Father and son Riccardo & Massimilliano Lanza are putting the CLASSIC back into Chianti Classico. Their tiny, 3.5 hectare, organic estate is located in Radda, some of the "holiest ground" in all of Tuscany, and their Chianti is noble in every way, shape, and form.
In the hot, dry, and favorable 2020 vintage, the Lanzas produced a whopping 800 cases of this wine -- it's amazing to me that we even see this wine in the US, much less Asheville. A pinnacle expression of Sangiovese, this is soulful and traditional Italian red wine that should sell for two times the price. Just 7 cases up for grabs at deal pricing.
2020 Pruneto Chianti Classico
One of the finest Chianti values out there. So much wine for the $$! - 94 points - Yours Truly
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I love this quote from my good friend and importer Jay Murrie of Piedmont Wine Imports regarding Pruneto. "Straightforward. No wizardry at Pruneto. Riccardo Lanza loves farming, hates the politics of winemaking and international wine culture, and is simply, very quietly making traditional Chianti Classico. By hand, no gimmicks, no make-up." That pretty much sums it up folks. This is the kind of Chianti that Italians drink, it's the kind of wine you typically only get if you travel to Tuscany, and it's wonderful.
Pruneto is a nice old farmhouse on top of a hill surrounded by vineyards. Riccardo Lanza’s father bought the estate in the late 1960’s, relocating from Milan to get "back to nature." In the words of Riccardo, “Only poor people lived here (at that time)” Lanza said. “The work was too hard.” His father was attracted to Pruneto through a friendship with legendary resident Sergio Manetti of neighboring Montevertine. He worked hard, and today, his wines are revered by wine lovers near and far.
I don't know if you caught it in than previous paragraph, but Pruneto's neighbor is Monte-freaking-vertine, one of the top estates in the world and one whose wines fetch $100+. Following in Sergio's footsteps, Riccardo decided to base his Chianti entirely on the native Sangiovese grape. In 1980, Pruneto's one vineyard worker retired, and Riccardo had been doing it all himself ever since.....his son Massimilliano helps out these days. This is truly a passion project and a family affair.
The estate is divided into two vineyard sites, with the older site on super steep, west-facing hillsides planted in 1972. The Lanza's newer vineyard was planted in 1999, and it is surrounded on all sides by forest. Lanza describes with wonder the experience of walking through the forest to this hidden vineyard. All his vines grow at a temperate 550 meters above sea level and are farmed organically. Pruneto’s vineyards are blessed with the famed galestro soils of Tuscany, a friable schist mixed with chalk that, along with the high altitude, lends a vibrancy to Pruneto’s wines, with bright acid and alcohols rarely exceeding 13%.
In the cellar Lanza is very traditional. He uses large old foudres and simple equipment to make his wines. He has used the same press for 31 years. The cellar is clean, but not high-tech. “It’s difficult to find the right machine for me. I am low-tech” says Riccardo. These time-tested and traditional methods combined with the virtues of Lanza's site and old vines yield a wine that will transport you to Tuscany. Lovely stuff folks!
I've rambled on long enough, but that's what happens when a wine seriously does it for me. From a wonderful vintage for Chianti Classico, this pours a mid to deep ruby color and comes roaring out of the glass with aromas of earthy cherry, dark cherry, cedar, tobacco, leather, forest floor, and dusty mineral. Medium- to full-bodied on the palate, it is fresh and lively, but it's also a tad richer and more sweetly fruited this vintage, no doubt due to the heat of the year.
Will it age? You bet it will! This wine has a fabulous track record for aging and improving for a surprisingly long time.....like 10 to 15 years. But don't feel like you have to wait. I just had a bottle on Saturday, and that experience inspired me to feature this one. Highly, highly recommended, especially if you love traditionally made Italian reds.
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Table Wine Asheville