Wine of the Week: Brolio Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. Riserva

This week’s wine of the week is one I tasted back in October, Brolio Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. Riserva 2010.

I am fortunate enough to be invited to a variety of lunches, events and trips by other public relations companies, importers, brokers and the like. I so appreciate all of these invitations that I try to write about them but usually it takes me much longer than I expect. This particular lunch took place at the Lincoln thanks to the fabulous Tony DiDio. I met Tony at a Wildman tasting earlier last year and have had the pleasure of dining with him and wine producers a couple of times. The events are always very elegant, well put together and relaxing which I greatly appreciate. The wines, more to the point, are usually exquisite. This time was no exception.

The lunch was held for the Barone Ricasoli winery. We tasted the Brolio Chianti Classico from 2011, the Brolio Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. 2010 Riserva and the Castello di Brolio from 2007 and 2010. We finished the meal with the Castello di Brolio Vin Santo 2005.

Chianti is undergoing a transformation, as we all know, with the addition of the Gran Selezione and the call for more definition of the Sub-zones. I’m not sure how I feel about that from a consumer’s point of view. As a wine geek, I get it and I applaud the linking of wines to specific terroirs but I am not sure it will translate into sales that at the end of the day, make everyone happy, and help the business to flourish. Here’s an interesting blog post on the subject.

Barone Ricasoli is perhaps the definition of Chianti. As we know, the recipe for Chianti was first created in 1872 by Barone Bettino Ricasoli in a famous letter to a Professor Cesare Studiati at the Università di Pisa where he suggested the use of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Malvasia, in differing proportions, according to what they brought to the wine. The Castello di Brolio became a part of the Ricasoli family properties in 1141. The family itself is much older and the first records of their existence date back to the 7th century.

Wine notes –

Brolio Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. Riserva 2010 is made from 80% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is vinified in stainless steel at controlled temperatures with 12-16 days of skin contact. It spends 16 months in large barriques and tonneaux and a further three months in the bottle. It is a perfect example of a Chianti with cherry notes, dusty tannins, earthy flavors and a hint of wild flowers. It also showed mineral notes, which I favor and spice. It was harmonious and long on the finish. A beautiful wine it had me dreaming of Florence in one sip.

Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico D.O.C.G. 2010 made from Sangiovese with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is vinified in stainless steel at controlled temperature and spends 7-9 days on the skins. It ages in barriques for 18 months. The wine had soft plummy aromas and spices, with a hint of spice, cedar and earthy notes. It was balanced and harmonious with supple tannins and a long finish.

Castello di Brolio Vin Santo is made from Malvasia del Chianti, production is done in the traditional method with grapes left to dry for three months. The grapes then ferment for 24 months in wood casks.

Apparently, 2010 had a cold and snowy winter with a rainy spring and a hot summer. The weather in September and October was also somewhat variable. All three wines were real keepers for me.


  1. Susannah – I really enjoy this post because I really enjoy the Brolio (and most of the Barone Ricasoli’s wines). Both its price point and its quality are more than notable. I met Francesco Ricasoli at VinItaly a few years back, my first introduction to his family’s wines. I needed you to translate. ;^)

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