ITALIAN WINE PICK: Castello della Paneretta | Chianti Classico Riserva | DOCG | 2008 | $27 | 91 pts

Castello PenarettaAromas: dried dark fruit; cranberry; leather; hints of cinnamon
Character: dry; medium-bodied; fruit & earth balanced; firm tannins; forward acids; toasty oak; 13.5% ABV
Flavors: black cherry; dried herbs; cured tobacco; hints of peppercorn & clove
Food Pairing: medium-sharp cheeses; tomato-based pasta dishes; roasted lamb

Castello della Paneretta (The Castle of Paneretta) is located in the Chianti Classico appellation — a subregion within the broader Chianti region in Tuscany — roughly 40 miles south of Florence. The castle was built as a medieval fortress in the mid-1500s, and over subsequent centuries has served as a private residence, retreat for artists and writers, and as it is now, a working farm and winery. According to the castle’s records, winemaking on the estate began as early as the 1590s.  Today, Paneretta farms just over 50 acres under vine and produces upwards of 10,000 cases of wine each year.  It also produces olive oil from an olive grove on the estate.

Castello Penaretta 2

Castello della Paneretta

Paneretta’s vineyards and winemaking are focused primarily on two red varieties — Sangiovese and Canaiolo — and the winery’s 2008 Chianti Classico Riserva is composed of 90% the former and 10% the latter.  This is a deeply layered wine, with aromas of dried dark fruit, cranberry, leather, and cinnamon stick followed by flavors of black cherry, dried herbs, and cured tobacco, with hints of peppercorn and clove dancing along a lingering finish.  The wine is gracefully structured, with firm tannins, forward acids, and vanilla-tinged oak that mingle harmoniously on the palate.  It was aged for 18 months in oak barriques.

We found this to be a complex, balanced, and quite distinctive Chianti Classico, and of excellent quality for the price. The aromas alone captivated us for several minutes before we even took the first sip. For optimum enjoyment of the wine’s aromas and flavors, we recommend that you decant it for an hour, or so, before serving.

Availability:  Castello della Paneretta produced 1,900 cases of its Chianti Classico Riserva in 2008, and it can be found at some fine wine merchants online and at Total Wine stores nationwide. For availability in your area, visit them at

For further information on the history and wines of Castello della Paneretta, visit them virtually at


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