Terra di Seta

Comfortably nestled in the upper-echelons of any list aiming to rank wineries by the sheer beauty of their surroundings is Tuscany’s Terra di Seta, the site of one of my last trips before being shut-down by Covid-19.  Nestled among rolling Tuscan hills of such magnificent beauty as to literally take your breath away, the Terra di Seta winery is a hidden jewel crying out for discovery.  After many years of writing about and recommending their well-priced and superbly made wines, I was finally able to see for myself where the magic was created.  The level of hospitality, wine, food and company was so enjoyable as to make the trip well-worth anyone’s time, regardless of whether you “are in the area” or not.  With another kosher winery (Cantina Giuliana) located less than two hours away, a day trip in which one can knock of two-thirds of Europe’s fully kosher wineries should be on anyone’s to-do list.  Gorgeous countryside, excellent wines and delightful kosher food served at both winery’s onsite restaurants, it’s a hard to beat experience, especially when coupled with the uber-enjoyable company of the respective hosts.




The Winery
The winery resides in Castelnuovo Berardenga located within Tuscany’s Siena province (and right outside the eponymously named city), Tierra di Seta was founded in 2001 by the husband wife team of Daniele Della Seta and his wife Maria Pellegrini.  Reached by driving up a narrow gravel road under the cover of a dense canopy of ancient oak trees, the hill crests to reveal an incredible panoramic vista of rolling hills covered with lush vineyards and grooves of gnarly olive trees with some towering and regal looking cypress trees here and there.  While a picture may be worth 1,000 words, my pictures simply do not come close to doing the natural beauty any sort of justice – you must see it for yourselves.

Covering a Tuscan hilltop, the property encompasses approximately 120 acres, with 40 dedicated to vineyards (plus another 12 to come) and the rest covered with dense forest planted with oak trees and ancient olive groves.  A biologist by profession (performing research at the nearby University of Siena), Daniele can trace his Roman-Jewish roots back more than 1,000 years while Maria’s is a third-generation winemaker, whose family has been making quality wine in the region for decades.  Having dreamed of owning a winery for decades, Terra di Seta was truly a dream come true for Maria when, following Daniele’s appointment to the nearby University of Sienna, the couple acquired the property (which was billed as an organic farm and included vineyards and a 400 year old stone house) and started building a winery and planting additional vineyards.  In a true sign of Jewish bashert (Yiddish for “destiny”), Adam Montefiore writes that following the purchase, the couple was amazed to discover that Daniele’s uncle had been hidden away as a young Jewish child during World War II in that very same stone house.

Following their first commercial vintage in 2007, they made the decision to convert to a fully-kosher production with the next (2008) vintage.  While primarily driven by the economic reasoning that a fully-kosher Italian winery would give them a competitive edge by controlling a niche market, the couple were also inspired by the connection to Daniele’s ancient Jewish roots.  The winery’s name is derived from their connection to the land (Terra means soil, land and earth in Italian) and the family’s name – Seta (which means silk in Italian).  The winery is focused on showcasing the wide range and diversity of Chianti’s primary grape – Sangiovese and they currently produce approximately 45,000 bottles annually.  70% of their current production is currently destined for the kosher market with the remaining 30% currently being sold into the general (and local) marketplace.  As behooves an Italian winery with such illustrious roots, a tremendous amount of pride is taking in ground from which the wine is produced, to such an extent that each bottle is labeled with the exact latitude and longitude of the wine’s source.

Given the winery’s capacity to produce up to 100,000 bottles, Daniele and Maria are planning to continue the careful growth over the coming years as word continues to spread and demand increases.  Daniele is extremely hands-on in all aspects of the winery, including the actual winemaking (where the “hands-on” aspect is lent a helping hand by his shomer-Shabbat mashgiach (who pulls double duty in the restaurant)), where he benefits from the sage consulting advice of winemaker Enrico Paternoster.  Enrico is a close personal friend of the family who happens to be a professor at Instituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige, one of Italy’s most prestigious wine colleges (where Enrico himself was trained many years ago) while also advising a number of other prestigious Italian wineries.  Maria is in charge of tending to the vineyards, with the consulting assistance of a well-known agronomist who specializes in organic vineyards.  Indicative of the couple’s aesthetic sensibilities, in lieu of taped barrels and the customary “Do Not Touch” signs that often adorn the working area of wineries not solely operated by Sabbath-observant Jews, the winery is walled off by a huge plate of glass, ensuring beauty’s retention while permitting access only to those authorized to handle the wine.

The Region
Terra di Seta is currently producing wine across five different labels, but before we get into the specifics of the individual wines, a few words about the region.  Similar to France, Spain and the rest of Europe’s “Old-World” wine growing regions, wines are labeled by the territory in which they are grown, with Terra di Seta’s wines all coming from the Chianti Classico region – a completely different designation that the similar sounding Chianti.  While the Chianti designation can be given to wines grown in a number of different regions across Italy, Chianti Classico can only be granted to those sourced from a far more limited and specific area (which includes Terra di Seta’s vineyards).  For some additional detail on Italy’s wine-growing rules and regions, you can check out my older newsletter on the topic).

According to the winery, the area was first civilized by the Etruscans, who left behind many traces of their wine-making activity and who were followed by the Romans.  Chianti’s first wine-related documentation dates back to 1398 and the first appearance of “rules” relating to the production of wine came in 1716 from the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de’ Medici.  Since that time all wine production in the region has been regulated by the Chianti Classico Consortium, with “Classico” meaning “the first” or “original”.

Chianti covers the vast majority of Tuscany and includes within its boundaries several overlapping DOC and DOCG regions, including the DOCG Chianti Classico.  As befitting the higher-ranker and more tightly-controlled DOCG, Chianti Classico wines (1) require a higher percentage of Sangiovese than Chianti (80% v. Chianti’s 70-75%), (2) prohibit the inclusion of white varietals and (3) undergo far more rigorous testing before are released under the coveted DOCG label.  The consortium of producers charged with overseeing the designation recently (for Europe, in 2014) added a new designation for Chianti Classico – Gran Selezione, designated as the highest classification and joining “Classico” and “Riserva” as designations intended to convey the quality of the wine.  Terra di Seta’s first Graz Selezione was actually in the 2011 vintage, three whole years before the designation received official approval.  To be labeled Gran Selezione, the grapes have to be the winery’s best and obviously be sourced solely from the Chianti Classico region and the wine is required to have spent a minimum of 30 months aging in the winery’s cellar (in a combination of bottle and barrel).

The Wines
The winery is currently producing five different wines.  The entry level Meshi, a Rose produced from 100% Sangiovese in the saignee method which was produced form the 2014-2016 and 2018 vintages (there wasn’t enough juice in 2017).  Next in line is the Toscana, also made from 100% Sangiovese (prior vintages included a small percentage of another Tuscan varietal) which was produced every year from 2008 – 2018.

The winery’s workhouse is their Chianti Classico, which is aged for at least 12 months in oak and was also produced every vintage year since 2008.  The Riserva is produced from higher-quality grapes than the Chianti Classico and aged at least 18 months in oak (plus 3 more in the bottle) and was produced for 2009, 2011-2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018.  Sourced from 100% organic Sangiovese grapes, the wine is produced from older vines located in a plot with a relatively lower yield.

Last up is the flagship Assai (designated as a Gran Selezione) which is aged for 30 months (plus 3 more in the bottle) and must clock in at least with 13% AbV.  Assai means “much more” in Italian, which is pretty self-explanatory for a winery’s flagship product.  Even through the designation didn’t become official until 2014, Terra di Seta was able to hit the requirements in 2010 and produced their first Assai for the 2011 vintage, followed by 2012-2013 and then 2015, 2016 and 2018.

As noted above, Terra di Seta is more than a winery.  It is a travel destination onto itself, providing delightful accommodations from which to enjoy all that Tuscany has to offer.  There are five well-appointed apartments to choose from, all situated around a gorgeous infinity pool overlooking breathtaking vistas.  The winery also has an on-site kosher dairy restaurant, serving delicious meals.  Showcasing true “hyper-locale” cuisine, much of the restaurant’s yield is sourced from Maria’s garden, conveniently situated two steps from the kitchen.  Adding to the bounty are delicious olive oil and honey, both made on-premise and available to take home (I regret purchasing only a single bottle).

After years of living in the shadows, Italian wines are finally having their day in the kosher wine market sun, with more and more interest being shined towards this region, long neglected by the kosher wine world.  After years of having the planned niche market to themselves, growing interest in Terra di Seta is accompanied by the rise in new Italian options, including Tuscany’s other fully kosher winery – located just a few hours away (stay tuned for a coming newsletter).  Many importers and négociants are producing some really exciting Italian wines across a wide range of regions and producers, making the coming year(s) a potential bonanza for kosher wine lovers.  While historically the vast range of indigenous grapes, designations and appellations may have hampered inroads for the kosher wine market, the growing interest and sophistication of kosher wine consumers is paving the way for explosive growth in this corner of the globe, long renowned for its wine-making history.  Some really great stuff is coming and I am super-excited about it and anticipate that Terra di Seta will continue to lead the way with its amazing wines and incredible hospitality.


Terra di Seta, Meshi, 2019:  Along with many of the 2019 Rose wine options, the Meshi wasn’t quite up to snuff with prior years., falling apart more quickly that one could finish the bottle.  With a slightly sweet nose of subtle summer fruits, rosewater and orange citrus notes, the wine showcases decent acidity on first attack, but the 14% AbV wears it down and as the wine warms it starts to feel a little flabby.  Well-made and enjoyable if consumed cold and over the course of 45 minutes or so, but don’t let it linger and it won’t survive the night.

Terra di Seta, Toscana, 2018:  Made from 100% Sangiovese, the wine represents the winery’s entry-level efforts (the wine retails for approximately 9€ in Europe).  Prior to moving to 100% Sangiovese, the wine was a blend that included Canaiolo – a spicy Tuscan grape which, until the late 19th century was Chianti’s main grape variety.  Terra di Sea has produced the wine every year from 2008, other than the 2015 which they skipped.  The wine spends two months in used French oak barrels (a mix of barriques and 500 liter barrels which is moving to primarily 500 liter barrels starting with the 2019 vintage).  Well priced and good acidity with nicely integrated tannins, well balanced with red fruit and rounded out with earthy minerals, truffles, plum and roasted herbs. Opens a little hot but give it 20 minutes or so and it recedes.  14.5% AbV and organic wine.  Drink now.


Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, 2018:  Back in the day when there was far less selection, wines like these – well made, well priced, aging ability and great with a large variety of dishes, were discussed with reverence (think older vintages of the Galil Mountain Yiron).  Without continuing to harp on one of this week’s primary themes, it is a crying shame at how far below the radar Terra di Seta wines continue to fly.  Along with ElviWine’s Herenza, it remains a constant well-priced joy nearly every year.  While not as excellent a year for Chianti Classico as 2016, 2018 was a close second and it shows in this delicious and delightful well-balanced and layered wine that is delicious now while having the ability to mature over the next few years as well and showcasing classic Chianti notes.  Opening with a bright and aromatic nose loaded with earthy notes of wild mushrooms, wet forest floor, well-worn leather and roasted herbs along with rich dark fruit, dark chocolate and warm spices.  Delightful acidity backs up the medium to full bodied palate where plenty of rich bright fruit, meaty mushrooms, slate pencil, more chocolate and fresh-ground coffee beans are supported by balancing savory tannins with added subtle nuance of toasty oak and notes of smoke and fresh-rolled cigar all the way through a lingering finish.  The nuances become stronger as the wine gets more air, providing more complexity as the evening wears on.  Drink now (with 30-45 minutes of air) through 2026.


Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, 2017:  As usual for this wine, Sangiovese with a hint (5%) of Cabernet Sauvignon added to the wine before being aged in used French oak barrels for 12 months.  A bright nose opens redolent with rich, and mostly red, fruits, along with chocolate and earthy minerals, along with sweet spices much of which continues on the medium to full bodied palate where the fruit needs an hour or so of decanting before settling down, after which the earthy minerals, roasted herbs and floral notes shine and help to balance things out.  Nicely integrated with some power, well balanced, although a slight step down in quality after the 2015 and 2016 vintages.  Was a tough year in the vineyards where they lost nearly 50% of their fruit to marauding animals; so, the lower yield offered less flexibility which resulted in somewhat lower quality.  15% AbV. Drink now and give the wine at least an hour in the decanter to settle down (but I’d go for the 2016 or 2018 if you have the option).


Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, 2016:  As usual, a hidden gem that punches well above its weight (er, price) class and one of the better vintages for this wine.  95% Sangiovese blended with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is rich and layered, with plenty of acidity yielding a bright and lively palate backed by good tannic structure that carries the wine through and bodes well for its future development.  Rich black cherries and tart raspberries are backed by sweet herbs, rich forest floor, black pepper and toasty oak.  On the initial nose and palate, the fruit stands out more than you’d expect but with a bit of time in the glass the fruit recedes a bit and one is rewarded with notes of smoky oak will come through given the wine a delightful complexity that can (and should) be savored.  The medium to full bodied palate has more rich fruit that is settling down nicely and, despite the somewhat high 15% AbV, balancing out the earthy minerals, toasty oak, saline olives, roasted mushrooms and fresh-cured tobacco leaf.  Initially quite searing tannins have matured a bit, providing supple backbone to this rich wine, while still having plenty of gas left in the tank to carry the wine as it continues to evolve over the next couple years.  Elegant and delightful.  Drink now through 2026.

Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Riserva, 2016:  Representing the vintage’s overall high-quality throughout the region, the wine showcases elegance and power.  As always, 100% Sangiovese which spent 18 months in 40% new French oak, clocking in at 15% AbV.  Rich and voluptuous, the wine needs time to come together and settle time but showcases good structure on somewhat rustic tannins and plenty of fresh red fruit alongside oak, cedarwood, freshly rolled cigars, dark chocolate and a pleasing herbacousness that adds depth and sophistication.  The wine is just entering its drinking window but would benefit from another six months or so of maturing before enjoying (with 60-90 minutes of decanting) through 2029.

Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Assai, Gran Selezione, 2016 [Barrel Sample]:  As my readers know, given a wine’s propensity for change and development throughout the barrel-aging process, I don’t publish my impressions of a wine until it has been bottled and this wine is no different.  When I tasted it back in September 2019, the wine had already been in its barrel for 8 months and is expected to be bottled around January-February of this year.

Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, 2015:  As usual, 95% Sangiovese with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon blended in, which spent 12 months in used French oak barrels.  A great representation of the region, with classic Chianti notes of slightly sour red cherries, earthy minerals, slightly sweet and sun-kissed herbs, floral notes, tobacco leaf, worn leather, lead pencil and freshly-turned forest floor with some peppery notes and warm sweet spices providing lovely complexity as the layered wine evolves in the glass.  Slightly extracted with somewhat rustic tannins but with nicely balancing acidity is backed by elegant tannins that provide a solid backbone for this delightfully enjoyable and well-balanced wine whose finish lingers long.  Subtle nuances of cedar wood, smoky notes, espresso, slate minerals, tobacco, , garrigue and a pleasing saline bitterness that rises on the finish add nuanced complexity to this delicious wine, making slow enjoyment a must.  14.5% AbV and drinking lovely now with about 30 minutes of air, the wine will improve over the next 12 months or so and should continue to evolve through 2025, maybe longer.


Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Riserva, DOCG, 2015:  100% Sangiovese sourced from the Estate Winery’s sloped vineyards, the wine is rich, deep and powerful with well-integrated yet robust tannins backing up deep and rich black fruits with plenty of earthy mineral, wet forest floor and less sweet fruit than the 2015 version.  Warm spices, black pepper and fresh-turned earth are well represented along with the rich and approachable near-sweet fruit backed by notes of dried lavender, roasted Mediterranean herbs and hints of toasty oak.  Aged for 18 months in ~40% new French 500-liter oak barrels, the wine is blessed with vibrant acidity that keeps things lively and allows the 15% AbV to remain less noticeable while yielding an elegance somewhat lacking from its younger and more rustic sibling.  Bramble, earthy minerals, dried mushrooms and more sweet herbs provide plenty of nuance and balance to the lovely fruit while a subtle whiff of balsamic vinegar brings delightful complexity through the lingering finish.  Really lovely and awesome with food, the wine needs an hour or more of decanting at this point and will cellar nicely through 2027, maybe longer.


Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Assai, Gran Selezione, 2015 [Advance Tasting]:  As would be expected from the flagship wine of any self-respecting Italian winery, the wine is closed and brooding and should be left alone for a few years.  100% Sangiovese which was aged in new French oak barrels for 24 months.  At this stage, the only way to really appreciate what lies beneath is hours of decanting.  Then you are rewarded with an expressive nose of dark plums, slightly sour cherries, roasted herbs, backed by earthy notes of truffles, brown spices, graphite, sweet cedar wood, smoke and hints of tar.  The full bodied and extracted palate is plush, complex and layered, opening up over the course of many hours to reveal layers of extracted dark fruits, sweet herbs, saddle leather, tobacco and roasted espresso beans, all wrapped around impenetrable tannins and backed by lovely acidity.  A long lingering finish showcases earthy minerals, smoke-tinged oak and more cigar-box notes.  15% AbV.  Give it the time it needs, and you will be rewarded with elegance and excellence – a beautiful wine meant for sharing with friends.  Drink 2023 through 2032 (if you decide to open now, give it at least three hours in the decanter).

Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, 2014:  As always, the winery’s entry-level wine showcase characteristic Chianti notes while presenting as a well-made and balanced wine.  The win’s popular pricing is simply the cherry on top, with rich dark fruit on both the nose and palate, together with fresh-turned earth, a whiff of barnyard and nuanced aromas of fresh-rolled cigars, dark chocolate and well-worn leather.  Rich and unctuous, give the wine some time and the fruit cedes top billing to the tertiary notes, with graphite, tar and smoke all contributing to the ongoing complexity that pleases without requiring any real thought or sophistication.  A great bottle for right now that can and should be enjoyed over the next 12 months or so.

Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, 2013:  As every year, the 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon blend spent 12 months in aged French oak barrels.  While starting to power down, the wine still showcases bright red fruit tinged with blacker notes, while allowing the earthy notes of loam, mushrooms, pencil shavings and barnyard to showcase the nuance and complexity of a wine twice its price.  Gripping tannins still pull their weight alongside the lovely acidity, but it is time to drink this one up as the balance is a little off and the lingering bitterness on the finish isn’t as pleasing as it was 18 months ago.  14% AbV.  Drink now and over the next 6 months or so.


Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Riserva, DOCG, 2013:  Holding up far better than its junior partner, the wine showcases sweet red fruit  nicely balanced with wet earth, pungent truffles, pleasing herbacousness that adds an intriguing balance to the red fruit while backed by some toasty oak.  Really nice right now – a real treat, well made, balanced, good acidity and akin to the 2016 and better than the 2015.  Just delicious. 14.5% AbV.  100% Sangiovese which spent 18 months in used French oak.

Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Assai, Gran Selezione, 2013:  As usual, the wine is 100% Sangiovese which are sourced from the winery’s best fruit, yielding an impeccably balanced, well made and deliciously structured wine.  Considered the “current vintage”, the wine was aged in French oak and clocking in at 14.5% AbV, this may be one of my favorite vintages to date of this wine, and it hasn’t even reached its prime drinking window yet!  With an aromatic nose combining rich and tart fruits, earthy minerals, wet leaves, roasted mushroom, grilled meat and sun-kissed herbs, it’s an explosion of umami that continues onto the full bodied and somewhat extracted but oh-so elegant full-bodied palate.  Rich, layered and complex, the wine slowly reveals layers of rich dark fruit tamed by classic earthy notes and tinged with graphite, espresso, more toasted oak and a whiff of reduced balsamic vinegar; all backed by powerful tannins, presenting a powerful and elegant wine that still needs time to be enjoyable as its maker intended (although 90 minutes of air will help things along nicely).  A lingering finish replete with a well-balanced mix of fruit, oak and tannin lingers long.  Drink 2021 through 2029.

Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, 2012:  A rich and ripe nose of mostly black fruit with some tart red cherries, plums, slate minerals, loamy earth and freshly-sharpened pencil are backed by good acidity that is starting to fade and plush integrated tannins providing balance.  The medium to full bodied palate has plenty of earthy notes to go with the rich fruits, with some brown spices, dark chocolate and herbacousness adding complexity.  Well made, with good balance and great for everyday drinking, the wine is in drink now mode and quite lovely but shouldn’t be held for much longer.  As always, the wine is comprised of Terra di Seta’s standard blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon which spent 12 months in used French oak barrels.


Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Reserva, 2012:  Aged in French oak for 18 months, this 100% Sangiovese wine showcases the winery’s characteristic old world elegance with the region’s rustic bent.  The mostly red fruit is well balanced by slate minerals, smoky oak and forest aromas of wet earth, garrigue and black truffles.  The medium to full-bodied palate opens with more rich fruit, minerals and sweet herbal notes, wrapped around a core of bracing acidity and gripping tannins that bode well for the wine’s continued development, albeit on the slightly extracted side.  Give the wine some time to get comfortable in your glass and you’ll be rewarded with characteristic notes of fine dark chocolate, cigar box cedar notes, fresh-roasted coffee and a whiff of toasted oak backed by plush yet gripping tannins and core acidity that carries it all through.  More elegant and controlled than its younger brother and a real delightful treat.  Enjoyable now with 90 minutes to two hours of decanting, the wine should continue to evolve through 2025, likely longer.



Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Assai, Gran Selezione, 2012:  Showcasing elegance and subtlety that was lacking from the 2013 delightful beast of a wine, the wine is made form 100% Sangiovese and, as always, spent 24 months in French oak.  Lovely tannic backbone and balancing acidity that work with the oak structure to bring balance to the force (of nature that is this wine).  As would befit a flagship wine, it utilizes the best gapes from the estate winery’s best plots (5% are utilized for this wine but if they don’t pass the regulatory muster they are dropped two levels to the Chianti Classico as they can’t then be used in the Riserva, making the selection process all the more important).  Loads of tart cherries, cranberries and spices on both the nose and medium to full-bodied palace, uplifted by a bitter streak of herbacousness to balance the dark chocolate, cigar box cedar wood, roasted espresso and hints of sun-dried tomatoes.  A lingering finish evolves over time, making you wish you had another bottle.  Deep and delicious, the wine is enjoyable now and can be enjoyed through 2024.


Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Assai, Gran Selezione, 2011:  Delectable right now and showcasing the greatness this under-the-radar flagship wine can achieve.  A poster boy for cellaring wine, the wine provides such pleasure at this point, I’d open the bottles I have even though it will continue to cellar for another two years or so.  Rich and ripe fruit is impeccably balanced with the smoky oak, flint minerals, loam and wild forest floor that you could get lost in the ever revealing and layered bouquet of fruit, sweet warm spices, roasted meat, earthy mushrooms and cigar-box tobacco and cedar notes.  However, that would be a shame since the elegant and concentrated palate has plenty in store for the patient wine lover.  I enjoyed the wine over the course of four hours and reveled in the layered complexity that was revealed with each passing sip.  14.5 % AbV.  Drink now through 2024, maybe longer.

Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Reserva, 2010:  A lovely and, by now, easy drinking wine with well-integrated tannins providing a supple backbone to the well-balanced medley of dark plums, sour cherries, sweet cedar and warm spices.  A bit sweeter at this point than one would expect, the acidity and tertiary notes of oak, roasted herbs, rich loamy earth, garrigue and espresso beans on a supple and medium to full bodied palate still combine to provide a wine I am happy to drink whenever given the opportunity.  Smoky oak, hints of minty chocolate and more red fruit in the background all linger on the medium finish.  While it should be the norm, it still feels pretty special that we can enjoy a ten year old bottle of under $20 kosher wine.  Drink now and over the next 12 months or so.

Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, 2009:  The wine is 95% Sangiovese with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon blended in for good measure.  The wine spent 12 months in French oak and clocks in at 14.5% without it being too noticeable.  Class Chianti notes on both the nose and palate include red fruit backed by fresh-turned wet forest floor, pine needles and pungent mushrooms.  Soft and approachable, this is a wine with plenty of character and sophistication that just wants to be your friend.  A welcome accompaniment to most dishes, the wine cries out for good food, friends and mild contemplation – just want a good Italian wine would want to be.  Drink now.

Terra di Seta, Chianti Classico, Riserva, 2009:  Terra di Seta’s first Riserva wine which set the standard used since of 100% Sangiovese which was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months.  Despite its old age, the wine still presents with gripping tannins backed by oak that need some air to unwind before they reveal the tertiary notes of leather, earthy mushrooms, forest floor and tobacco leaf along with warm spices and hints of dark chocolate.  Medium bodied with a rustic but well-made structure, the wine is lovely but is in drink up mode, so finish up any bottles you may have through 2021.  14.5% AbV.

Terra di Seta, Pellegrini della Seta, Chianti Classico, 2008:  My first written review for the winery was of this wine, dating back to 2011 when there were two wines in its portfolio – this Chianti Classico and the Toscana.  Made from 95% Sangiovese with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon blended in and aged in French oak for six months, the wine is past peak and, while still enjoyable as a mature wine with tannins still there and the fruit taking second stage to earthy notes of mushroom and loam.  Black pepper and toasted oak provide nuance, but I wouldn’t hold on to it any longer.