The "philosophy" of Stefano Chioccioli, Italian great wine maker

As a sommelier I often follow the events organized by the Italian Sommelier Association in my region, Friuli Venezia Giulia (AIS Fvg). Stefano Chioccioli, one of the most acclaimed Italian oenologist was recently guest of the association in order to  present some of the wines that bare his signature. Chioccioli is in the world of wine from over 25 years. After graduating in Agricolture Science in 1984, he obtained the title of  agronomist and oenologist and took his first steps at the famous winery Ruffino in the Chianti area (Tuscany) with managerial duties from 1985 to 1992.  He has then established his own company, Stefano Chioccioli Srl, and now works as viticulture-wine consultant for several wineries in Italy, in France, Switzerland and Hungary.  Thanks to his "touch" the wines he follows obtain each year important reviews from the wine experts all over the world. This event was than an occasion to discover what is Chioccioli's wine secret.
From the left: wine producer Andrea Felluga, Stefano Chioccioli, Sommeliers
representatives AIS Fvg Gianni Ottogalli and Alessandro Pareschi
His "vision" begins in the vineyards. The main target of Chioccioli's work is to find the balance between the originality of a territory, expressed through its soil and climatic characteristics, and  technical knowledge.  The secret is working to obtain the perfect grape ripening. Especially for the reds, said Chioccioli,  the ripeness of  grapes allows to reach a good amount of anthocyanins and  the polymerization of the polyphenols. In this way, grapeseeds get brown and taste of coffee and cocoa. This is also possible reducing the yield per plant and per hectare, thus concentrating the aromas in the grapes. In the cellar a long maceration on the skins follows, and the maturation continues in barriques, which, according to Chioccioli, are necessary for  the oxigenation, thus ripening the polyphenols and  giving color, smoothness and long life to red wines.  His technique is aimed to obtain harmonious wines, extracting the sweet and fruity components of the grapes,  and not those dry and bitter.  
Both in the vineyards and in the cellar there is the maximum attention to details, and a careful selection of the grapes is made during the harvest and immediately after. Chioccioli has defined his way of working  "Goldsmith's oenology".  According to him,  however, the real challenge lies in the vineyards, where the "jewels" grow and where he works to achieve the essence of a grape variety and the best quality expression of a territory.  For this reason he decided to guide us in a tasting of nine wines mostly obtained from single grape varieties. These are the wines we tasted and the tasting notes I took. 

Sauska Tokaj 2009 (white dry wine- blend of Furmint and Sauvignon)
The color is straw yellow with green reflections, very bright. The nose is very intense, fresh, it reminds of  tropical and citrus fruits, dry aromatic herbs, like sage and rosemary, and it's also mineral. The taste is fresh, dry, smooth with a long mineral finish.

Masseria Li Veli - Montecoco Salento 2009 (red wine - Primitivo)
The color is deep red with a purplish rim. The nose is very rich with hints of macerated fruits, especially blackberry, cherry and plum, together with balsamic notes of licorice and mint. It also reminds of damp soil (humus) and, after resting in the glass, it develops hints of dark chocolate and Indian ink. The taste is wide and full bodied, smooth, dry and strong. It is a wine "to bite".

Firriato - Cava Nera Rosso Etna 2008 (red -  Nerello Mascalese 80%, Nerello Cappuccio 20%)
The color is bright, light red with purplish reflections. The nose is complex and fine, with notes of cooked tomatoes with oregano (Ottogalli), ripe red fruits (cranberry and redcurrant), elder, red onion, rhubarb, bitter licorice, aromatic herbs and dry brush. The taste is fresh with a lively tannin, pretty smooth and mineral.

Barba - Montepulciano Vigna Franca Abruzzo 2007 (red)
Dark vivid red color with a deep purple rim. The texture is thick as ink and syrup. The nose is intense and impenetrable with hints of cherries in alcohol and dark chocolate ( Ferrero "Mon chéri"), licorice and fur. The taste is full, fresh, persistent with a young vivid tannin. Harsh notes ahead, not yet balanced.

Livio Felluga - Rosso Sossò 2007 (red - blend of Refosco dal p.r., Merlot, Pignolo)
Dark full red color, purple rim. Complex, refined and  rich nose, with hints of cocoa, cherry, dark tobacco, balsamic notes of mint and licorice ( "Morositas" candy), fresh and mineral. The taste is strong, dry, very fresh and smooth, with velvety and compact tannins. Has a long life ahead.

Chateaux La Baronne - Piece de Roche Languedoc 2006 (red - Carignan)
Dark full red color with purple reflections. Very complex  nose, hints of spices (pepper), beetroot, macerated dark fruits, blackberry jam, tobacco, licorice, mineral (stone), graphite. Very fresh taste, dry, warm in alcohol, the sip is lean with sharp tannins, still  a very young wine.

Borgo La Caccia - Carmenoire Alto Mincio Rosso 2006 (red)
Dark impenetrable red color, with a purplish rim. Complex and intense on the nose, notes typical of the grape variety like "goudron" (tar),  geranium, bitter licorice, horseradish, aromatic herbs,  burned wood, humus,  raw meat,  liver, carob, and spices (clove).  The taste is dry, fresh, warm in alcohol, persistent. Vivid tannins, young.

Fanti San Filippo - Brunello di Montalcino 2006 (red - Sangiovese)
Ruby bright red color. More evolved nose, hints of plum and cherry in alcohol, cherry jam, light tobacco, coffee, cocoa, nutmeg, walnut, humus, moss. The taste is rich, full bodied, warm (alcohol), dry, with a smoother tannin. Still a very young wine. Has a long life ahead.

Scacciadiavoli - Sagrantino di Montefalco 2006 (red)
Full ruby red color with purplish reflections. The nose is complex and evolved with hints of plum jam and fruits  in alcohol, spices (nutmeg), mineral and balsamic notes, tobacco, Indian ink, coffee, cocoa, humus and  mushrooms. The sip is powerful, very tannic, astringent, full bodied and pretty smooth ( very young). Dry and warm (alcohol) with a very long finish.

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