The Chianti Riserva is 100% Sangiovese from old vines (30 years), lending concentration and density. A welcome diversion from the textbook Chianti of the past, this is a surprising wine of personality and character with rich, saturated color and aromas of dark fruit, leather, wet earth and spicy overtones of cinnamon and clove. This Chianti is aged in large oak casks, imparting a broad and bold structure, yet the wine remains silky and aromatically precise at the same time.
This is nothing like the textbook Chianti you might be familiar with. The Casanova della Spinetta 2013 Chianti Riserva is an inspired rendition with a surprising level of personality and pedigree. Fruit is sourced from old vines (30-year-old plants) and the resulting concentration and density is evident. The wine opens to a dark, saturated color with aromas of dark fruit, wet earth and campfire ash. The wine is aged in large oak casks and shows broad, strong shoulders.
Colorino is a relatively unknown black-skinned Tuscan grape variety, predominantly used as a blending ingredient to add color to wines. Its small berries also have a significant level of tannin, resulting in quite structured wines. The Colorino di Casanova reveals up-front aromas of wild cherries, tobacco, smoke and leather with herbs and liquorice adding complexity to the finish.
The 2006 Il Colorino di Casanova is a rock-star, especially for the money. Vibrant dark fruit, minerals, rosemary, menthol and spices are just some of the nuances that flow form this powerful, authoritative red. The harmony of the fruit and the overall balance are simply exceptional from start to finish. This is another fabulous wine from proprietor Giorgio Rivett's Tuscan property near Pisa. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018. These are two brillant, absolutely delicious reds from La Spinetta's Tuscan estate in Terricciola. Readers will have a lot to look forward to if proprietor Giorgio Rivetti and his team can maintain this level of quality going forward. For now, both the Gentile and Colorino are highly recommended for their absolute quality and value.
The 2005 Colorino di Casanova is the darkest and most powerful of these three wines. A dark, plush core of wild cherries, plums , underbrush, leather and licorice hides behind a wall of imposing tannins. The wine needs a few years for the elements to meld together, but there seems to be quite a bit of potential here as the wine opened up beautifully with some time in the glass. Sweet menthol, spice and mineral notes linger on the long, satisfying finish. This is a beautiful effort from Giorgio Rivetti. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2017. Although proprietor Giorgio Rivetti is best known for the wines he makes in Piedmont, his Tuscan offerings have come a long way in the last few years.
Prugnolo Gentile is a Sangiovese clone from the Montepulciano, receiving particular attention from Giorgio Rivetti at La Spinetta estate in Tuscany. The wine opens with raw, genuine aromas of black fruit, spice, liquorice and menthol, offering heft and power, but also good acidity and ripe silky tannins. Pretty and elegant in the mouth, the Gentile presents an authentic taste of Tuscany.
Prugnolo Gentile is a clone of Sangiovese that comes from the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano appellation. Giorgio Rivetti is doing a lot of work with this clone at his Tuscan property near Pisa. The 2013 Il Gentile di Casanova opens to a dark color with red cooper highlights. The aromas are raw and genuine with black fruit, spice and rusty nail. The wine offers heft and power, although it does loosen up to show pretty elegance and silkiness in terms of mouthfeel. If you are hankering for an authenthic taste of Tucany, this wine will do.
Resembles a Brunello, showing menthol, wild rosemary, eucalyptus and juniper aromas and flavors surrounding the core of cherry fruit. Still firm and unyielding, with a mix of bitterness and sweet fruit. Fine length. Sangiovese. Best from 2016 through 2025. 1,000 cases made.
Scents of super-ripe dark cherries, tobacco, spices and leather waft from the glass as the 2006 Il Gentile di Casanova opens up. A vein of minerality frames the fruit beautifully through to the long, creamy finish. The La Spinetta house style built on ripeness and textural depth is in evidence in this Sangiovese-based red but is not as overdone as in previous wine. This is a gorgeous juice. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2016.
The 2005 Gentile di Casanova (Sangiovese) is dark, brooding wine packed with dark cherries, smoke, underbrush, leather and tar. There is terrific density, richness and energy, all of which come together in this stylish, generous red. The finish is refined and harmonious. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2013. Although proprietor Giorgio Rivetti is best known for the wines he makes in Piedmont, his Tuscan offering have come a long way in the last few years.
This is a pure expression of Sangiovese from 20-year-old vines surrounding the Casanova winery. The Nero di Casanova offers a complex aromatic profile of pressed rose, wet earth, liquorice and wild Mediterranean brush, fully expressing its Tuscan fingerprint. This wine has a distinct structure and power not unlike the more well-known Brunello or Montepulciano and aging in ten-year-old oak casks adds further integration, definition and stability to this exciting wine.
This is a pure expression of Sangiovese from 15-year-old vines in the little-known Terre di Pisa appellation. The 2014 Terre di Pisa Sangiovese Il Nero offers aromas of pressed rose, wet earth and wild Mediterranean brush. The Tuscany signature here is very strong indeed. The wine offers a level of distinct structure and power that is not unlike a Brunello di Montalcino or a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. It is aged in ten-year-old oak casks for further integration, definition and stability. Menthol-like freshness appears on the close.
The estate's 2008 Il Nero di Casanova (Sangiovese) presents an intriguing profile of dark cherries, leather, licorice and tobacco, all of which come together in a medium-bodied, relatively delicate frame that is typical of Sangiovese. The Nero shows lovely inner sweetness and perfume through to the long finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.
This pale orange-pink Tuscan Rosè is a blend of Sangiovese and Prugnolo Gentile (a Sangiovese clone). Tart and juicy, with citrusy grapefruit and tangerine dominating the nose and mouth, the wine’s aromatic profile is enriched by white peach and strawberry and floral and mineral notes. The Rosè shows great clarity, with a suave, penetrating finish that lingers with a floral tenacity. A great summer wine and an excellent accompaniment to fish and poultry.
The 2021 Il Rosé di Casanova is lovely with a bouquet that’s more savory than sweet, mixing crushed rocks with white strawberries and peach skins. While soothingly soft, there’s a salty core of minerality and vibrant acidity that creates a juicy and energetic expression, further accentuated by hints of sour melon. The 2021 tapers off remarkably fresh with a candied citrus twang and leaves the mouth watering for more. The Il Rosé di Casanova is an equal-parts blend of Sangiovese and Prugnolo Gentile."
From year to year, the Il Rosé di Casanova continues to impress, and the 2020 is no different. Here I’m finding a contrasting blend of spiced citrus and tart apples offset by wild herbs and crushed stone. It’s silky in feel yet lifted and spry, casting ripe orchard fruits and inner herbal tones across a wave of vibrant acidity. A lingering note of salinity and hints of lemon peel keep tension high throughout the mouthwatering finale. This is an equal-parts blend of Sangiovese and Prugnolo Gentile.
Spinetta’s 2019 Il Rosé di Casanova is stunning in the glass, wafting up with a seductive bouquet, mixing lime and ripe melon with crushed strawberries. It floods the palate with spicy red fruits, complemented by juicy citrus and brisk acids, which keep the expression wonderfully fresh. The finish is long, as an air of minerals and fresh florals hover above salty minerals which beg you to take another sip.
Pale pink. Grapefruit aromas are dominant on the nose and in the mouth. Tart and juicy, this tastes and smells like a pink-colored Sauvignon Blanc, so this will likely find many fans, but I was left scratching my head. Finishes bright and juicy. A blend of 50% Sangiovese and 50% Prugnolo Gentile (the biotype of Sangiovese typical of the territory of Montepulciano).
This fresh, lively white sees only stainless steel with aromas of bright citrus, flowers, herbs and a touch of meringue on the nose. Nuanced and wonderfully focused, the Vermentino has an energy and acidity that drives the wine’s enticing personality. This is a medium-to full-bodied wine with good density, ideal enjoyed quite young.
Italian Vermentino is enjoying a moment of immense popularity, and it's easy to see why. The 2017 Vermentino is bright, crisp and linear. The Casanova della Spinetta property is located near the Tuscan Coast, not too far from Pisa and Volterra. That slightly inland positioning means that this expression does not have the chiseled citrusy quality you often get with the grape. Instead, this loose and fresh white (made without malolactic fermentation) offfers yellow fruit flavors with an elegant mineral signature of crushed oystershell. Fruit is selected for this wine during four separate harvests.
The Sassontino is a pure expression of Sangiovese from 45-year-old vines, allowed to age slowly at the winery for a full ten years before its release to market. This is an incredibly fine and elegant illustration of the quintessential Tuscan grape with red and blue berry aromas followed by crushed rocks, balsam herb and licorice. The vineyard site is characterized by loose, sandy soils with a notable presence of ocean sediments, contributing to the aromatic purity and finesse of the final result. Rich and dense, a delightful vibrancy gives this Riserva a gracefulness that will continue to evolve for many years.
Here is another late-release Sangiovese from Casanova della Spinetta, only in this case, fruit is sourced from precious 50-year-old vines. The 2007 Sassontino is a concentrated, thickly layered and aged wine packed tight with dried fruit, spice, smoke and tar. There is a lot of tertiary definition here, and unlike the other late-release wine, the Sezzana, this bottle is less oxidative and still shows some recognizable fruit. Roto-fermenters are used to obtain rich extraction, and the wine is aged in tonneaux for up to 14 months.
The 2006 Sassontino is a pure expression of Sangiovese from 45-year-old vines. Past editions of this wine saw a small percentage of Colorino (about 5%) in the blend, but I am told this is no longer the case. The wine ages slowly at the winery for ten years before its commercial release. This is an incredibly fine and elegant expression with wild berry aromas followed by balsam herb, cola and licorice. The vineyard site is characterized by loosely knit, sandy soils, and these contribute to the aromatic purity and finesse of the final result.
"The 2004 Sassontino is made in a similarly intense style, but it possesses a more layered expression of fruit. The wine took quite a bit of time to open in the glass, yet it offers outstanding potential. There isn’t a whole lot of Sangiovese typicity here, but this is very pretty wine nonetheless. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2019. Giorgio Rivetti’s Tuscan wines continue to show improvement. Interestingly, Rivetti prefers medium-sized barrels for his Tuscan wines as he found the smaller 225-liter barrels didn’t allow his Sangiovese-based wines to express the full breadth of their qualities."
The Sezzana is a twin of the Sassontino, though not an identical one. The grape is always 100% Sangiovese from 45-year-old vines, but the the Sezzana vineyard sees heavier, volcanic soils with gravel and larger stones. (The two vineyard sites, Sezzana and Sassontino, are located only six kilometers apart!) The Sezzana is a more muscular wine with aromas of red berries, rose, white pepper and minerals whose harmonious acidity grants balance and character to the important structure and fruit at the wine’s core.
The 2006 Sezzana is a twin of the Sassontino, but not an identical one. Although the grape used is the same (100% Sangiovese from 45-year-old vines), this vineyard site sees heavier soils with gravel and bigger stones. The two vineyard sites, Sezzana and Sassontino, are located six kilometers apart. This wine shows more muscle power and perhaps more longevity. It is structured and determined with firm character and a lot of fruit substance and fiber at its core..
The 2003 Sezzana, (95% Sangiovese, 5% Colorino), made from the estate's oldest vineyards, is rich and full-bodied in its expression of dark cherries, smoke, licorice and underbrush. It offers outstanding length, plenty of style and terrific balance considering the vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2018.
Giorgio Rivetti is obviously best known for the wines he makes in Piedmont but he purchased a property in the province of Pisa in 2000 and was so satisfied with the first wines that he bought another in 2002. The intention is to use only native Tuscan grapes, and the Sezzana, Sangiovese and Colorino, demostrate the wiseness of this choice in its dark ruby/garnet tonality., the ripe plum and berry fruit, discreetly and judiciouslt spiced by smoky, tarry oak, and the broad, sweet, layered, and focused flavors, velvety and with excellent lengh and intensity on the finish. A notable improvement on the 2000 version of the wine, and destined to easily last another decade.