Tag Archives: Chianti

Fattoria di Bagnolo – 16/04/2012

Chianti Colli Fiorentini 2010
An interesting reductive and rustic nose with fresh black fruit and olives, very bright and forward on the palate with softness and clean structure.

Chianti Colli Fiorentini Riserva 2008
Had a dustier more earthy character on the nose, with a toasty oak element to support, and on the palate had tighter more precise tannins and focused concentration with some savoury and fruit characters to keep things relatively complex.

Capro Rosso 2007
An IGT blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and colorino. Had some subtle brooding roasted pine nut complexity on the nose, was quite broad and intense in fruit on the palate, and whilst very approachable had good balance and structure.

Grapes and olives are the lifeblood of Tuscany

Grapes and olives are the lifeblood of Tuscany

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Tignanello – 16/04/2012

Peppoli 2009
One of the most widely distributed chianti classico wines in the global market, and is a blend of 80% sangiovese (the minimum legal requirement), 15% merlot and 5% syrah. Back in Australia I had already tasted and sold the 2009 vintage, but it was good to refresh myself after six months of travel. On the nose it was very juicy and plummy, the merlot elements showing very strong, quite broad and soft, very clean and approachable, but lacking any real structure or character. This is a wine designed for appeal to a broad and diverse market, is made very safely, and could arguably come from anywhere.

Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva 2007
The complete opposite, but for three times the price it should be. Had a much more attractive unique nose of rustic earth, toast and cinnamon blackberry, had great tannin structure and depth, was bold but also elegant, and with its tightness will age well.

Tignanello 2009
Aromatically showed the strength of the cabernet in this vintage. On the palate it expressed very earthy cassis notes, but the tannins were very restricted. At a maximum of 15 years of age, the vines don’t seem to be mature enough, as whilst this wine is far from unripe, it does seem undeveloped.

The new cellars at the Tignanello estate

The new cellars at the Tignanello estate

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Felsina – 17/04/2012

Chianti Classico 2010
Showed bright fresh red cherries on the nose, great purity and balance on the palate with focus and integrity, and is not your average chianti classico.

Chianti Classico 2008
The same harmony and balance, but with a few more years had opened up and was starting to express more complex rustic red fruits, with some nice savoury notes to complement.

Chianti Classico Riserva 2008
Was a significant step up aromatically, showing earthier and more mineralic red currants, much more intensity but also restraint, and although young was quite expressive.

Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva 2009
Had intense earthy rustic black fruits on the nose, was full and expressive on the palate but slightly hollow and lacking in structure.

Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva 2007
Similarly soft and approachable, with very mellow and full-flavoured tannins, but with slightly more character and freshness.

Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva 2003
As a product of its bottle age and vintage is very approachable now, showing interesting marzipan, cocoa and balsamic notes.

Fontalloro
A blend of fruit from vineyards in the Chianti Classico DOCG and the Chianti Colli Sienese DOCG, and as such is classified as an IGT wine. The 2009 and 2007 vintages were similar to those of the Rancia, but showing earthier and more powerful tannin structure and oak influence.

Fontalloro 1998 had some subtle black forest fruits with seductive sweet floral notes, had developed soft elegant tannins and juicy blackcurrant sweetness, still holding together very well.

The historic Felsina cellars

The historic Felsina cellars

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Poggerino – 17/04/2012

Labarinto Chianti 2010
Lovely and bright, with juicy dark cherry and blackberry fruit, and is a totally uncomplicated easy-drinking wine for every day.

Chianti Classico 2009
Very full and soft, intense in both fruit and savoury notes, but is one of the most balanced and elegant from the 2009 vintage.

Bugialla Riserva 2007
Avery dense yet delicate and complex nose, with black fruits and some walnut characters, is very expressive but also structured and textural. It is however still very young and needs at least two more years to soften a little.

Primamateria 2008
An IGT blend, of 50% sangiovese and 50% merlot coming from a different vineyard lower in the valley. Whilst an excellent wine is not what I consider to be particularly inspiring. It shows great balance and composure, with texture and focus, but shows as very young and not really expressive at the moment.

Poggerino Rosato is a personal favourite

Poggerino Rosato is a personal favourite

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Fonterutoli – 17/04/2012

Castello Fonterutoli 2007
Significantly showed the difference of having more oak than the sangiovese samples, and also the small addition of cabernet sauvignon. On the nose it combined roasted red capsicum with black cherry and red currants, and on the palate showed very youthful power and texture, looking very masculine.

Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2009
Had an interesting floral black fruits nose, very good concentration and balance, a clean finish with nothing sticking out.

Siepi Toscana IGT 2007
A very dense mature nose, and on the palate was soft and plum jammy, very fruit sweet and warm and quite bold in fruit and oak.

Belguardo Serrata 2009
Blend of 80% sangiovese and 20% Alicante. Wasn’t showing anywhere near as well as the 2008 did when I sold it back in Australia.

Tenuta Belguardo 2007
Very soft and full, but still elegant and structured, with expressive blackberries and powerful breadth.

Belguardo Vermentino 2007
Very big aromatics somewhere between riesling and pinot grigio, but on the palate looked like a fruit-driven viognier.

Zisola 2009
From the Sicilian property was quite dull and lifeless, also not a patch on the 2008.

Fonterutoli tasting

Fonterutoli tasting

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Isole e Olena – 18/04/2012

Chianti Classico 2009
Probably the best I tasted during the week, as it showed very bright and pure red fruits with great harmony, intensity, purity and elegance. This wine is intended to be a classic approachable food-friendly style, but the quality is so exemplary it betrays its unpretentious intent.

Cepparello 2008
Fantastic combination of bright red mineralic freshness with earthy rustic complexity, building generously on the palate with elegant concentration and balance, but will benefit from at least 10 years of cellaring.

Syrah 2006
Had a similar earthy edge to the blackberry and carob notes, but introduced savoury toast and charcuterie elements on the palate, but was not the best example of the variety.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Showed great stalky yet opulent and intense approachability on the palate, and is drinking very well now, it makes me wonder if there really is a terroir for the variety.

Vin Santo 2004
Very surprised to discover a wine that had freshness, balance, complexity and creamy texture, combining custard, raisin and lots of nuts.

The bedrock under Isole e Olena

The bedrock under Isole e Olena

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Brancaia – 18/04/2012

Bianco 2011
A blend of 95% sauvignon blanc and 5% gewürztraminer, and had a classic sauvignon aromatic sweat coupled with bright fresh herbaceous kiwi and guava fruit sweetness.

Tre Rosso 2010
A blend of the three estates, and is composed of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. A very bright colour but is very light, showing dark ruby plummy aromas, fresh and tight fruits and tannins, with very little oak to overcomplicate.

Chianti Classico Riserva 2009
Had a very intense and fruit-driven nose, was focused and tight on the palate with full yet approachable personality.

Il Blu 2008
Made up of the two Chianti Classico DOCG estates, a blend of 50% sangiovese, 45% merlot and 5% cabernet sauvignon, and is Barbara’s original ‘super tuscan’. Had a wonderful dark currant and savoury chocolate nose, with some dusty and plummy fruit notes, fine yet firm and focused tannins and wonderful ageing potential.

Ilatraia2009
Comes from the Maremma estate, a blend of 40% cabernet, 40% petiti verdot and 20% cabernet franc, is decidedly softer and more mellow than the Il Blu, but with wonderful length and elegance.

The bright cellars of Brancaia

The bright cellars of Brancaia

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Chianti to coast (Tuscany, Italy – Day Three)

So far on my journey it’s been a wonderful experience meeting people from each winery and discovering their similar but also different philosophies. Peoples’ philosophies may relate to the management of their vineyards, such as whether they use sustainable practices, are organic or biodynamic. In the winery they may change how they use equipment and additives, what their maturation program is, and how they have designed the layout of their facility. Wineries have different approaches to how they brand and communicate their wines, and also how they welcome visitors to their wineries. The thing to remember is that no one philosophy is the best or right one, as every country, region, producer and audience/market is different. What is most important is to select the right approach for that winery and place, and this is how I have determined to assess whether the philosophy has been successful. Within the space of one day I visited four wineries that had similar but different philosophies, but were all successful in themselves and offer something different. Between the first and last winery I had covered a fair amount of ground, leaving very early and finishing late.
The Black Rooster greets every day in Chianti Classico

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Drawing blood from a stone (Tuscany, Italy – Day Two)

It becomes necessary to attempt to remove all expectations and preconceived notions when arriving into a new region and new producers. There is always going to be some flow-through from the previous region, we naturally compare an experience to the most recent one. Thus on my journey I am constantly having to readjust to each new place I visit and make no assumptions or judgements about such things as production volumes, estate sizes, yields, varieties or practices. What the important (and difficult) thing to ascertain is whether or not the philosophies and subsequent practices are right for that particular place. Whilst the nebbiolo grape is ideal for the elevated and cool hills of Piedmont, it is the sangiovese grape which performs exceptionally in the undulating and warmer landscape of Tuscany. Further to this, nebbiolo is a grape that necessitates small yields and small volumes to produce great wine, as it is notoriously difficult to handle both in the vineyards and in the cellar. Sangiovese needs a careful eye to be sure as it has very high yielding potential, but similar to the syrah grape is quite adaptable to site and you can easily make great wine in more generous volumes. The fact that I am visiting wineries that annually produce approaching one million bottles should therefore not mean they are not great wineries; they just couldn’t be great in Piedmont. After a very restful night and a couple of café lattes with breakfast, I adjourned to the winery of my hosts for the previous night.

Budburst has most definitely begun

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The heart of Italy (Tuscany, Italy – Day One)

One of the things that I have realised since arriving in Italy is that it is so difficult to categorise it in a certain way, and no single image does it justice. One of the most indelible images that spring to most people’s minds when they think of Italy is the classic image of gently rolling hills covered in grape vines, olive trees and villas. Tuscany perfectly lives up to this cliché. As I drove south from Florence (which is simply stunning, but is kind of a sinkhole when it comes to money), I became more excited at a place that seems so familiar, as you see it on travel and cooking shows, on calendars, promotional material of Italy, you name it. Tuscany has a number of unfair advantages over every other region in Italy. The first is its location close to the centre of Italy, where the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. It has some of the most beautiful and diverse natural scenery in Italy, from the hills all the way to the coast. The diversity also helps with viticulture, and they have the ability to produce a wide range of wines. It is a very large province, and also has a very long history, with families going back over 1,000 years. Tuscany is very wealthy, and is arguably the most visited province in the country. The food is great, the people are great. If this were the USA, Tuscany would be California. And like cabernet sauvignon is the most important grape (but far from the only one) in California, the king of varieties in Tuscany is sangiovese, and I am spending five days here to become more familiar with it.

Dante Alighieri once owned these cellars

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