2011 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva

SKU #1189599 93 points James Suckling

 A fruity, delicious red with sliced-plum and lemon-rind character. Full body with light tannins and a flavorful finish. I like the traditional, honest character here.  (10/2014)

92 points Wine Spectator

 ***Smart Buy*** Aromas and flavors of eucalyptus, wild sage and pine mingle with cherry, tobacco and earth notes in this complex, structured red. Balanced, long and built for the long haul. Drink now through 2024. 26,000 cases made. (BS)  (10/2014)

91 points Vinous

 Monsanto's 2011 Chianti Classico Riserva fleshes out beautifully in the glass. The flavors are bright, lifted and beautifully focused throughout. Sweet red berries, crushed flowers, mint and tobacco are some of the notes that inform the silky finish. The 2011 shows the texture and voluptuousness of the year, but the classic Monsanto style is still quite evident. This is a beautiful example of the vintage, and a wine that will deliver considerable pleasure for the next decade or more.  (9/2014)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2011 Chianti Classico Riserva delivers toasted notes of spice and smoke that need more time to integrate. There’s a point of ripe fruit (strawberry, mostly) that peeks above those lavish oak tones. The 2010 version of this wine shows better balance, while 2011 is characterized by the hotter growing season. (ML)  (10/2014)

K&L Notes

The wines made at Castello di Monsanto are some of the most consistent in the entire Chianti Classico appellation. Year in and year out, they offer an impeccably clean perspective that is always characterized by varietal and vintage. This set of new releases follows faithfully in the tradition set forth by this winery. 91+ Points from Ian D'Agata, "(90% sangiovese, the rest canaiolo nero and colorino): Medium red with a palish rim. Wonderfully floral on the nose, with captivating nuances of raspberry, sour red cherry, white pepper and violet. Silky and complex on entry, showing a strong flinty character, then taut and vibrant in the middle, with terrific energy and floral lift for this rather hot year. Finishes very long and lively, with repeating flint and red berry flavors. One of my top five Chianti Classico Riservas in 2011." (09/2014, Vinous.com)

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By: John Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/10/2016 | Send Email
Those who've enjoyed the recent vintages of this top-tier Riserva will most certainly want to purchase the wonderful 2011. It's softer and less structured than the 2010, and although it's excellent now, it will certainly hold up nicely in the cellar thanks to its rich fruit and ample acidity. Another outstanding release from Monsanto!

By: Mike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/20/2016 | Send Email
I met Fabrizio Bianchi from Monsanto in the early eighties and have been a fan and follower ever since. Mr. Bianchi is certainly one of the earliest pioneers in trying to change the image of Chianti as well as the grapes involved. Fabrizio is a big believer in Sangiovese, the main grape in Chianti and the backbone of most Tuscan wines. He was one of the first in Chianti to make wines 100% Sangiovese in the early '70s. The terroir of this region is evident and expressed consistently, spicy, mineral laden, complex fruits and good acidity. I love this 2011, but be warned! It will go quick!

By: Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/3/2015 | Send Email
A perennial favorite here at K&L. I have enjoyed this traditional Chianti year after year. I am still enjoying the last few bottles of a case of the 2004 vintage, and recently purchased a case of the 2010 to lay down for a few years. This 2011 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva is a bit more "user friendly" as Guido would say. Those who prefer not to wait will love the extra ripeness the 2011 vintage has yielded. Soft & round, sweet & ripe, yet with the bright red fruits and spice notes one usually associates with this most traditional of Chiantis. Classic Sangiovese. Superb value.

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/6/2015 | Send Email
The 2011 vintage is a little riper, fuller than the more structured 2010, however this wine is still Monsanto in a classic way. The nose has that ever present earth, cherry, leather, spice nose that the winery is so known for. On the palate 2011 vintage shows its pleasing richness, depth of flavor and persistence. Texturally more forward the wine still has structure, power and presence. Able to age for 10-15 years without much thought Monsanto produces on of the absolute best Chianti Classico Riserva at this price point. Stock up!
Drink from 2015 to 2026

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Sangiovese

- The most widely planted grape in Italy is Sangiovese, a high-acid grape with moderate to high tannins, apparent earthiness and subtle fruit. It is thought to have originated in Tuscany and its name, which translates to "blood of Jove," leads historians to believe it may date all the way back to the Etruscan period, though historical mentions only go as far back as the early 1700s. Though planted all over modern Italy, the most significant wines made from Sangiovese still come from Tuscany: Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. Sangiovese must make up 75% of a blend from the Chianti DOCG t be labeled as such, traditionally allowing for Canaiolo, Trebbiano and Malvasia for the remainder, though more recently small proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot have been allowed. In Brunello di Montalcino the wine must be made entirely of Sangiovese. Prugnolo is Montepulciano's name for Sangiovese, and it is used there for the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines. In the DOC of Carmignano Sangiovese can be blended with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. There are also Super Tuscans, IGT wines that blend Sangiovese with large proportions of Cabernet or Merlot. Elsewhere in Italy it is a workhorse grape, though it does find some success (though not the longevity) in the Montefalco and Torgiano wines of Umbria as well as the foundation of Rosso Piceno and a significant element of Rosso Conero from the Marches. Like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese has struggled to find footing outside of Italy, though in recent years California wineries have been having better fortune with grape plantings in the Sierra Foothills/El Dorado County, as well as Sonoma County and the Central Coast.
Country:

Italy

- Once named Enotria for its abundant vineyards, Italy (thanks to the ancient Greeks and Romans) has had an enormous impact on the wine world. From the shores of Italy, the Romans brought grapes and their winemaking techniques to North Africa, Spain and Portugal, Germany, France, the Danube Valley, the Middle East and even England. Modern Italy, which didn't actually exist as a country until the 1870s, once produced mainly simple, everyday wine. It wasn't until the 1970s that Italy began the change toward quality. The 1980s showed incredible efforts and a lot of experimentation. The 1990s marked the real jump in consistent quality, including excellence in many Region that had been indistinct for ages. The entire Italian peninsula is seeing a winemaking revolution and is now one of the most exciting wine Region in the world. For our entire Italian wine selection, click here. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of Italy.
Sub-Region:

Tuscany

Specific Appellation:

Chianti

- Chianti is the most famous wine name in Italy is not the name of a grape but actually a region. Chianti lies in the 35 miles of hills between Florence and Siena, a complex geological region as well as geographically. The extraordinary geography makes grape growing a very challenging feat with multiple exposures and soil types on the same estate. The region comprises 9 different communes not dissimilar to Bordeaux wherein each commune has a particular characteristic that shows in the wine. The wine is made predominantly Sangiovese, the grape must comprise at least 80% of the blend. Chianti Classico is the "classic" region, though many other nearby regions now use the name "Chianti" to make similar wines. The "Gallo Nero" or Black Rooster on many of the Chianti Classico bottles is a private consortium of producers who try and control the direction of production and quality amongst their members.
Alcohol Content (%): 14