Tuscan Wine Exploration
Barry Weinman: 24th April 2016
When I think of the wines of Tuscany, two wines typically come to mind. Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino. But as this tasting amply demonstrated, that is selling this remarkable region short. The super Tuscan wines and those from Bolgari in particular are some of the real stars of the region.
It is ironic that some of the most expensive wines from the region, such as Antinori’s Solaia carry the generic IGT Toscana appellation, due to the use of Cabernet Sauvignon, which precludes the use of the Chianti name.
Antinori – Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese – Solaia – IGT Toscana – 2004 (18). Complex leather and earth notes, an almost floral fruit character and a touch of savoury plum. The palate has tobacco, hints of licorice, spice and plum like notes. Cedary oak to close and fine tannins. Developed, but not that old.
Antinori – Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon – Tignaello – 1999. (18.7). Savoury, earthy notes on the nose. With leather and licorice, there is great depth and power, with a silky, almost seamless finish that is very long. Talc-like tannins and supple acid cuts through on the finish. Fine, elegant and drinking superbly, this is a magical wine.
Valdicava – Sangiovese – Brunello di Montalcino – 2001 (18). Very different style, with distinct structural components and chewy tannins. If anything, this is still a touch closed. Excellent length to the almost cherry-like fruit. Very powerful, this will live for years to come.
Farnito – Sangiovese/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon – Camponibbio – 2005 (17.5). Freshness of fruit a highlight. Sweet, ripe and supple fruit on the palate. Silky, the textural components sit well with the fruit. Excellent length, the fruit runs right through the palate.
San Filippo – Sangiovese – Le Lucere – Brunello di Montalcino – 2010 (17.8). Youthful and vibrant, with an abundance of fine fruit complemented by supple tannins and oak. Whilst firm, there is a lovely immediacy to the wine. Souring acidity and dusty tannins to close. Great now, but will age well for years.
Nino Negri – Nebiolo – Sfursat – Sforzato di Valtellina – 2010 (17.5). A more serious effort, with depth and structure. Almost chewy, the fine tannins sit nicely with the fruit. Supple and approachable, yet there is good depth. Nice.
Uccelliera – Sangiovese – Brunello di Montalcino – Reserva – 2004 (18.5). Real depth to the fruit. Powerful, chewy, textured, structured and very long. The fruit is still suppressed now. An amazing wine that will easily live for another 10 years.
Antinori – Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon – Tignaello – 2008 (18.3). More accessible, with almost cherry notes. Savoury and spicy, with white pepper highlights. The supple textural notes complement the fruit. A delight to drink.
Frascole – Sangiovese – Chianti Rufina – 2012 (17.5). Savoury, sesame and water cracker notes. The cherry-like fruit is chewy, long and supple. This is drinking a treat.
Antinori – Sangiovese – Brunello di Montalcino – Pian delle Vigna – 1997 (17.8). Savoury, acidic, taut. Very long, but just a touch tough.
Fantini – Edizione – Cinque Autoctoni – 14 – 2012. (18.5). This might have a very complicated name, but the wine is excellent. Super sweet ripe fruit. Cedar and vanilla from the oak. Supple structure, excellent length. Remarkably approachable, given the structural components. Will live for a long time. Massive bottle is an environmental disaster, but looks great. ($47 from My Wine Guy)
Monsanto – Sangiovese – Chianti Classico – 2007 (18) What a lovely wine. The fruit is bright and fresh, but the savoury, structured nature of the wine suggests that further aging will be of benefit. Long and savoury, with souring acidity, this is a somewhat traditional style
Il Palazzone – Sangiovese – Brunello di Montalcino – 2006 (18.5). Super sweet fruit set against fresh oak that has a distinctly vanillin oak characters. The palate has traditional structural elements making this savoury and smart.