of extracted glycerine, obtaining overall an extremely interesting wine which is ready to drink after over eight months’ ageing in wood.
Food Pairing: Barbecued or roasted red meat, game, stews.
Serving Suggestion: 18-20°C. Uncork at least two hours before serving.
About The Winery:
The residence situated next to the winery has ancient, definitely Medieval origins.
The original tower was a guardpost for the nearby castle.
Writings from the period record that the family of Firidolfi da Panzano, feudal lords of the castle in the village of the same name, gave the land and house which today form La Marcellina farm to a certain Marcello, who had rid them of a troublesome enemy.
The destitute marcello now found himself the proprietor of a house and land, and named the property “Marcello”.
A subsequent transcription error transformed this into “Marcellina”, and later “La Marcellina”. The namen it retains to this day.
History of the Vineyards:
La Marcellina winery is an ancient Chianti-style building dating back to the Middle Ages, when its tower was used in wars by the nearby castle of Panzano.
When its military service was over, it became a rural home, and its structure was gradually extended and tarnsformed into the present day buildings.
13 of 20 hectares of farmlands are specialised vineyards, the birthplace of truly unique Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. wines.
Olive groves cover the remaining land for the production of a really stylish Extra Virgin Olive Oil, enjoyed around the world.
1000 years in Chianti
Along the gentle crest of the Panzano hill, immersed in the Chianti vineyards, La Marcellina farm has passionately cultivated vines and olives for years, in accordance with ancient traditions.
The farm suddenly appears at the end of a steep stony track, and two buildings can be seen at its centre: the cellar, built in recent times to satisfy the farm production requirements, and the house, whose origins date back to ancient – certainly Medieval – history. The original building with its little tower was a guardpost for the nearby castle. Writings from the period record that the family of Firidolfi da Panzano, feudal lords of the castle in the village of the same name, gave the land and house which today form La Marcellina farm to a certain Marcello, in recognition of services rendered to the Firidolfi. To register his acquired property, Marcello named it Marcellino: a subsequent transcription error transformed this into Marcellina, and the name has remained to this day.
When tourists and visitors arrive at La Marcellina to buy the products, they are met by a young family, husband, wife and three children, with the cheerful friendly faces typical of those who live in the Chianti area.
Sig. Fabio Castellacci and his wife Lianna tell us something of their story and the story of the business they run: the family from Panzano has owned the land for several decades. Sig. Fabio’s parents and brother have run another crafts-commercial business for many years and the family’s history is rather interesting. In the year 930, in Modena, an important family called the “AMICI” was experiencing a period of inexplicable historical decline and the various branches of the family left the city and spread throughout Europe, but with one particular feature: from that moment on they were no longer called “AMICI” but “CASTELLACCI”. Those who crossed the Appennines towards Tuscany, and on throughout the peninsula left a few representatives in Chianti, who settled first in Monteriggioni, near Siena, then in Panzano where they began to cultivate vines and olives. And after more than a thousand years in Chianti, Mr Fabio is their direct descendent, still managing the land and cellar alongside an oenologist and an agronomist, while Signora Lianna runs the farm.
Lianna Checchi, originally from Mugello, is a trained art teacher. Having tested her ability in a studio in Florence producing decorative glassware and mosaics, she decided to follow her husband into a “man’s” job. After a few years in Panzano their three heirs were born, Giovanni, Ginevra and Giacomo, and the whole family is now devoted to the quality of the farm products.
As well as Chianti Classico wines, the Extravirgin olive oil made from olives hand-picked in the traditional way, ground with stone and cold-pressed, is a feather in the company’s cap.
The Castellaccis are especially proud of the family traditions behind the decades of production: “working the vines and olives is an art and a long-established passion”, explains Sig. Fabio. And the genuine nature of the products originates from this love of the land, among the vineyards of a unique landscape, where time still follows nature’s slow rhythms. The traditional values, like a hereditary characteristic, have been handed down to the three children who, despite their tender ages, are highly interested in their family business, to the extent that they have involved their school in artistic and cultural activities linked to the countryside.
Varietals: 100% Sangiovese
Alcohol: 13.0% vol.
Net Dry Extract: 34.8 g/l