Tuscany is an increasingly popular place for people to visit, both for its natural beauty and its wine. Sangiovese is its signature red grape, yet the attention to quality is key to the wine’s elegance and abilty to age.
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Andrea Cecchi, CEO of his family’s fourth generation winery, in New York at Cellini, a fabulous “old world” style Italian restaurant with upscale cuisine and a very high end crowd.
We were there to taste through his range of wines, which starting from the very top included the 2011 Coevo ($105.99) Toscana IGT, a very sophisticated wine which people sometimes call a “superTuscan” for its ability to improve with age and the mix of Bordeaax varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot) in the blend.
And of course you can imagine its velvet tannins, concentrated black fruit, and long finish. This is a wine to savor.
Yet to drink now, are the incredible “value for the money” 2014 Chianti Classico ($20.99), which is rich and elegant, and several quality steps above most Chianti Classico you might find. In Chianti, as in Burgundy, it is important to “know your producer” and Cecchi is a name that can be trusted.
Though I’ve always considered myself to be a “red wine” person I immediately became drawn to the 2014 La Mora Vermentino ($19.99), a bright refreshing white wine that went especially well with seafood. It has a rich texture from long aging on the lees, the dead yeast cells.
Other wines enjoyed was the 2013 La Mora Morellino Di Scansano ($22.99) with velvet tannins and the high end 2013 Chianti Classico RSV ($40.99), a reserve wine from the best vineyards with long aging potential.
Cecchi History and the Black Rooster
The Cecchi winery is in Castellino in Chianti, one of four municipalities entirely within the historical boundaries of the Black Rooster (Gallo Nero) area. The Gallo Nero – or “Black Rooster” – has been the official symbol of Chianti Classico since the 1930s, but the image goes all the way back to 14th century Florence, emphasizing the region’s remarkably rich history.
“For us as a winemaking family, we are proud to be part of this amazing tradition,” said Andrea Cecchi. “Chianti Classico is our birthplace, our home and our passion. To have the ‘Gallo Nero’ on our bottles is an honor and a constant call to strive to make wines that reflect everything Chianti Classico can be.”
To celebrate Chianti’s 300th anniversary as one of the oldest formal wine regions, Cecchi produced a special edition Cecchi Riserva di Famiglia Chianti Classico magnum that was presented to Italian embassies around the world on the anniversary date.
The Cecchi Story
It all began in 1893, when Luigi Cecchi became a professional wine taster. Although widespread in Europe, the craft of “palatista (taster)” was still unknown in Italy. However, Luigi understood how the potential of Italian wine making would be able to soar to the apex of world oenology once able to recognize the quality of the wines produced.
In the early 1900s, Luigi’s son Cesare came by his side. Together they gave life to the first mass marketing of wine with the label “Cecchi” that at that time already began expeditiously looking towards international markets.
The long and short of it is that the range of wines today express the elegance envisioned by Luigi Cecchi more than a century ago.