Swiss-born Monika Bettschart and Thomas Bär moved to Chianti Classico in the early 1990s, and today the couple farms two sites in Castellina and Panzano respectively. Vineyards in the Panzano sub zone are located in the celebrated Conca d’Oro site. This property, called La Valletta, also includes luxury accommodations in a beautifully restored stone farmhouse set among cypress trees and vineyards. I tasted these wines with Mr. Bär in Rome and was impressed by the unexpected balance of the two wines from the difficult 2014 vintage (a Sangiovese/Merlot and Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blend respectively). However, the highlight of the tasting was the single-vineyard 2013 Pecchia that shows Sangiovese from Panzano in all its glory.
GAGLIOLE 2014 – 90 points
“The 2014 Gagliole is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. That percentage of Cabernet is expected to be further reduced in future vintages starting in 2015. My feeling is that the blending percentages work very well, especially in a cooler vintage such as 2014 that delivers delicate aromas and leaner texture overall. That small component of Cabernet Sauvignon brings balance to the wine and adds weight and texture to the finish. Bright fruit nuances give the wine a lively and cheerful profile.”
VALLETTA 2014 – 91 points
“The 2014 Valletta is a 50/50 blend of Sangiovese from vineyards in Castellina and Merlot from Panzano. The blend is aged in oak for 18 months. This is a beautiful wine with generous fruit tones. Cherry and dried raspberry are protagonists and the wine is further fleshed out by savory touches of spice and cured leather. The primary fruit is given ample room to shine through and the mouthfeel is linear and fresh.”
PECCHIA 2013 – 95 points
“The single-vineyard 2013 Pecchia represents a tremendous effort. Fruit is sourced from a two-hectare plot in Panzano in Chianti. This wine is only produced in the best vintages. The 2010 vintage was the last time we saw this wine and it will appear again in 2015. The bouquet is bright and buoyant with crisp, almost crunchy characteristics. The wine is beautifully balanced and tonic with carefully measured layers of wild berry, cassis and spice that contribute to the wine’s overall complexity and elegance. This is a beautiful red wine from Tuscany.”