2016 Aluigi Campo ai Peri Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

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Le Cinciole is quite simply among my favorite Italian producers: they're a classically tuned winemaker that's farmed organically since its inception, and are now practicing biodynamic farming besides. A small 30-hectare farm nestled way up in the hills of Panzano (cool-climate, hillside Chianti being a very different animal than its lowland counterparts!), it's made up of ancient vineyards and olive groves and is surrounded by forest and generally looks like a kind of Tuscan wonderland where even the grapes are living a kind of dreamlife.

These guys kinda bring the hits at every level: their "entry-level" Chianti Classico is consistently one our favorite weeknight Italian moves. (The 2017 will come back in soon, and at ~$20-some odd dollars, you should try it!) But it's their "AluigiReserva bottling that sets our hearts beating a little faster every year... 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. The 2016 got crazy scores from every magazine that tried it; my fave Italian wine critic, Antonio Galloni, lost his mind over Le Cinciole, 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. The wines are vinified in cement and aged in a combination of casks and smaller French oak barrels spread across several tiny, cramped cellars. The move towards a greater use of larger format oak works so well and is one of the reasons recent wines have been so expressive. 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 that he most specifically wanted to marry: he gave it 96 points 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."

They make less than 850 cases of this beauty, annually... and we begged our way into a fraction of that fraction!

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