(Mario Not Included.)
A Wine to Wipe Your Tuscan Slate Clean
2016 Le Cinciole
Gran Selezione "Aluigi"
Vinous: 96 pts.
Our (best in CA!) price: $62. Buy here.
This Father's Day? Get one of Tuscany's greatest red wines...
named after the superstar female winemaker's father!
TL; DR: This is your chance to get 1) a freakishly rare wine (less than 850 cases made!)... from 2) arguably Tuscany's single greatest farming district (Panzano: the first organic wine district in all of Italy!)... made by 3) our beloved Le Cinciole's wife-and-husband team of Valeria and Luca Orsini ("two of the hardest working organic winery owners you will ever meet")... whose newest release is 4) their top cuvée (the "Aluigi," dedicated to Valeria's father, Luigi)... that 5) is both from the greatest vintage in Tuscany in two decades (2016!)... and 6) recently earned the highest status in all of Chianti Classico (Gran Selezione)!
"Le Cinciole is one of my favorite Chianti Classico estates; its wines epitomize fragrant, elegant, high-altitude Sangiovese."
– Robert Parker
In most of the world's most famous wine regions? The outsized reputation of the zip code can allow wineries to be a bit, well, lazy if they want to. In, say, Napa, e.g.? It's fair to say that it's rare to find winemakers who've practiced organic farming since inception... and even rarer still to find wineries there going the extra mile to practice biodynamic farming.
But not in the famed Chianti Classico region's village of Panzano! Located almost exactly halfway between Florence and Siena, Panzano's a uniquely wild wonderland for wine: it was Italy’s very first organic wine district... and out of 25 wineries? 24 are either organic or biodynamic!
But in a region of standouts, a few wineries stand taller still — and Le Cinciole, a small 11-hectare farm nestled way, way up (470m above sea level) in the center of Panzano's 'Conca d'Oro,' is quite simply among our favorite producers in all of Tuscany. The 'Golden Conch' is named thusly because the soils, altitude, and exposures here have long been renowned as ideal for growing the highest-quality Sangiovese; the region is known as one of Chianti's greatest 'crus,' and is made up of ancient vineyards and olive groves and is surrounded by forest. It looks like nothing less than a kind of Tuscan wonderland, where even the grapes are living their best lives.
The Le Cinciole vineyards, surrounded by forest
Le Cinciole are famed for overdelivering at every level: their "entry-level" Chianti Classico (named "one of the better expressions of Sangiovese for the money from anywhere in Italy" by no less a wine critic than Stephen Tanzer) is consistently one our favorite weeknight Italian moves.
But it's their "Aluigi" Reserva bottling that sets our hearts beating a little faster... and this year marks the release of their 2016 bottling... a vintage widely considered to be the best in Tuscany's past 20 years! Dedicated to winemaker Valeria's father Luigi, it's fermented naturally in concrete, and then aged in neutral oak casks for 24 months before release.
Winemaker Valeria Vigano and husband Luca
Perhaps our favorite Italian wine critic, Antonio Galloni, lost his mind over Le Cinciole's wines, generally, writing:
"This is an absolutely stellar set of wines from Valeria Viganò and Luca Orsini at Le Cinciole. Over the last few years the wines have gained in precision and nuance, and that has elevated them to the upper tier in Chianti Classico. Biodynamic farming and hands-off winemaking are the rule. Le Cinciole is not a new estate, but the wines have, quite frankly, never been better. I was blown away by the quality here."
But it was their 'Aluigi' whose finger he most specifically wanted to put a ring on: he gave it a very rare 96 point score (Galloni is a lot more sparing with his points than others) and said:
"The 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Aluigi Campo ai Peri is fabulous. Bright, vibrant and intensely aromatic, it is total seduction right out of the glass. Intense floral/spiced aromatics, red/purplish berry fruit, spice, tobacco and mocha all race out of the glass in a wine that brilliantly marries power with finesse. The Aluigi is a Gran Selezione for the first time in 2016. It's quite simply one of the finest wines I have ever tasted from Le Cinciole."
A Luigi. But not Aluigi.
They make less than 850 cases of this beauty, annually... and we begged our way into a fraction of that fraction! The 2016 got crazy scores from every magazine that tried it; p
We're offering it at $62/bottle, which is the best price in the state. Note: there's not much! Buy now, or forever (or at least for a year) hold your peace!
2016 Le Cinciole
Gran Selezione "Aluigi"
Our (best in CA!) price: $62. Buy here!