Of the four estates that the Zonin family owns in Toscana, the magnificent Castello d’Albola property, 30 minutes from Sienna, was the first that the family purchased in 1979. Winemaking is supervised by one of Italy’s leading enologists, Franco Giacosa, and today the estate produces the family’s most acclaimed wines. Foremost Italian wine guide Gambero Rosso describes the wines as follows: “The style of the wines crafted on this Radda in Chianti estate brings together the salient features of this subzone, expressing balance and freshness along with a good measure of personality, all flawlessly put together.” Acciaolo is the winery’s flagship wine and consistently receives Gambero Rosso’s highest Tre Bicchieri award although the Chianti Classico Riserva has developed into an equally fine wine.
Donna Olimpia 1898
One of three wine estates owned by Guido Folonari, heir to one of the most historical Italian wine families, the Donna Olimpia 1898 property was named by Gherardo della Gherardesca to honor his wife, Olimpia Alliata, on their 25th wedding anniversary. The estate covers an area of about 60 hectares and is located in Bolgheri, stretching over a strip of land that runs for 167.8 kilometers along the Aurelia road. The terrain is cultivated with 40 hectares of the whites Vermentino, Viognier, and Petit Manseng and the reds Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, and Petit Verdot, planted under the direction of renowned viticulturist Prof. Attilio Scienza. The Bolgheri Rosso Superiore Millepassi, a Super Tuscan blend of Bordeaux grapes, is the winery’s most highly rated wine.
Italian Wines of the Month
Albola 2013 Chianti
A charming and versatile wine, the Albola Chianti will complement almost any dish from appetizers to pasta to roasted meats or poultry. A blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo, the wine is medium bodied with a translucent ruby color. The spicy cherry nose transfers to the palate where it caresses with a smooth and easy texture (13% alcohol)..
Albola 2013 Pinot Grigio, Friuli Aquileia
Although this Pinot Grigio is bottled under the Tuscan Albola label, the grapes are harvested from vineyards in Friuli, where Pinot Grigio reaches its highest expression. A pale straw color, the bouquet echoes citrus and minerals, which are evident on the palate. This clean and refreshing wine complements appetizers, salads, and grilled white fish. Serve chilled (12% alcohol).
Castello d’Albola 2007 Chianti Classico Riserva
This beautiful Chianti Classico is a sincere expression of its place, harvested from a 22 acre vineyard located on a steep slope in full sunlight. Just 10 percent of this delicious Chianti Classico was aged in French oak barrels and the rest in large Slavonia casks. The result is a properly aged wine without undue oak barrel flavors. The nose is complex with typical Sangiovese notes of cherry, spice, and earth that carry over to the balanced and elegant palate (13% alcohol).
Castello d’Albola 2010 Chianti Classico, Le Ellere
Most of the fruit for this 100% Sangiovese Chianti Classico was harvested from the five-acre Le Ellere vineyard planted on a steep and sun-exposed slope. In addition to these Le Ellere grapes, winemaker Alessandro Gallo adds fruit from another two-acre vineyard that provides spice and texture to the wine. Intensely fruity., the wine was aged for 12 months is French oak barrels, most of which were older so as to moderate wood flavors (13% alcohol).
Donna Olympia 1898 Vermentino 2012 Obizzo
The fine golden color of this Vermentino suggested the name Obizzo, a blond character in Dante Alighieri’s Divina Commedia. The wine has clean aromas that hint of citrus, flowers, and honey, which inspire a full and balanced palate with a long and pleasing finish. The wine was aged for five months on its lees in stainless steel tanks to enrich flavors and will complement roasted poultry and rabbit. Serve chilled.
Castello d’Albola 2009 Acciaiolo Toscana
This wine is named after the Acciaiuoli family from Florence, who built magnificent Castello d’Albola on the estate in the 15th Century. A blend of 50% Sangiovese from a seven-acre vineyard named after the founding Acciaiuoli family and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon from the 10-acre Vignale vineyard, this Super Tuscan reflects the deeper color of Cabernet Sauvignon, whose fragrance is apparent in the nose and on the palate but is muted by elegant Sangiovese. The wine was aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, half of which were new to accommodate the more vigorous tannins of Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromatic and concentrated, Acciaiolo is produced in very limited quantities (13.5% alcohol).
Donna Olympia 1898 Bolgheri Superiore, Millepassi
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Merlot, Millepassi is Italian for “one thousand steps,” which refers to an ancient Roman road crossing the estate. The wine shows deep color and an intense bouquet of berries, spice, and cocoa that contributes to a bold but balanced palate with a smooth texture and long finish. The wine has received top scores from wine writer James Suckling and Wine Enthusiast.
Italian Region of the Month
The name Toscana comes from the Latin Tuscia, which the Romans called the area to honor the Etruscans, who developed an advanced civilization there before the Romans subjugated them. The Etruscans were wine makers, but the Romans preferred stronger southern wines. Thus the Etruscan wine trade faded until monks revived viticulture in the region. Wine became a daily beverage in the medieval cities of Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, and Arezzo. During the Renaissance, which began in Florence, the wines of Toscana were transported throughout Europe. The noble red grape variety of Toscana is Sangiovese. Although many clones of Sangiovese exist, the superior ones are among the world’s finest vines, such as Montalcino’s Brunello, Chianti’s Sangioveto, and Montepulciano’s Prugnolo Gentile. Among other fine Sangiovese based wines are Rosso di Montalcino, Vino Nobile, and Carmignano. Tuscan wines also include the “Super Tuscans,” which are100% Cabernet or Sangiovese-Cabernet blends. In the government system of laws that regulate wine production, Toscana boasts 11 DOCG areas, 39 DOC areas, and 6 ITG.