Visiting Chianti Classico 
Part 5: Tenuta di Bibbiano

Bibbiano is midway between Florence and Siena, in Castellina. It's a 220 hectare estate with 25 hectares of vines. Half of these were planted in the late 1950s, while the remainder was planted between 2000 and 2005.

Here, the landscape is different. It's a smoother panorama, with many fields that you don't really see in the higher parts of Chianti, and enjoys a dry, warm climate.

It's a family property that's been in the same hands since 1865. For almost 60 years from 1943 the winemaking was in the hands of the same enologist, Julio Gambelli, who still tastes the wines every year, but since 2001 Stefano Porcinai, a consultant who works with a number of properties, and who had previously worked for the Consorzio for 15 years.

How has Stefano changed things? 'The main difference is in the care of the vineyard', explains owner Tommaso Marrocchesi Marzi (above). 'Julio Gambelli (his predecessor) is a great taster and skilled in the winery, but didn't have any particular interest in the vineyard. Stefano was an agronomist before he was an oenologist, so he changed the way the vines are cultivated and opted for lower yields'.

One of the features of Bibbiano is that they work with Colorino, a lesser known grape variety of Chianti. It's a teinturier (red-fleshed) variety, and in Autumn the leaves of the vines turn dark red. It's a very old grape typical of this area of Chianti Classico, but while it adds colour to the wines, its otherwise quite neutral in flavour.

In the winery, Stefano opts for long fermentations in cement tanks and does post-ferment maceration on the skins. After malolactic the wines go to 25 hl barrels for a few months for the Classico, and French oak for the Riserva.

Bibbiano Chianti Classico 2006
100% Sangiovese. savoury, spicy, earthy nose with some leathery notes. The palate is bright, fresh and savoury with good acid. A traditional style. 87/100

Bibbiano Montornello Chianti Classico 2005
Nice aromatic nose showing bright cherry fruit with some lovely fresh herby raspberry notes. The palate is fresh with lovely acidity and bright berry fruits with some grippiness. 90/100

Bibbiano Montornello Chianti Classico 1999
Aromatic, spicy, leathery nose is quite complex and evolved, but has some elegance. The palate is beautifully elegant with smooth structure and evolved fruit. Delicious, showing lovely evolution, in a traditional style. 92/100

Bibbiano Montornello Chianti Classico 1997
Open evolved nose is aromatic but light with notes of herbs and tea. Some stewed fruit notes, as well as forest floor character. The palate is old and fading. 82/100

Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Capannino 2005
Sweet, slightly caramelized stewed red fruits on the nose with a confected edge. The palate has nice structure and density with berry fruit and red fruit character, as well as a liqueur-like edge. 86/100

Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Capannino 2005
There's a spicy, earthy edge to the attractive raspberry and plum fruit nose, as well as some leathery notes. The palate has lovely density and structure with good acid and some tannin, with a gravelly edge. A lovely, well balanced, savoury style. 90/100

Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Capannino 1995
Very open, sweet, evolved spicy nose with sweet dried herbs and subtle earthy notes. The palate is concentrated but very evolved with warm spiciness and firm tannins. Quite sweet, but the fruit has faded a bit. 86/100

Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Capannino 1993
Lovely aromatics: sweet cherries, earth and spice. Well balanced and evooved, but nice. The palate shows lovely focused earthy, spicy notes with good structure. A bit astringent on the finish, though. 89/100


Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Fontodi
Part 3: Castello di Querceto
Part 4: Castello della Paneretta
Part 5: Bibbiano
Part 6: Fattoria di Felsina
Part 7: Castell'in Villa
Part 8: Palazzino
Part 9: Barone Ricasoli
Part 10: Colle Lungo
Part 11: Vicchiomaggio

Wines tasted 10/08  
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