James Suckling 94
A beautiful, ripe wine, offering plums and chocolate, as well as tile and walnuts. Its full and layered with beautiful fruit and caressing tannins. Rock on.
The 2017 Al Passo is a blend of equal parts Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Open-knit and plaint, with soft curves, the 2017 offers tons of immediacy. Cedar, tobacco, dried herbs and macerated cherry all meld together in an inviting, mid-weight Tuscan red to drink over the next decade or so.
History of Vineyard and Winemaker:
Pier Luigi Tolaini, a native of Tuscany, immigrated to Canada in 1956. He planned to work for a few years, make some money, then go back home, buy a farm, marry his high school sweetheart and make some good wine... and not with his feet this time! It took Pierluigi 45 years before he returned with a clear vision of the high quality wine he wanted to make: one of Italy's best, no less.
In 1998 he returned to his native land and purchased some of the best land in the region of Chianti Classico in the noted commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga. He constructed, from the roots up, this state- of-the-art winery and brought together the best technology and winemakers to bring to light wines that would be a true expression of this significant region. Pier Luigi hired famed enologist Michel Rolland and Tuscan agronomist Andrea Paoletti, who put together a team that share Pierluigi's vision - to make the best wines possible with one vitally unique ingredient - the terroir of Chianti Classico's southern most commune: Castelnuovo Berardenga . A true marriage of tradition and modern technology. The belief in the "best fruit produces the best wine" is the fundamental principal of the Tolaini estate.
High density planting per hectare and low yield per plant is a proven strategy worldwide in producing excellent quality fruit. With up to 8,300 plants per hectare in the less hilly vineyards, drip irrigation for each plant, and two green harvests to pre-select the healthiest and most promising bunches on the vine, the Tolaini property produces fruit of unsurpassable quality. This fruit is evident in every mouthful of the estate's five incredible red wines. Ruggero Mazzilli is Tolaini's consulting agronomist and is based in Gaiole in Chianti where he is the owner and founder of SPEVIS (The Experimental Station for Sustainable Viticulture). Under Ruggero's supervision Panzano in Chianti became the first Bio-Distretto (Organic District) in the world, immediately followed by San Gimignano and Gaiole in Chianti. SPEVIS works with the best scientific research institutes to find new solutions to practical vineyard issues by following the principles of organic agriculture and respectful environmental practices. With Ruggero as part of the team, Tolaini will continue to cultivate the maximum expression of Chianti Classico terroir while farming organically and sustainably. Like the vineyards surrounding it, the winery at Tolaini Estate is an expression of both old and new. An optical sorter guarantees that only the healthy whole grapes make it into the fermentation vats. The best grapes from each harvest are fermented in open-top fermenters made of French Allier oak 12 units of 4500 liter capacity), a time-proven touch that increases the complexity in the wines. The generous array of tank sizes allows for individual parcels of grapes to be fermented and stored separately. These batches are kept apart through subsequent barrel aging in new French oak before blending.
Today Luca D'Attoma is the consulting oenologist and his hand is apparent starting with the 2015 vintage of Tolaini. Tolaini wines are known internationally for their impeccable quality and incredible taste. With each new vintage they continue to innovate and impress.
Tolaini WineryView all from Tolaini Winery
The harvested grapes, once debunched, go through the optical selection machine where the grapes must meet the preset criteria to pass through: any small, green or squished grapes and all debris are ejected and only the ripe whole grapes make it into the vats. The vats are cooled to 5C-10C (41F - 50F) and the grapes are added whole to each tank for a cold soak before natural selected yeast strains are added to initiate fermentation. Vinification at Tolaini is done in 26 stainless steel temperature-controlled tanks with a two chamber system, while the best grapes from each harvest are fermented in open-top fermenters made of French Allier oak (12 units of 4500 liter capacity), a time-proven touch that increases the complexity in the wines. The generous array of tank sizes allows for individual parcels of grapes to be fermented and stored separately. These batches are kept apart through subsequent barrel aging in new French oak barrels between 18-25hl before blending.