Italian Village Chicago Team Dinner features Super Tuscan and Barolo Nebbiolo wines
For a team dinner we dined at our regular go-to venue in the Chicago city centre, a few blocks walking distance from our office and our hotels, Italian Village Chicago, in one of their select private tables.
We chose two wines from the extensive Italian Village winelist from their extraordinary cellar which serves all three restaurants under normal times, two Italian labels to accompany our dinner.
Normally we'd be served by Wine Director and dear friend Jared Gelband
but he is touring Italy visiting several producer estates. We were
served by Gerardo who in normal times would manage the upscale Vivere
restaurant but is helping manage the Italian Village floor during these
crazy Covid times.
Tenuta di Arceno Valadorna di Arcanum Toscana IGT 2013
This is a 'Super Tuscan' Blend meaning it is from French Bordeaux varietals grown in the Italian Tuscany region. The producer, Tenuta di Arceno is an old historic Tuscan estate with a diverse portfolio of the highest quality wines across two classification levels – three wines centered on the native Sangiovese grape in the Chianti Classico DOCG collection; and three wines from the estate’s international (French Bordeaux) varieties under the Toscana IGT designation.
The estate is situated at the southernmost-edge of the Chianti Classico region in the butterfly-shaped commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, near the village of Siena, often referred to as ‘the most Senese Chianti Classico,’adjacent the scenic ancient walled town of San Gusmè.
The sub-region is home to several world-renowned producers who produce stylistically distinct wines.
The Tenuta di Arceno estate is 1,000 total hectares (2,500 acres) of which 92 hectares (220 acres) are planted to vineyards – the remaining land preserved for native vegetation including 50 hectares (125 acres) of olive orchards. The vineyards are separated into 63 blocks, the vineyards planted to 50% the region's native Sangiovese, and the remaining 50% with international varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is a Merlot-based blend sourced primarily from the Valadorna and Capraia vineyards' blocks, known to produce the estate’s most complex and mineral-based expressions of this variety. The Merlot blocks, located in the cooler part of the estate, naturally irrigated by a nearby stream, with sandy brown soils and lower yields than typical, are often the last Merlot blocks to ripen on the estate.
The recent 2019 vintage release of this label received the coveted Tre Bicchieri (“Three Glasses”) award. Each yeara a panel of prominent wine experts review wines from each of
Italy’s 20 regions evaluating over 23,000 wines from 2500 producers and awarding scores ranging
from 0 to 3 Glasses (“Bicchieri”) according to the quality of
the wine. Tre Bicchieri wines are generally recognized in Italy and by the international wine community as Italy’s best. A Tre Bicchieri award is a really big deal for a winery. The tastings are done blind so there is no favoritism or influence on the outcomes.
This is a Bordeaux varietal blend of 74% Merlot, 13 % Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, and
1% Petit Verdot.
Dark purple-garnet colored, medium full bodied, complex and intense but well integrated and nicely balanced vibrant blackberry with notes of black cherries and currants, highlights of dark chocolate, espresso, and Tuscan terroir cedar, dried spice, smoke and tobacco with hints of vanilla, and leather, with firm but approaching tannins on the lingering finish.
RM 91 points.https://www.tenutadiarceno.com/enFor a second wine, I selected from the IV winelist this Italian Barolo, a native Nebbiolo varietal to accompany our Italian cuisine. Ideally, we would've tasted this stylistic varietal first ahead of the more complex, more concentrated Tuscan blend however it was an appropriate pairing with several of the folk's Italian entree dishes.
Bruna Grimaldi Bricco Ambroglio Barolo 2014
This is from the Bruna Grimaldi family estate in the hills that between Grinzane Cavour to Serralunga d’Alba, in the heart of Langhe, part of the Unesco Heritage. The Grimaldi family have been in the wine business since the 1960's when Giacomo Grimaldi started selling grapes, then his son, Giovanni Grimaldi began produce wine and selling it in bulk.Giovanni bottles estate wines in the best vintages with a long library of releases over the following decades.
Since the 1990's the property and brand have been managed by the next generation, Bruna Grimaldi and her husband Franco Fiorino. They built a new upgraded winery and produce wines only from their own vineyards. Franco tends to the vineyard management and winemaking, and is the driving force in the company focusing on Langhe sourced Nebbiolo and Barbera. Bruna manages the family business, an oenologist, she is a member of “Donne del Vino” Association.
Since 2013, the next generation, Simone and Martina, son and daughter of Bruna and Franco, have joined their parents’ learning from their experience and their studies to promote and continue on with the Bruna Grimaldi brand.The best Langhe plots are selected for the production of Barolo, the Bricco Ambrogio Barolo known for great elegance. The vineyard terroir have a perfect exposure to the sun with a hot microclimate ideal for Nebbiolo which tend to picked earlier and differentiate themselves in the rainier and cooler vintages. Their estate Barolo is known to show warm, open perfumes, tending to ripe fruits and spice notes with structure that lean on silky and enjoyable tannins.
This is 100% Nebbiolo from the MGA Bricco Ambrogio vineyard in the municipality of Roddi. The terroir boasts southern exposure with very steep slopes, with grey-blue layers of clay in limestone and sand.