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Decanter August

It's that time again. The August 2020 edition of Decanter (www.decanter.com) is upon us.

Robert Parker (Jnr) is a knowledgeable and influential fella in the wine world, I grant you, but it's not really one of my favourite Decanter covers. Give me the morning mist rising from a Serralunga vineyard - or a Riojan sunset - over this one any day. 

We'll not be focusing too much on the works, view and opinions of Mr Parker. Rather, we are all about the main (=only) panel review this month, which is Provence Rosé. And, naturally, we've the big noises in/from that panel test.

We'll be back with the full story in just a moment.

The wines featured this month in Decanter - and that we list - appear at the foot of this page. The reviews for each wine  (where we've been able to show them) appear on each product page.

 ___

Let's just get this out of the way...

Decanter readers and Exel customers will doubtless recall that this Rosé Review is far from rare. The last two August editions have trained their focus on non-Provence rosé (2018) and Provence rosé (2019) <andon each occasion, we offered the the top dog>.

The very keen-of memory may also recall that we spend a few paragraphs each August dispelling the ever-hard-to shake shibboleth regarding rosé. That is, the one that baldly states that All Rosé is Rubbish. Even - perhaps especially - among serious wine fans, it can be hard to get away from this view.

We're not going to (much) retread that ground. Those articles linked above much cover the topic. That view is understandable, to a degree: there's a lot of impression-damaging poor rosé out there, just as the heaps of bad Cava and Chianti drag those categories down. But there is also plenty of poor red and white out there, and very few will say that all white or red wine is rubbish. Least of all Mr Parker.

It comes down to how it's made, in part, as this fine article explains.

Even then, that's only part of the story: it's quite possible to make a bad rosé with a superior method, and vice versa. Indeed, quite why the world is so set against blending grapes to produce rosé, when it's de rigeur - nay essential - for good Bordeaux and Rioja (red and white) and perfectly allowed for rosé Champagne(!), I will never quite grasp. That said, the much-favoured pressurage direct method (see that article link above) is most at home in Provence, and lies behind some part of Provence's dominance of quality rosé-making. 

The more major part lies in this: it's what Provence does. Maybe it was once, but (only?) in Provence, rosé is not a side-issue, afterthought or by-product, as it remains (perhaps understandably) in Rioja, Bordeaux, Ribera, Languedoc, the Loire, Tuscany and many such others. Rather - with the possible exception of the great reds of Bandol - rosé is Provence's raison d'être. The grand vin of most upper-end Provence producers is a rosé; indeed, many have all manner of additional, lower rosé tiers, rather than rosé merely being the lowest level. The effort, the love, the dedication ... in Provence, these are invariably channelled to towards the Pink Stuff.

 

Provence rosé - the basics

Provence is split into 8 appellations, totalling a little under 30,000 hectares of vineyard (half that of Rioja, for comparison) and around 700 domaines. Of these, Côtes de Provence, the huge area out to the east, accounts for more than two-thirds of both that area and those producers. It is something of a mishmash, a catch-all zone, featuring a very wide spectrum of producres and quality levels. Bandol remains, overall, even for rosé, the most respected of the appellations (excluding, perhaps, the micro-AOC of Palette and the famed Chateau Simone). 

photo courtesy of Decanter, www.decanter.com

Cotes de Provence has a rather curious, historically-determined cru classé system (à la Bordeaux). As Decanter rather well explain it, "There are 18 estates in the Côtes de Provence classed as cru classé – a designation created in 1955, as much as 22 years before the appellation itself – their reputation based on history rather than commonality of terroir". We'll be encountering that again in a moment.

Grapes can be almost anything; they do, however, need to be red to get around that whole taboo of blending for colour. Which means, largely, Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, with Cab Sauv and Mourvedre getting a look in where they fare well.

Provence rosés tend to be dry, in keeping with the modern idiom of white wine. That said, a few (although, to be clear, not those featured below) can push towarrds 5-10 g/litre of residual sugar and off-dry country, for a point of difference and to satisfy some markets (largely Asia).

Finally, to age: There's a general thinking that rosé needs drinking up young, and that a vintage that isn't the last calendar year means you're into a wine already in decline. But, again, as with whites, it really depends what it is: after all, top Alsace Riesling and IGT Pinot Grigio are different beasts on that count (and, indeed, many others). Many better Provence rosés are exposed to oxidative winemaking (eg ageing in old oak), bestowing them with both a more gastronomic/food-friendly nature and some unexpected longevity.

 

The panel revew

Not before time, you might argue, we turn to what the panel revealed.

A whopping 178 wines went under the microscope. <That's a lot for any Decanter panel. I quite like a good rosé , me, but I'm glad I wasn't a judge of that little lot>.

Of those, although the judges were impressed with the tasting overall, only 37 (~20%) cleared 90 points. Of those, 4 were rated Outstanding (95+ points) and one even hit the rare and heady heights of Exceptional (98+ points) <NB: there are typically only around half a dozen such highly-rated wines in Decanter panels in any given year>.

We offer one of the Outstandings and the Exceptional (albeit this one only in limited amounts): both are from the same producer.

 

The top wines

That producer is Clos Cibonne. They are situated in Le Pradet, between Toulon and Hyères. That's in that mishmash appellation, Côtes de Provence. What's more, they are one of those 18 crus classes, a distinction won by Cibonne back its its initial heyday.

Everything is different about Cibonne. Not for them, standard grape varieties or standard winemaking. They are all about the unusual red grape of Tibouren (so unusual, it even fails to feature in Oz Clark's mega-compendium, the excellent Grapes & Wines). Jancis describes it (to the extent that she does) as, "a Provençal rarity making earthy rosés with a genuine scent of the garrigue, the herby scrub of southern France". We gave it a whirl by trying Cibonne's red (see below) and, for us, in that format, it emerges as something of, we would say, "a Mediterranean Pinot Noir, with a hint of Gamay and/or something a bit Tuscan".

Cibonne then take their Tibouren (+10% Grenache) and go all old-school with it. After harvest, the wines are fermented in stainless steel, blended and then (and this is 'the thing') it is aged under fleurette (= a thin veil of yeast; this is very similar that is encountered in fino sherry and Manzanilla, the flor yeast) for 12 months in 100-year-old (ie very used), 1,500-litre old oak foudres.

The result is a unique (or, at least, very unusual) style of rosé, and it's one that's taken the Decanter panel (and, perhaps more sceptically, us too) by storm.

Let's do the 'mere' 95-point Outstanding first. It's £22.50 from us (you won't find that elsewhere). That's no giveway rosé, we know, but you are into something quite unusual and special here. It's Cibonne's Cuvée Tradition Tibouren rosé 2018. Beyond what what's written above on what the grape is and how Cibonne handle it, there's no additional trickery to reveal. 

Here it is, with its Decanter review:

 

You get the picture. Decanter really rather liked it.

It was also subjected to the Exel test, just yesterday, at a (single-household) Pretty Perfect Perthshire Picnic by the Tay (inc cheese, pork pie, fish paté, etc). The colour is definitely unusual - it really is a most unusual salmon-y orange. I'd expected the oak ageing/holding to add some greater oxidative hint to the nose and palate, but it is quite the opposite (the fleurette does that). It bursts with fruit; we 'got' the orange, apricot and peach (especially) and some of the dried/crystallised fruits. We didn't really get much red fruit angle here (unusual for a rosé). We also didn't get the kerosene hit (that's definitely fanciful!), the cumin or the phenolic finish (though it is definitely long and intense, especially for a rosé).

I'd also take issue with that Drink window, too. There's definitely more longevity in this wine than just 2021. That feels like a bit of Copy-and-Paste at Decanter.

<our tasting: also of the Tradition red, see below. Stemless glasses used owing to high winds and a wobbly table.>

In sum, it's a great and unusual rosé. As stated above, spending £20+ on a rosé is not for everyone. I would suggest two things, however:

  • if you are OK with spending £20 on a well-made white, a well-made rosé is just the same animal, just made with red grapes; indeed, there are plenty of £30/£40+ whites made far less well than this;

and

  • if you are going to spend £20 on a rosé, this is as good a choice as we've ever found yet. Frankly, it leaves Whispering Angel trailing in its wake.

All of which takes us to Cibonne's Exceptional 98-pointer. Normally, such a wine would be the main focus of one of these blogs. And there's little doubting that this is an epic wine. But, if you want Exceptional, it'll need paying for this time. It's a £47 bottle of rosé (and markedly more from other stockists), so the fanfare is a little more muted than for some Exceptionals. But we also know just how much some Exel customers just have to try these very-top-scorers.

We've never seen an Exceptional rosé (under panel test) before, and have often wondered what one would look like. And now we know:

It's Cibonne's Cuvée (Hommage à Marius). It's a 2017, reflecting that the winemaking and élevage has taken an extra year to get it here. Those 24 months in the big foudres are part of the story of how it differs from the Tradition. Much more comes down to it being made with only the best grapes from the best plots, the best pressings, a super-slow fermentation, the best barrels, the most care etc. Whether all of that justifies a doubling of the price, we'll leave to others to decide. Much of the pricing comes down to scarcity, supply-and-demand: only a couple of barrels of this are produced, it is a rare beast indeed.

We can repeat some of the above review in bold italics - "concentrated, complex, richly textured", "delicious and deeply flavoured" - that sort of thing, but the review again does the job; it's quite emphatic as to what a fine wine this is. We'll confess we've not tried 'The Marius': it's still on the way over from Toulon, and, in any event, a bottle we drink is one we can't let you take. Just for once, there's no Exel wisdom (or otherwise) or artful photos of the Marius.

Also, while we're here, we'd just mention Cibonne's Cuvée Tradition Tibouren red (2019). This, we did taste, as per the picnic photos. This, we really liked, all marketing aside. It's not in Decanter. And for sure, it'll never feature in a Decanter panel review of Tibouren, given that it's famously about the only red Tibouren made. We're offering it at £22.50, the same as the Tradition rosé. It's very attractive: Gamay, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese fans will all find something here curiously familiar. Yes, the inevitable herby/heathery garrigue hints are here, and they really work in this lighter style of wine (personally, I feel they get lost in Mourvedre and Syrah).

There aren't many reviews for this oddball, although Jancis Robinson (herself, see www.JancisRobinson.com) in 2016 gave the 2014 vintage 16.5 points (a fine score for her) and commented "Warm bricks on the nose. Red spices. And masses of rose-scented fruit. Tannins quite noticeable, but a real mouthful of fruit with a strong personality. Fascinating! Tastes as though there will be quite a future for this wine", and wrote "very fragrant indeed. Sweet, flattering fruit but in very gentle register – rather like roses in aroma. Then real freshness and great light tannin balance on the finish. Lovely wine. Real charm. It doesn’t taste anything like as strong as 14%. Very pretty. Though certainly not insistent. It could easily be overlooked" of the 2011 in 2013, again rating it at 16.5/20.

  

Availability and delivery

We have a small stock (36 bottles) of the Tradition rosé ariving on Wednesday or Thursday (1st/2nd July). These will be used, first-come-first served, for the first orders we receive.

The rest of the Cibonne wines arrive on the 13th July (give or take a day). We'll speed these away to you as soon as we have them.

Please note on the Exceptional Marius: we only have a very few cases. We're limiting these to 3 bottles per customer. If you'd like more, take what you can now, and please email us on communications@exelwines.co.uk to let us know how many more you seek! We will do what we can; promises, though, we cannot make. 

 

Also

We (deliberately) don't offer many of the other scoring Provence rosés. Experience shows that, in the face of a 95-pointer, nobody really wants the 90- and 91-pointers.

We do, however,  make mention of the Domaine La Suffrene Bandol rosé Tradition 2018. The 2019 of that wine is rated in this panel (91 points) ("Enriching blackcurrant, floral and fresh thyme aromas; glossy and slick with mouthwatering orange peel acidity and a succulent texture"). And we can offer you the 2019, if you'd really like it (send us an email or give us a call). But we really offer the 2018, winner of a Best in Show at last year's DWWAs (repeating the performance of the 2017 vintage at DWWA18). This rosé benefits from a little time in bottle, and we respectfully recommend the slightly older vintage.

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Clos Cibonne, Cuvee Tradition Tibouren rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 (1x75cl)

 ** OWING TO HIGH DEMAND, ALL STOCK IS NOW DEPLETED. WE WILL SEE MORE STOCK ARRIVE AROUND 7th TO 10th AUGUST. **

** PLEASE EMAIL US ON communications@exelwines.co.uk IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN OUR WAITING LIST FOR THIS WINE. **

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2020 edition panel tasting of Provence Rosé (see blue link below)

 

Clos Cibonne, Cuvee Tradition Tibouren (rose) - August 2020 Decanter review

"If you are looking for a rosé with personality and grace, Clos Cibonne offers both in spades. The Roux family specializes in Tibouren, a rare variety also found in Liguria, where it’s called Rossese di Dolceacqua. Vinified in stainless steel, then aged under a layer of yeast (à la Sherry) in old 500-liter foudres, it makes for a substantial, complex rosé in Cuvée Tradition: It’s dark and earthy in feel, suffused with flavors that range from tangy citrus to woodsy spice, orange zest and fresh, fruity mushrooms. Delicious now, it has the structure to gain more complexity with age. 93 points." Wine & Spirits.

 

The property of Clos Cibonne dates back to 1797 when the Roux Family purchased it from Jean Baptiste de Cibon, captain of the royal marines of Louis XVI. In 1930, André Roux modernized the winery in order to pursue his goal of producing top quality wines at the estate. This revival ignited an era of fame for the rosés of Clos Cibonne.

In the 1980s, hard times fell upon the estate and it drifted without clear direction until Bridget, André Roux’s granddaughter, and her husband, Claude Deforge, took it over in the late 1990s. Their immediate goal was to bring the estate back to its former grandeur. By renovating the cellars while preserving the tradition of aging in old foudres, the family began to re-establish the vaunted reputation of the domaine. Thanks to their effort, Clos Cibonne once again lives up to its standing as one of the 18 Crus Classés in Côtes de Provence.

NB: There are 18 estates in the Côtes de Provence classed as Cru Classé – a designation created in 1955, as much as 22 years before the appellation itself (!), their reputation based on history rather than commonality of terroir

The heart of the estate is their Tibouren. André Roux was a great fan of this native grape variety and believed it to be the ideal grape for the region. As part of his revitalisation, he replaced all of the estate’s Mourvèdre with Tibouren. Tibouren had been in drastic decline since the onset of the phylloxera blight. An ancient Mediterranean variety reputedly favoured by Julius Caesar, it was transported over the Alps by Napoleon’s troops and took root in Liguria as Rossese. Here in Provence, it makes thirst-quenching, smoky, sapid pinks, and earthy, red-fruited fine reds. 

Clos Cibonne soon became synonymous with Tibouren and received special permission from the AOC to list the grape on its labels.

The estate’s 15 hectares of vineyards are located a mere 800 meters from the coast and are surrounded by hillsides in the base of a bowl that faces the sea. This topography creates air circulation that allows for perfect maturation of the grapes and helps to reduce vintage variation.

Organic production, albeit without certification yet.

After harvest, the wines - and this applies to this, the Cuvee Tradition rosé - are fermented in stainless steel and then aged under fleurette (a thin veil of yeast) for 12 months in 100-year-old, 1,500-litre old oak foudres.

Clos Cibonne thus crafts a wine that is completely its own through combining a rare grape with a unique aging process.

For more/all the winemaking detail, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the Clos itself; it does feature some interesting translation. It features the 2017 bottle in image; the fiche applies to all vintages.

Clos Cibonne, Cuvee Tradition Tibouren rose - fiche technique

90% Tibouren, 10% Grenache.

Salmon-orange colour. A smooth, spicy, gastronomic rosé with some lovely texture and structure, clean fruit avours of orange peel and peach, good acidity and balance, with a long-lasting finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£22.50

Clos Cibonne, Cuvee Hommage a Marius (rose), Cotes de Provence 2017 (1x75cl)

** OWING TO HIGH DEMAND, ALL STOCK IS NOW DEPLETED. WE WILL SEE MORE STOCK ARRIVE AROUND 7th TO 10th AUGUST. **

** PLEASE EMAIL US ON communications@exelwines.co.uk IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN OUR WAITING LIST FOR THIS WINE. **

Awarded 98 points and very rare Exceptional status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2020 edition panel tasting of Provence Rosé (see blue link below)

 

Clos Cibonne, Cuvee Hommage a Marius (rose) - August 2020 Decanter review

The property of Clos Cibonne dates back to 1797 when the Roux Family purchased it from Jean Baptiste de Cibon, captain of the royal marines of Louis XVI. In 1930, André Roux modernized the winery in order to pursue his goal of producing top quality wines at the estate. This revival ignited an era of fame for the rosés of Clos Cibonne.

In the 1980s, hard times fell upon the estate and it drifted without clear direction until Bridget, André Roux’s granddaughter, and her husband, Claude Deforge, took it over in the late 1990s. Their immediate goal was to bring the estate back to its former grandeur. By renovating the cellars while preserving the tradition of aging in old foudres, the family began to re-establish the vaunted reputation of the domaine. Thanks to their effort, Clos Cibonne once again lives up to its standing as one of the 18 Crus Classés in Côtes de Provence.

NB: There are 18 estates in the Côtes de Provence classed as Cru Classé – a designation created in 1955, as much as 22 years before the appellation itself (!), their reputation based on history rather than commonality of terroir

The heart of the estate is their Tibouren. André Roux was a great fan of this native grape variety and believed it to be the ideal grape for the region. As part of his revitalisation, he replaced all of the estate’s Mourvèdre with Tibouren. Tibouren had been in drastic decline since the onset of the phylloxera blight. An ancient Mediterranean variety reputedly favoured by Julius Caesar, it was transported over the Alps by Napoleon’s troops and took root in Liguria as Rossese. Here in Provence, it makes thirst-quenching, smoky, sapid pinks, and earthy, red-fruited fine reds. 

Clos Cibonne soon became synonymous with Tibouren and received special permission from the AOC to list the grape on its labels.

The estate’s 15 hectares of vineyards are located a mere 800 meters from the coast and are surrounded by hillsides in the base of a bowl that faces the sea. This topography creates air circulation that allows for perfect maturation of the grapes and helps to reduce vintage variation.

Organic production, albeit without certification yet.

For more/all winemaking detail, especially for what sets it apart from its Clos Cibonne stablemate(s), see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the Clos itself; it does feature some interesting translation.

Clos Cibonne, Cuvee Hommage a Marius rose - fiche technique

90% Tibouren, 10% Grenache.

Onion skin with copper and amber highlights. Elegant nose combining aromas of lily, lemon, pear, orange and almond. In the mouth, a rosé of character where express the same flavors fond and persistent with a very exotic finish of honey, gingerbread, slightly buttered, woody and spicy. In the finish, very nice roundness on the palate and lingering aromas. 

ABV = 13.0%.

£47.00

Clos Cibonne, Cuvee Tradition Tibouren rouge, Cotes de Provence 2019 (1x75cl)

** PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS THE RED VERSION OF THE HIGHLY-RATED ROSE IN THE AUGUST 2010 edition of DECANTER (and not the rose itself, despite being the same price, having a similar name and a similar bottle and label!) **

The property of Clos Cibonne dates back to 1797 when the Roux Family purchased it from Jean Baptiste de Cibon, captain of the royal marines of Louis XVI. In 1930, André Roux modernized the winery in order to pursue his goal of producing top quality wines at the estate. This revival ignited an era of fame for the rosés of Clos Cibonne.

In the 1980s, hard times fell upon the estate and it drifted without clear direction until Bridget, André Roux’s granddaughter, and her husband, Claude Deforge, took it over in the late 1990s. Their immediate goal was to bring the estate back to its former grandeur. By renovating the cellars while preserving the tradition of aging in old foudres, the family began to re-establish the vaunted reputation of the domaine. Thanks to their effort, Clos Cibonne once again lives up to its standing as one of the 18 Crus Classés in Côtes de Provence.

NB: There are 18 estates in the Côtes de Provence classed as Cru Classé – a designation created in 1955, as much as 22 years before the appellation itself (!), their reputation based on history rather than commonality of terroir

The heart of the estate is their Tibouren. André Roux was a great fan of this native grape variety and believed it to be the ideal grape for the region. As part of his revitalisation, he replaced all of the estate’s Mourvèdre with Tibouren. Tibouren had been in drastic decline since the onset of the phylloxera blight. An ancient Mediterranean variety reputedly favoured by Julius Caesar, it was transported over the Alps by Napoleon’s troops and took root in Liguria as Rossese. Here in Provence, it makes thirst-quenching, smoky, sapid pinks, and earthy, red-fruited fine reds. 

Clos Cibonne soon became synonymous with Tibouren and received special permission from the AOC to list the grape on its labels.

The estate’s 15 hectares of vineyards are located a mere 800 meters from the coast and are surrounded by hillsides in the base of a bowl that faces the sea. This topography creates air circulation that allows for perfect maturation of the grapes and helps to reduce vintage variation.

Organic production, albeit without certification yet.

For more/all the winemaking detail, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the Clos itself; it does feature some interesting translationIt features the 2017 bottle in image; the fiche applies to all vintages.

Clos Cibonne, Cuvee Tradition Tibouren rouge - fiche technique

90% Tibouren, 10% Grenache.

For a tasting not, see link above.

ABV = 14.5%.

£22.50

Domaine La Suffrene Bandol Rose Tradition 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

When Cédric Gravier took over the family operation in 1996, the production - which until then had been sent to the winemaking cooperative - received a new lease of life with the addition of a producing cellar. The domaine extends over 60 hectares of the Bandol AOC and includes a number of varied plots, located for the most part in the villages of La Cadière and le Castellet.

This wine (a blend of 40% Mourvèdre, 30% Cinsault, 20% Grenache 20%, 10% Carignan) hails from from a terroir of calcareous clay, typical of Bandol, its quality partially explained by the low yield of just 40 hl/ha.

Harvested during the month of September, in line with the ripeness of each variety. The grapes were selected depending on their condition and underwent skin contact (maceration pelliculaire) at a low temperature before being pressed. The juice, after settling, was placed in a stainless steel vat for a period of 15 days between 18°C and 20°C before racking. The juice was fined in early November then re-racked and assembled in January. The final assemblage is stocked in concrete vats until bottling after filtration from March to July.

This is a Bandol rose of both freshness and subtlety. It has a a clear and shiny robe (salmon-coloured), a delicate nose of candied citrus fruit and spices and a surprisingly full-bodied, balanced and fresh impact on the palate.

ABV = 13.5%.

£18.60

Tenuta di Bibbiano Chianti Classico 2018 (1x75cl)

** NOW IN STOCK! **

PLEASE SEE ALSO THE FULL CHIANTI CLASSICO RANGE WE TAKE FROM BIBBIANO (all with Decanter scores).

___

Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) at their Chianti Classico & Brunello Value Picks Tasting in Feb 2020 (see blue link below).

Tenuta Di Bibbiano Chianti Classico 2018 - Feb 2020 Decanter review

"The 2018 Chianti Classico reveals the promise of the excellent 2018 vintage in Tuscany. It shows good concentration with appealing complexity of dark red plum, dried cherry, underbrush, and a hint of dried Tuscan herbs. It’s bright on the attach and very fresh on the palate. A 100% Sangiovese fermented stainless steel with malolactic occurring in cement. This wine is a blend of grapes from both sides of the estate, mostly Sangiovese but with a bit of Colorino, too. 91 points", International Wine Review (reviewer, Donald Winkler), June 2020, full article here

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Founded in 1865, Bibbiano is located in the historiic Chianti region, in the municipality of Castellina-in-Chianti, overlooking the Elsa Valley towards the castle of Monteriggioni. Today’s owners, Tommaso and Federico Marrocchesi Marzi, are the fifth generation. Surrounded by vast olive groves consisting of over three thousand trees, Bibbiano’s vineyards cover an area of about 25 hectares, at an altitude ranging from 270 to 300 meters, with enviable exposure and excellent microclimate. The vineyards consist of plants of Sangiovese and Sangiovese Grosso grapes as well as a smaller quantity of Colorino.

Tenuta di Bibbiano was the longest standing consultancy of famed winemaker Giulio Gambelli, also famous for his long relationships with Montevertine and Case Basse di Soldera. Their decades-long association with Gambelli, under whom Bibbiano’s current winemaker trained, still lives on in their traditional approach to winemaking and their commitment to 100%-pure Sangiovese wines. Their harvest is still conducted manually and grapes carefully selected, with different vinification procedures according to the position of the slopes on which the grapes were grown. They are committed to replanting vineyards using wood poles and columns and by planting only autochthonous grapes. Bibbiano is committed to promoting conservative renovation of the farms, in order to not lose their architectural and human heritage and its very ancient history. The estate was certified organic in 2011.

Tommaso Marrocchesi Marzi is a leading voice in the push to establish formal village appellations in Chianti Classico and is a great supporter of the new Gran Selezione category, which requires wines labeled as such to be made exclusively from estate fruit and bottled at the origin. With the 2014 vintage, Bibbiano raised their Montornello Riserva to a Gran Selezione, lowering production significantly. The Montornello, now a limited production single-vineyard Riserva, comes from the northern face of the estate where calcareous clay and stony alberese soils give the wine its distinctive acidity and red-fruited profile. This wine, the Capannino, continues as a Gran Selezione Riserva, featuring the dense structure and rich, black fruits that result from these reddish-brown, clay-rich soils planted exclusively to Sangiovese Grosso. There is also - and this - a Chianti Classico Riserva, made from exclusively from the Sangiovese da Chianti clone grown on the Montornello side of the property, selected after the very best bunches are picked for the Montornello single-vineyard bottling.

The Annata (or 'standard' Chianti Classico) is produced using grapes cultivated on both exposures of the property, across a vineyard area of 30 hectares including all the estates's vineyards in Bibbiano and Castellina-in-Chianti.

The 2018 harvest started on September 13th.

Fermentation was for 16 days in stainless steel. Ageing was for 12 month in concrete vats.

100% Sangiovese. 

Brilliant ruby red. A very floral, aromatic nose, especialy of red cherry and wild berries. Fresh and persistent flavours, with lively acidity.

ABV = 13.5%.

£16.95
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