When the sun is searing and the humidity enveloping, big New World cabernet sauvignon, syrah and zinfandel wines are oppressive. Just as heavy clothing is stored away, high alcohol, oak-infused and raisiny wines need to be kept in the cellar for a cooler day.
Frescobaldi is a noble family whose Tuscan ancestry is nearly a thousand years old. Bankers, merchants, vineyard owners and winemakers are the family’s framers. Today, the business is in the hands of four members of the 30th generation.
Lamberto Frescobaldi oversees the winemaking for the family’s estates. In 1987, he graduated from the prestigious enology and viticulture program at the University of California at Davis. In 1995, Frescobaldi shared winemaking and management duties with Tim Mondavi when these two renowned families created the Tuscan wine Luce della Vite.
The 2008 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva is made at the historic Castello di Nipozzano, 18 miles northeast of Florence. Built as a fortress in the year 1000, it became the family’s estate in the 15th century. The wines of Castello di Nipozzano are in the Chianti Rufina appellation, one of the seven zones in the Chianti region.
The 2008 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva is more substantial than Remole. It’s 90 percent sangiovese with the remainder a mix of other red grapes, and aged for 24 months in barrels.
A bright cherry color and an appealing bouquet of roses, balsamic and soy sauce aromas are a welcomed greeting. Tasty black cherry and a basil-like flavor are carried across the palate with smooth tannins and acidity, making this an ideal wine for grilled marinated chicken legs, or the Brass Rail’s garlic-rubbed skirt steak.
The 2010 Remole retails for about $12; and the 2008 Nipozzano Riserva is approximately $27.