Spotlight on Sangiovese: Fattoria Bibbiani Poggio Vignoso Chianti 2009
Brunello di Montalcino receives the high scores and big praise when it comes to Sangiovese. There are super tuscans and Chianti Classico riservas scrambling close behind Brunello for price and prestige. But what of the lowly Chianti? All but forgotten by many wine collectors, Chianti (sans classico and sans riserva) is yet consumed in vast quantities by a wide variety of consumers. My biggest problem with basic Chianti has always been its inconsistency in both style and quality.
Many Chiantis are simple, ‘rustic’ wines with few charms and high levels of brett. Others are overwrought wines with a considerable dollop of the international Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I find most of the latter Chiantis to be boring wines with little ability to pair with food. Given the sheer scope of the region, however, it is possible to find small producers making traditional Sangiovese well. Enter Fattoria Bibbiani.
An Importing Venture Worth Noting
This wine is brought into North America by the superb but rarely written about “Small Vineyards” importer, working out of Seattle. Luckily for British Columbians, some of these wines are being brought into the province. Small Vineyards focuses on very small production wines made traditionally with biodiversity in the vineyards and minimal levels of interference in the cellar. I’ve attended a tasting put on by Small Vineyards in the past and can say that all of the wines I tasted then were charming, fairly priced and very food friendly.
Fattoria Bibbiani is an old school wine estate, with a history of at least 1300 years. It has been with the Donato family for over 150 and is located 20 kilometres west of Florence on the bank of the Arno river. This is an interesting winery that has championed such projects as varietally bottling a unique clone of Sangiovese (Pulignano) that only exists on their estate. Bibbiani makes their Chianti with neutral methods, seeking simple purity of fruit. Techniques include: spurred cordon trained vines, stainless steel maceration and fermentation, and Slavonian oak aging in 10 year old barrels. The soils are limestone, clay and sandstone. Production is about 5,000 cases.
Abundant, easily expressible cherry and strawberry fruit elide attempts at complexification. This is charming, free wheeling wine: clean, pure, simple and delicious. It also happens to be rockin’ tasty with pretty sweet fruit, leather and medium body. Perfectly suited for high acid pastas, pizza and anything with tomatos. In many wine lover’s search for greatness, they can miss the inimitable basic purity of a wine like this Chianti.
13% ABV. 85% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, 5% Malvasia.
Very Good+ and Highly Recommended Value
$27 at Everything Wine