Our Selection for Wine of the Week February 25, 2013
Swiss couple Brigitte and Bruno Widmer fell in love with an abandoned Tuscan wine estate in 1981. After only two years of ownership, the Widmers' wine ranked first in an important Chianti tasting and quickly gained international recognition. Since 1998, the Widmers' daughter, oenologist Barbara Widmer, has been overseeing both Brancaia's vineyards and winemaking. The estate has grown not only into a leader in quality for the region but also a destination. Brancaia offers visitors the chance to rent one of four apartments and experience life in a working Tuscan vineyard — almost within reach of the region's famed Sangiovese vines. Brancaia's 2009 Chianti Riserva is produced from a blend of 80 per cent Sangiovese and 20 per cent Merlot. The wine offers pleasing blackberry, blueberry and anise aromas. Up front, fruit flavors are of luscious, ripe strawberry and blackberry. Further back on the palate it offers a hint of almonds and a rich espresso note toward the finish. A generous wine with good length and drying tannins, it shows nicely now but would blossom with a few years of aging. Serve it with rustic, grilled meats or fish. It would also work well with a hearty beef stew, roast Cornish hens or a rich, vegetarian stew.