This past year I consumed a lot of Italian wines! Between the winemaker lunches and dinners, to traveling in fall and winter to Italy a few times, you can say that 2019 was filled with Italian inspiration. One of my favorite lunches from 2019 was at Blackbarn Restaurant with Sergio Zingarelli of Rocca delle Macìe! This winery is in the heart of Chianti Classico, and they produce wines that express the area. They maintain excellent vineyards to produce wines that combine quality and stylistic consistency. The wines of Rocca delle Macìe are harmonious and elegant.

The family also has vineyards in Maremma another area of Tuscany, and produces some incredible whites. The first time I went to Tuscany was a few years ago on a wine trip, and I will never forget the charm of Tuscany and its beautiful rolling green hills. Sergio joined us in New York City for a delicious lunch at Blackbarn Restaurant in Madison Square Park. We started with a glass of the wineries Vermentino Maremma 2018. It’s a beautiful wine with bright citrus, body, and a long finish due to its time on the lees before bottling. I love a good white wine with some lees aging because if done right, it adds nice texture and creaminess to a wine. This Vermentino was outstanding, especially with a selection of some Italian cheeses and meats; it made for the perfect aperitif.

After we sat down for a Riserva di Fizzano Vertical Tasting paired with some delectable dishes. Sergio brought some wines from his cellar, to show us the aging potential of the wines. It’s always such a treat when winemakers visit, because they are so generous and love to share their passion and to see how their wines develop over time is truly remarkable, especially when they are tasting them with you. We tasted Chianti Classico from 2015 all the way down to 1995! All the wines are cultivated from the Fizzano Estate Vineyards, and they really were so expressive of the terroir and the vintages in which they were. I always like to start young and see how the wines develop, when I taste, so I ended with the 95′. The lineup included:

2015: 93% Sangiovese, 7% Colorino. 12-14 days maceration with 18-20 months in French Oak barrels, with a small portion aging in 225l barriques. The wine then lays down for one additional year in the bottle. A gorgeous wine that’s striking with plenty of red fruit and spice. Will benefit from age, buy a few $39.99.

2013: 95% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot. 12-14 days maceration followed by 18-20 months in French Oak. Same production as 2015, but different grape percentages when it comes to the secondary grape. Colorino in 2015 added color and elegance to that wine, but the merlot in this one added in a nice jamminess to the wine, which I love about merlot. The wine also had an additional year in the bottle. $39.99

2011: 95% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot like the 2013 and also produced in the same method with French Oak and barriques. This vintage, however, was interrupted by a heatwave followed by cool temperatures, so they had to harvest early to preserve aromas. This wine has a fruity nose with nice earth and barnyard notes. Those funkier notes come from the age and show you just what this wine can do overtime. $39.99

2005: 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot. Like others, the method of production stayed the same, and the one-year bottle aging. This was a stellar vintage for the winery, with a snowy winter that resulted in a well-balanced bud break. This was one of the bottles from the Rocca delle Macìe cellar, so it is not available for retail purchase.

1999: 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot with 18-20 months in barrel followed by an additional year in bottle. This was a hot harvest according to the notes, but it made for great balance and grape ripening. There were nice fig notes to this wine and cooked fruits, with beautiful garnet color.

1995: 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot. Same production as the other wines, and a vintage that boasted structure and concentration. This wine is outstanding! It’s still so fresh, and fruit-forward with a lot to offer.

The Fizzano Estate vineyard stretches across 35 hectares of sandy, pebbly soils. Sangiovese dominates because they believe it produces elegance. If you love the elegance of Tuscany and want to stash a few that you know will age, you will absolutely fall in love with these wines!