Saturday, July 23, 2016

Wine, Olive Oil and Regency at Principe Corsini

Principe Corsini: Wine and a Rich, Regal History 

Principe Corsini Villa Le Corti Winery
Chianti, Tuscany
"I try to make elegant wines, where refinement prevails over excess structure, wines that subtly seduce like a beautiful landscape, or the exchange of two people who use the same nuances in their speech, their glances. Wines that invite you to the table, to enjoy the company. Wines to drink.” ~Duccio Corsini
Corsini Family Crest at Principe Corsini Winery

Principe Corsini Winery
Principe Corsini has two locations in Tuscany, Italy: Villa Le Corti in Chianti, and Tenuta Marsiliana in Maremma. Duccio Corsini, is the Grand Innovator or Founder of Principe Corsini. At both of their locations, they produce remarkable wines. All of their Chiantis bear the classic Chianti insignia, the black DOCG rooster, which distinguishes them from standard Chianti. They make red, white and rose wines.  

Le Corti Olio
Extravergine di Oliva DOP
Chianti Classico

Principe Corsini also produces unique, quality, organic olive oil on approximately 70 hectares of land and 13,000 olive trees.  The olives are all completely cultivated and harvested by hand to guarantee maximum quality. When visiting, I was told that they use traditional methods and technologies which requires approximately 35 people about 45 days to harvest the grapes. Lots of love and hard work goes into this organic and authentic process. The olive oil is conserved in ancient terracotta vessels called orci in one of the oldest and largest orciaie, or traditional olive oil storage areas, in the Chianti Classico territory.  Principe Corsini produces an Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a DOP “Chianti Classico”, a certified organic extra virgin olive oil.


We would be remiss if we did not mention the beautiful grounds and gardens at Principe Corsini. Words cannot describe their breathtaking landscape-one in which I always feel right at home.  Their winery is the true essence of Tuscany and Chianti.  Take a look:

Lorenzo Corsini
Papa Clemente XII
Principe Corsini Family
The history of the Principe Corsini family spans over nine centuries. The Corsini's have made extensive contributions in almost every aspect of life.  From merchants and bankers to politicians and clergymen, the Corsini family has left their mark in trade, finance, real estate, politics, religion and agriculture. True patrons of Italian arts and architecture, the Corsini family is credited with constructing two Florence palaces (Palazzo Corsini in Florence and Via del Prato), the chapel of the Church of Carmine and the Gentilizia Gallery and more.  One of the most influential and notorious contributions in this family's history, is the commissioning of the world renowned  Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain in Rome) by Lorenzo Corsini. In 1730, Lorenzo Corsini was made Pope Clemente XII and served as Pope for ten years.  He is also recognized as the Founder of the Capitolini Museums, modernizing the churches of San Giovanni in Laterano and Santa Maria Maggiore, the construction of the Palazzo della Consulta in Rome, and the ports in Anzio, Ravenna, and Ancona.  There is still so much more.  The Corsini family has a remarkable history and the legacy continues.

Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain, Rome)
The Wining Hour's Principe Corsini Wine Tasting 
We visited Principe Corsini's Villa Le Corti in Chianti and had a wonderful experience.  Here's what we tasted:

Principe Corsini Rosé Sparkling Spumante
What a great way to begin a wine tasting!  We tasted Principe Cortini's vibrant and refreshing Rosé Spumante.  I just LOVE bubbly, and when it's a sparkling Sangiovese...I just can't go wrong. This Rosé was made using the  Metodo Charmat, or Charmat Method, in which there is a soft pressing of the grapes (Sangiovese), which are fermented for 24 days at low temperature and then undergo a secondary fermentation for 12 weeks and elevage on yeasts for 1 month. This helps to preserve the aromas and effervescence in this tasty spumante rosé. Principe Cortini's Sparkling Rosato was light pink and aromatic with a floral bouquet of rose petals, citrus blossoms and strawberries.  The palate was delighted by delicious pink grapefruit, watermelon, wild strawberry and raspberries, which provided the perfect balance of acidity and fruit. Le Corti's Rosé Spumante was light, with low tannins and 11.5% ABV.  It would be great solo, as an aperitivo, or to pair with soft cheeses, sushi, shellfish, vegetables and salads.  

Le Corti Chianti Classico (DOCG)

According to the winery, "Le Corti is the classic “Vintage” Chianti of the winery, and it is produced with Sangiovese grapes and a small percentage of Colorino. The wine represents a priceless heritage for the winery, interpreting the elegance of Chianti Classico with a candid and sincere personality." Principe Corsini uses 95% Sangiovese grapes, which is more than the required amount to meet Chianti classifications and standards. Le Corti Chianti Classico was aged in vitrified cement vats for 12 months, and part in large wood casks. In terms of tasting notes, Le Corti's Chianti Classico was deep ruby and smelled of cherries and juicy blueberries.  The palate had notes of cinnamon and dark red fruits like black cherry and plum. Principe Corsini's Chianti Classico is a good medium-bodied, smooth and supple tannic wine with 13.5% ABV. Semi-seasoned cheeses, tomato-based dishes, pork or lamb make for a good pairing for the acidity in this Chianti Classico wine. Tuscan salume (cured meats) and formaggi (cheeses) would work as well.

Cortevecchia Chianti Classico Riserva (DOCG)

Cortevecchia Chianti Classico Riserva is a red wine that consists predominantly of Sangiovese (95%), and of the lesser-known Tuscan Canaiolo and Colorino grapes (5%).  The 'Riserva' title is only given to those Chianti wines that have been aged for 24 months before commercial release. Cortevecchia was aged in large French Oak casks and part in tonneaux, then for 6 months more in the bottle. This Chianti Classico Riserva was dark red, with complex aromas of violets, vanilla, stewed plums and pepper. The palate led with black cherry, and finished with pomegranate and tart cherries. This wine had a 14% ABV and proved to be a true expression of its territory. Cortevecchia will pair with more complex dishes, lasagna, beef, game or wild boar. Regional cheeses such as pecorino, served with honey, would be delightful! 

Principe Corsini makes several other delicious wines (Vermentino, Zac, Birillo, Marsiliana, Camporsino, Vin Santo) that were not included in this tasting.  However, we were able to taste and score a bottle of their star:

Le Corti Don Tomasso Gran Selezione Chianti Classico (DOCG)
Don Tomasso is the nickname for Principi Corsini's Founder, Duccio Corsini.  Don Tomasso Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is a rich, blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. It was aged primarily in
new barriques and then older barriques for 18 months and then 12 months in the bottle.  It was not until the 2010 vintage that 'Don Tommaso Chianti Classico' began being labeled as 'Gran Selezione.' We tasted their 2011 vintage.  This wine receives many high ratings and awards. It certainly is grand! Don Tomasso Chianti Classico has an intense ruby appearance, with a nose of black currant and black cherry.  The palate explodes with spice and fruity, dark blackberry and plum, violets, nutmeg and chocolate. Don Tomasso Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is a juicy, full-bodied wine with rich tannins and a culminating finish.  This 15% ABV packs a punch and would pair well with mushroom dishes.  The Tuscan region is known for it's tartufo bianco e tartufo nero, or white and black truffles, so any pasta with a mushroom based sauce would be a good match.  Other pairing options include steak, such as Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine steak), pork, game and mature or hard cheeses.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time and tasting at Principe Corsini's Villa Le Conti, as it entertained and educated both our palate and our mind. 

If traveling to the Tuscan countryside, do not miss Principe Corsini.  Of course, when traveling to Rome, do not miss the Trevi Fountain, which is linked to the Corsini family.

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