L'Erta di Radda, Chianti Classico Riserva
L'Erta di Radda, Chianti Classico Riserva

L'Erta di Radda, Chianti Classico Riserva

Tuscany, Italy 2018 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00

L'Erta di Radda, Chianti Classico Riserva

If you love Tuscan Sangiovese (and how could you not?), today is your day. We’ve got not one, but two, of the best Sangiovese wines of the moment to share with you (more to come later). Let’s start with an impeccable artisan producer of Chianti Classico, L’Erta di Radda. Yes, you’ve seen this name before. Recently, in fact. But along came this knockout 2018 Riserva and we had to put Diego Finocchi’s name up in lights yet again. It doesn’t matter that we offered a different wine from him quite recently. Certain wines demand an audience, and this one displays amazing purity and a keen sense of place. It’s kind of crazy, in fact, how much wine you get here for the price. Do not delay—and stay tuned for another Tuscan benchmark later today!

L’Erta di Radda is a Certified Organic estate of tiny dimensions, whose shipments to the US number in the hundreds of cases. If this wine were, say, a village-level Gevrey-Chambertin from a similarly hands-on producer (and it compares more than favorably to quality red Burgundy), it would cost twice as much. Diego Finocchi was barely out of winemaking school when, in 2006, he acquired the 12 acres of vines that would become L’Erta di Radda (the name effectively translates to “The steep slopes of Radda”). It was a mature, not ancient, site, with vines rooted in the classic Chianti Classico mix of galestro (clay marl with limestone and sandstone) and alberese (whiter, chalkier limestone). Elevations in these sites climb past 400 meters, which surely plays a role in creating wines that are reliably finessed and loaded with woodsy perfume. Diego’s meticulous farming also plays a key role: The estate has been Certified Organic since 2015, and the wines consistently display the kind of lively, lit-from-within energy that comes from healthy, chemical-free raw material.

Finocchi is very much a one-man-band, overseeing viticulture and winemaking alike, and while it’s always tempting to categorize Chianti Classico producers along “modern” and “traditional” lines, these boxes don’t really work as well as they once did. These wines are quite traditional in that they are un-manipulated, fermented spontaneously on native yeasts, and generally expressive of earth as much as fruit, but they are also modern in that they are clean, sound, and aged in French oak (albeit used barrels). It’s borne out when you taste the wine: you taste beautiful black cherry fruit but there’s also a keen sense that the wine hailed from the forest someplace—which, in fact, it did!

This 2018 Riserva, aged 24 months in 2,000-liter oak botti (large casks) is 100% Sangiovese and offers a savory, woodsy take on the variety: there’s lots of tobacco, tomato leaf, and underbrush notes, although there’s also a saturated core of black cherry, cranberry, and raspberry fruit. Medium-plus in body, with lots of mineral grip, it has firm tannins and vibrant, mouth-watering acidity. Does it drink like Côte de Nuits red Burgundy at half the price? Yes, so decant it about 30 minutes before serving in Burgundy bowls at 60 degrees. The pairing possibilities for this are myriad, but you can’t go wrong with some pasta with crumbled sausage, garlic, and kale. It’s very Tuscan, very simple, and it never goes out of style—like this wine. Enjoy!

L'Erta di Radda, Chianti Classico Riserva

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