When you’ve been making wine for eight centuries you can get away with speaking confidently. For Lamberto Frescobaldi, head of the winemaking dynasty, 2018 is set to be a cracking vintage in Tuscany, and the 2015 vintage of wines from his new estate Tenuta Perano also delivers. Victor Smart was there at the launch of Frescobaldi’s seventh estate, tasted the two new wines and heard how Tenuta Perano is one of their most significant acquisitions to date.
Tenuta Perano is Frescobaldi’s attempt to “embrace the heart of Tuscany and the heart of Chianti Classico.”
Lamberto Frescobaldi is on good form. The head of the Florentine winemaking dynasty is in London to present the first wines from Tenuta Perano, his group’s new estate in Chianti. The Mayfair restaurant, the Ristorante Frescobaldi, epitomises relaxed elegance and the boss is talking animatedly about this year’s harvest: it has been very dry in recent months and the conditions are apparently superb. Wasn’t it too hot? No, he says, 2018 is looking perfect: expect a cracking vintage.
He is also very pleased with the two 2015 vintage reds from the Tenuta Perano estate that we are gathered to preview. Lamberto describes this seventh Frescobaldi estate as “one of our most significant acquisitions to date, as we look to embrace the heart of Tuscany and the heart of Chianti Classico.” If pedigree can achieve excellence, Lamberto Frescobaldi is uniquely well placed; his noble family has been making wine for at least eight centuries.
The new estate in the Gaiole commune in Chianti covers 250 hectares, of which 52 are planted with vines which surround a dedicated winery. The vineyard is planted on steep slopes that rise to an altitude of 500 metres.
The first, and cheaper, of the two wines is the 2015 Chianti Classico, paired at our dinner with primi piatti of tagliatelle with lamb ragu of pumpkin and chestnuts. The wine is 90 per cent Sangiovese and 10 per cent Canaiolo with a 13.5 per cent ABV and a trade price of £18.50. Those who remember back to 2014 will recall the wines used to be big, fat and powerful. But, explains, Lamberto, he decided to ‘forgo a Ferrari’ and buy a new press that is, apparently, especially expensive and capable. “This has changed the wines. You still have the complexity but there is much more, cleaner fruit.”
The red is positioned as refined and elegant, with floral aromas along with fruity notes – intense and persistent with a walnut note on the finish.
Arguably, more interesting – and better value – is the pricier wine, the Tenuta Perano 2015 Riserva. This comprises 95 per cent Sangiovese and five per cent Merlot. With an AVB of 14 per cent its trade price is £27 a bottle. This is quite a different style to most Chianti Classico offerings. There are floral aromatics of rosehip and violet. There is some black pepper and nutmeg and hints of tobacco… and a decent long finish. This is truly a worthy expression of the Sangiovese varietal and is paired with succulent wild boar stew with polenta. (Our host quips that hunting wild boar is the ‘winemaker’s revenge’.)
Both Chiantis are distributed by Hallgarten & Novum Wines. A third wine from the Chianti estate, a Gran Selezione, will be released next spring and will join around 25 wines on the firm’s list from the six other Frescobaldi estates.