Chianti Classico Revisited: The Wines of Renzo Marinai

During Vinitaly, we had the opportunity to meet up once again with Renzo Marinai, who with the assistance of winemaker Giovanni Cappelli makes some of Tuscany’s most authentic wines. We last met Renzo during our travels for our Chianti Classico report. We visited his charming Azienda Agricola San Martino a Cecione di Renzo Marinai near the Castle of Panzano, and he treated us to a pasta lunch made from the capelli (wheat) grown on the estate. This 30 hectare estate has just 6 hectares of vines mixed in with olive groves and wheat fields.  Renzo practices organic viticulture and plants oats and fava beans between alternate rows of vines to enrich the soil.  His philosophy of nurturing the vine and the wine continues in the winery where classical music soothes the aging wines.

The US Importer is Admirality Beverage Co., Portland OR.  These wines are not widely distributed, and the vintages shown here may not yet be available in the US market.  Consumers interested in purchasing Renzo Marinai wines should contact Todd Bacon at 503 265 3050.

Tasting Notes

Renzo Marinai 2009 Chianti Classico Tuscany ($ 27) 90+

The regular, medium dark ruby colored Renzo Marinai Chianti Classico is delicious, easy drinking, and moderately complex. Black cherry with hints of cassis and smoke show on the nose, while the dark-fruited palate reveals plum with espresso and chocolate accents.  Bracing acidity makes this a great food wine. A blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 12 months in barrel.

Renzo Marinai 2008 Chianti Classico Riserva Tuscany ($ 40) 91

Semi-opaque, dark ruby in color, the 100% Sangiovese Riserva shows a rather flamboyant nose of intense dark cherry, toasted oak, milk chocolate, and smoke. There’s rich red-black fruit with very dry, gritty tannins on the palate, and the wine clearly needs 2-3 more years in bottle, but the potential is there.

Renzo Marinai 2009 Kádár Rosso Toscano IGT 89

Six different varieties go into this fully flavored, fresh and aromatic wine. It’s full and round in the mouth with fresh strawberry and cherry aromas. Easy to drink now, the firm tannins on this wine suggest it will keep a few years, too.  This blend of Sangiovese a foglia tonda, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Mammolo, and Pugnitello is whole berry fermented in French tonneaux. This wine is not imported at present.

Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler

May 2012

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