I Balzini – Wines produced with passion in the heart of Tuscany
In a border area between the Chianti Classico and the Val d’Elsa, halfway from Florence and Siena, overlooking the marvellous city of San Gimignano and its towers, for almost 40 years I Balzini has been producing long-lived, elegant wines. The winery was founded by Vincenzo D’Isanto, later joined by his wife Antonella and more recently by his daughter Diana. Since few years Diana is leading the family business.
Vincenzo had a clear objective in mind from the beginning: aiming for the highest quality. His project originated on the wave of the so-called Super Tuscan wines, i.e. innovative wines made in Tuscany to compete with the finest wines worldwide. Vincenzo had no previous experience in winemaking. This means he was not a producer of simple and diluted wines, that were sold in the glass flask in the ‘70s. He started from scratch hiring professionals and choosing grape varieties, that could best grow in his estate.
The land in the vineyards is rich in calcareous fossils of prehistoric oysters between layers of clay and yellow sands. Cabernet and Merlot were planted, as well as some local Sangiovese. The idea behind this choice is not so much to follow a passing fashion but to find the varieties that could best express the potential of a specific terroir, kissed by the sun, in an uncontaminated environment rich in history.
From 8 hectares of vineyards, conducted organically, today 6 different wines are produced, each named after a colour. Cabernet, Merlot and Sangiovese play the role of interpreters of the natural characteristics of the vineyard and the territory in which they grow.
I Balzini’s wines have high flavour intensity and complexity, as many great Tuscan wines. They benefit from wood ageing and improve with further bottle ageing. Time is a fundamental factor of their personality, as evidenced by the 1998 vintage de I Balzini White Label that I tasted in March 2019.
I Balzini White Label 1998 IGT Colli della Toscana Centrale
Blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, hand-harvested and fermented with controlled temperature and matured for one year in French barriques. It was deep garnet red and had jammy aromas with layers of red cherry, plum, orange peel, spices and tobacco. The taste is surprisingly fresh with a recognizable Sangiovese character that enhances elegance more than strength. The tannins are ripe and tasty and have a velvety and consistent texture, which gives body to the wine. It boasts a sustained savoury finish, that is really impressive. Perfect pairing with hard cheese or game.
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