“Wine and culture” or either “wine is culture”: no limits for us (LOL). But, now, the combination is made by Nittardi, a winery in Chianti Classico (and not only there), owned by Stefania Canali (history expert from Venice) and her husband Peter Femfert (German editor and art connoisseur). They bought the winery in 1981, but the estate and the amazing small village with the tower in Castellina in Chianti is dated back earlier in the history and art (that is culture, of course).
The name Nittardi, almost a prediction, comes from the latin: Nectar Dei, meaning the Nectar of Gods: and wine has always been considered the favoured beverage of Gods. The first records about Nittardi in Tuscany are dated back to the Twelfth century. In the Sixteenth century Michelangelo Buonarroti is the owner of the ancient village. At that time, he already grew vines and made wine, probably such a good wine that he was persuaded to send to Pope Julius II, in Rome, while he was committed in painting the Sistine Chapel.
Nowadays, the estate is in Chianti Classico (12 hectares in two plots) and in Maremma (20 hectares South of Grosseto). The winemaker is the Tuscan Carlo Ferrini. Since 2013, Léon Femfert, the older child of Stefania and Peter, after some experiences abroad, has been leading the winery.
The wine of the week is Casanuova from Nittardi Vigna Doghessa 2016 Chianti Classico. This is Sangiovese 100% from a single vineyard Vigna Doghessa, at 450 m asl, with a schysty soil, that gives deep minerality and pleasing freshness. More 2016 was a perfect vintage.
But what about the combination of wine and culture? Well, the Femfert – Canali’s are art connoisseurs. And, every year an artist is invited to make two different drawings, one for the label and the other for the silky wrapping paper of the bottle. Since 1981 the artists have been several, as Hundertwasser, Corneille, Mimmo Paladino, Yoko Ono, Gunter Grass, Dario Fo, Karl Otto Gotz and Hsiao Chin.
The label of 2016 Vigna Doghessa has been drawn by Allen Jones, a kinky and aberrational British artist. Jones has made three works for Nittardi, that show three different female shapes: one for the label and two for the silky wrapping paper. It’s the first time that Nittardi can show two different types of wrapping paper, one is the official and the other is a limited, “secret edition” to keep jealously at the bottom of the cellar.
Wine tasting notes. Casanuova from Nittardi Vigna Doghessa 2016 Chianti Classico DOCG. The colour is deep and bright ruby red. On the nose, it is floral with notes of fresh flowers (violet) followed by aromas of cherries, black pepper, aromatic herbs, liquorice, juniper and cardamom. On the palate it is clean, fresh, round, with silky tannins. The blend of oak and fruit is well balanced. The wine is persistent and not overwhelming, but yet intense. At the end, this is a modern, authentic, elegant and noble Chianti Classico.
Some technical info: After fermenting in stainless steel tanks, the wine is aged in French oak tonneaux for 14 months and then 3 months more in concrete. Some months of aging in bottle before release.
Suggested pairing: aged cheeses, Tuscan typical cold cuts
Retail price: € 18 – $ 21. My rating: 90/100
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