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2013 Chianti Classico Riserva, Montornello, Tenuta di Bibbiano
Located near Castellina-in-Chianti on calcareous clay & alberese stony soils in the Chianti Classico wine zone, Bibbiano is a noble 220ha wine estate (of which 25ha is under vine) owned by the Marrocchesi Marzi family since 1865, but whose history goes back to 1089.
Fast forward to 1942 when Sangiovese guru Giulio Gambelli arrived at Bibbiano, advising Pier Tommaso Marzi and bringing with him the high quality clone of Sangiovese Grosso from Montalcino (as good plant material was hard to come by in those days). Between the '50s & '70s the estate was restructured under Signor Gambelli's guidance. The first vinification took place in 1969 and the inaugural commercial bottling in 1970.
Since the 1990s, fifth generation Marrocchesi Marzi, Tommaso and his brother Federico, are now at the helm. In 2001 Giulio Gambelli introduced one of his 'disciples', Signor Stefano Porcinai to take over the reins at Bibbiano; Signor Porcinai had played a important role as agronomist for the Consorzio Chianti Classico, notably during their recent Project 2000 that identified the best qualitative clones. In fact since 2000 Bibbiano has renovated almost 60% of their vineyards to densities of 5,500 plants/ha; trellised in cordone speronata.
Vinification is traditionally long in cement vats followed by approx 6 months ageing (for the Chianti Classico) in increasingly large slavonian botte. Production/anno is approx 45,000 bottles of Chianti Classico. They also produce a superior cuvee called 'Montornello'. Bibbiano's wines are classically structured, pale in colour, perfumed and fine-boned; one of today's finest producers of Sangiovese wines.
It is a high yielding, late ripening grape that performs best on well-drained calcareous soils on south-facing hillsides. For years it was blighted by poor clonal selection and massive overcropping - however since the 1980s the quality of Sangiovese-based wines has rocketed upwards and they are now some of the most sought after in the world.
It produces wines with pronounced tannins and acidity, though not always with great depth of colour, and its character can vary from farmyard/leather nuances through to essence of red cherries and plums. In the 1960s the advent of Super Tuscans saw bottlings of 100% Sangiovese wines, as well as the introduction of Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blends, the most famous being Tignanello.
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