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New Orleans, LA, 70119
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swirl and savor

Rocca Delle Macie, Chianti at It's Best

Beth Ribblett

Rocca Delle Macie is considered a young winery when looking at the history of most of their Tuscan neighbors. But in their short 37 years they have managed to become one of the most highly regarded producers in the Chianti Classico region. Founded by spaghetti western star, Italo Zingarelli, the winery is still family owned and operated and produces a stellar lineup of wines.

Located in Castellina in Chianti, they have built their reputation on affordable and approachable Chianti Classico and Riserva, but also produce award winning Super Tuscans including the Ser Gioveto and Roccato. I tasted the whole line up of wines last week with Jimmy Buckle of Palm Bay Imports to chose our wines for our upcoming tasting on Tuesday with Rocca Delle Macie's Vito Candela. Presented with 8 amazing wines, it was hard to narrow it down to 6 for the tasting, but I decided to stick with what these guys do best, Sangiovese. From the light and easy Rubizzo to the seriously structured Roccato, you experience the many faces of this grape from the best production areas in Tuscany.

If I had to pick a favorite from the group, it would have to be the 2005 Chianti Classico Riserva. It is 90% Sangiovese with a touch of Merlot and Cabernet, that spends 2 years in French oak and a minimum of 3 months in bottle before they release it. It's got everything a great Chianti should have; beautiful cherry fruit with a slight tobacco note, a richness in the mouth, nice structure without being overly dry and tannic, the wine over delivers for the price.

But the Roccato Super Tuscan was a huge favorite among the tasters as well, showcasing the classic combination of Sangiovese and Cabernet. One of their premier high scorers with multiple Tre Bicchieri awards under its belt, this shows terrific red fruits with spice notes, cocoa, vanilla and rich fig and coffee.

So there will be something for everyone at this tasting, except white wine lovers will feel a little cheated. Being a classic Tuscan producer, the will only be one white wine, the Occhio a Vento which showcases the Vermentino grape. Call if you are interested in attending, we're limiting it to 40 people and the cost is $12. 504.304.0635, Tuesday 1/20, 6:30pm.