Every now and then, you should pause from your busy life to have a catchup session with your best friend aka main chick. This time around, I decided to meet the main up for dinner at wine in Cibo, a rustic, yet modern, Italian restaurant in Coral Gables. We lubricated our lengthy chatter with a bottle of Castello di Albola Chianti Classico 2014. I must admit, I usually never order Chianti because it makes me think of that iconic, yet deranged, Hannibal Lecter quote—“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti”—but I’m glad I put that aside when we cracked this bottle open.
The Castello di Albola Estate is situated in Radda at the heart of the Chianti Classico DOCG appellation, where the legacy of grape cultivation dates back to the time of the Etruscans. The Acciaiuoli family commissioned the estate to plant its vineyard in Chianti Classico in the 15th century as a symbol of their high status. Over the centuries, many noble Tuscan families have owned the property, and the estate has earned various accolades for its wines. In 1979, the Zonin family acquired Castello di Albola promising to uphold the estate’s excellence for future generations. The wines produced in Castello di Albola have earned the iconic “Gallo Nero” symbol from the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium, which guarantees the highest standards in winemaking.
The 200-acres of Sangiovese grapes used for this wine are first machine-harvested, then fermented with skins using the traditional method. Malolactic fermentation occurs in steel tanks, and afterwards, the wine is aged in 3,400-liter Slavonian oak casks, or “botte,” for a year. This is followed by three months of aging in the bottle. The average age of the vines is around 20 years, and since 1999, 25 acres have been replanted per year.
The wine is ruby red in color and has a hint of berries and spice on the nose. Those notes translate onto the palate, and the wine is smooth drinking—almost like water. It’s medium-bodied with nice tannins and spice. The bottle was $45 with the restaurant markup, but I found it at Total Wine for $17.99. Not shabby at all. 3/5.
We paired it with several delicious dishes: Polenta fries, arugula and prosciutto di parma salad, linguine with fresh clams, and some prosciutto with formaggio. By the end of the meal, we had fully caught up on each other’s lives and had full stomachs. Buon appetito!