Wines to Seek Out
Rodáno's three Chianti Classico wines deserve hearty pairings: Tuscan white bean soup with black kale, or smoked babyback ribs, are just two that come to mind. I have not sampled the singular Merlot called "Poggialupi."
Rodáno Chianti Classico
I agree with Pozzesi on this: you can learn a lot about a winery by tasting their cheapest wine first. What Rodáno's annata Chianti Classico says is that Pozzesi's minimal-intervention approach pays dividends in the form of an expressive, delicious and dangerously drinkable Chianti Classico. It may be one of the most savory versions of Chianti Classico, too, with a distinct leathery aroma stealing the headline of the wine's exceptional bouquet. This wine includes a small portion of Canaialo and Colorino, but there is no mistaking the "Sangiovese-ness" of its soul.
Rodáno "Bottesola" No. 36 Chianti Classico
Translated from Italian, "Bottesola" simply means a single botti wine cask. This wine — whose release is limited to only certain years of Pozzesi's choosing — celebrates a singular expression of Sangiovese from a single cask before the annata wine is blended. In 2016, that cask was No. 36, which showed a superb tension and a slightly smoky flavor. For Pozzesi, the wine embodies the spirit of the vintage. "If you add this wine to the rest of the blend, nothing will change," he said.
"It is an interesting idea," I said.
He shrugged and smiled. "Maybe it is a stupid idea."
Rodáno "Vigna Viacosta" Chianti Classico Riserva
One of the great sleeper wines of Italy. Pozzesi's best vines lie in the Viacosta vineyard, where older vines with more genetic diversity — and southern exposure — lead to a wine of remarkable depth and focus. The vintages I have tried all carry a distinct tobacco-like edge to them, with a lovely meatiness at their core. In cooler years, the wine can be remarkably light-bodied while still packing a potent set of flavors. After the 2004 vintage, Pozzesi has relied entirely on botti casks for aging this wine, but even the 1997, which was aged partially in barrique, has retained much of its balance and botanical beauty. This wine also includes a small portion of Canaialo and Colorino. Under certain conditions, Pozzesi will opt to not release Viacosta, and instead, it goes into bolstering the annata Chianti Classico.