I had a great time Friday at VinItaly - what a show. I can't wait for next year already and hopefully I will get to spend some more time there. I got to meet several wine makers - the first one I am reporting on here is Casa Emma:
I sat down with Fabrizio Benedetti of Casa Emma for a tasting on their wines. Their 2003 Chianti Classico Riserva got a score of 91 points from the Wine Spectator and Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV gave it 96 points (you can watch the video here). That caused the wine to become very scarce in the U.S. - they have about another 25 cases at the winery but that is it for the 03 (which in general was a very good vinage in Chianti). Fabrizio told me that in his opinion the 2004 Riserva is actually a better wine - I guess we will see what the critics say soon enough. Casa Emma Riservas spend 18 to 20 days on the skins, and are not put in small barriques but in the larger traditional Chianti oak casks - the oak is French but the casks are made in the north of Italy (interesting to note that several people I spoke to are using American oak to age their Chiantis). Fabrizio stressed that Casa Emmas likes to make wines that are ready to drink now - and their Chianti Classicos (the 04 and 05) were definitely the lightest and least tannic of all the Chiantis I tasted. The 05 was just recently bottled, and is a particularly light wine due to the rainy summer. Casa Emma recently acquired an additional 10 hectares very near their property, 5 of which have been planted with Sangiovese (and are several years away from production), and 5 which are still not planted. Like many of the other wine makers I spoke too they are definitely planning for growth.