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Great news for lovers of the best, classically-styled Chianti Classico: i Fabbri is back. The wines have been absent from New York for quite a few years; now, thanks to Jeff Porter*, these beauties of Lamole are once again for sale (and back on our dinner table!).
Lamole is, so far, my favorite place in Chianti. Miles up a winding hilly road, visiting Lamole is a step back in time (I’m not so sure you’d feel that way in high season, but in early May 2019 it was quiet, and spectacular). I Fabbri’s vines are at about 1800 feet in elevation (amongst the highest in Chianti Classico) and the altitude certainly informs the wines' gracefulness and elegance; biodynamic farming in turn supports transparency and focus. To add to our good luck, there is also an outstanding white wine.
Owned by the Grassi family for many generations, what we now enjoy is thanks to Susanna Grassi, who took over the vineyards from a tenant in 2000. Even today, female winemakers are a rarity in Chianti, and Susanna’s dedication and stamina is of special note. Despite a well promoted host of spoofilators in Chianti, there fortunately seems to be more and more interest in old-school wines; i Fabbri is on my short list of favorites. Jamie Wolff
*Wine lovers know: if you’re not familiar with an imported wine, you should first look to see who the importer is. For example, if the label says Lynch, Rosenthal, Dressner, you are guaranteed that the bottle will be a wine of great quality. In New York there’s been a rapid expansion of excellent importers in recent years, and my list of highly reliable labels includes, in no particular order (and with apologies to some obvious party I’ve inadvertently left-off): Jenny & Francois, Weygandt, Grand Cru Selections, Artisanal Selections, Jan d’Amore, David Bowler, Polaner, Zev Rovine, MFW, Jose Pastor, Critical Mass, Fifi, Schatzi, Selection de la Vina, Selection Massale, Transatlantic Bubbles, Vom Boden…. Into this distinguished company arrives Volcanic Selections, led by Jeff Porter – one of the wine world’s most respected (and beloved) figures. We foresee more great wine from Volcanic!
I Fabbri 2019 VDT Bianco Casole
Trebbiano and Malvasia, made in concrete with 12 hours of skin contact, which seems perfect for inflecting the wine’s structure without losing freshness – and it’s 11° alcohol! Over the last month we’ve opened 3 bottles at home to have with a variety of food, and we (that is, myself and my wife, who – as is so often the case with wine nerd partners – has a great palate that’s free of wine nerd preconceptions) like the wine more and more. It’s brisk and crisp, showing green apple and herbs, but fairly rich and textured. Last night it was stellar with pasta with roasted fennel and cauliflower and pecorino. A very nice, very good wine. 110 points. Jamie Wolff
I Fabbri 2015 Chianti Classico Riserva
100% Sangiovese, 13.5° alcohol, vinified in concrete and aged in old wood ranging from tonneau to 30HL botte. And wow! Very aromatic – delicately floral, bright fruit, stony. On the palate a lovely light texture and beautiful balance, again very stony, with sweet raspberry, thyme, olive, and slightly grainy tannins that add complexity. Very, very good, old school wine – I’m brought back to why I fell for Chianti in the first place. After a few days open still beautifully lifted and complex – my kind of wine. 111 points. Jamie Wolff