One of Italy’s newest wine appellations is the source of the tasty, good value red wine Castello Colle Massari Rigoleto 2007.
In 1998, the Montecucco appellation was created as a sub-zone in the Maremma region; Montecucco’s eastern border is the world-renowned Brunello di Montalcino appellation.
A year later, Claudio Tipa, his wife, Maria, and his sister Maria Iris, purchased the ancient Castello Colle Massari. Formerly a medieval castle, which served successively as an abbey, convent, and home of a noble family in the Renaissance era, the enterprising Tipa team began restoring the buildings and, using organic methods, planting vineyards, olive trees, and crops.
Sangiovese, Tuscany’s greatest red wine grape, composes 80-percent of Castello Colle Massari’s vineyard, with two other indigenousness grapes, ciliegiolo and montepulciano providing seven and six percent, respectively. The final seven percent is divided between cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
A month ago, Claudio Tipa and his consulting winemaker, Maurizio Castelli presented a selection of wines from Colle Massari and their other Tuscan property, Grattamacco. I met Castelli 30 years ago when he was making first-rate wines for Castello di Volpaia in Chianti Classico. The ensuing decades only enhanced his reputation as one of Tuscany’s most successful winemakers and olive oil experts.
At our tasting, Castelli poured a retrospective of Grattamacco Superiore from 1999 to 2006; the 2007 Grattamacco Rosso and the 2006 Alberello; and five wines from Colle Massari, ranging from the white 2008 Vermentino Melacce to the prestigious 2004 Riserva Lombrone. Every wine had the Castelli style of ripe fruit flavors with a restrained use of oak and integrated tannins. The 2007 Castello Colle Massari Rigoleto offers consumers these qualities at an affordable price.
Castelli blended 70-percent sangiovese with 15-percent each of ciliegiolo and montepulciano in the 2007 Rigoleto. After fermentation, the wine was divided into two equal lots for ten months aging; one portion went into stainless steel tanks and the other portion in barrels and casks that were two to three years old. This winemaking technique yielded a brilliant red hue with an enticing cherry aroma and black cherry flavors.
The magnetism of this wine is its fruit flavor purity preserved by Castelli’s avoidance of using new oak barrels that would have imparted their aggressive aromas and taste. The melding of the tannins and fruit gives the wine a pleasant, dry finish. The pleasure of the 2007 Castello Colle Massari is a testament to the Tipa’s dedication to quality and Castelli’s ability to deliver it.
As the weather warms, enjoy the 2007 Rigoleto with a Tuscan dish of fava beans and sliced loin of pork; or roasted chicken with rosemary-scented roasted potatoes.
The 2007 Castello Colle Massari Rigoleto retails for approximately $19.
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