To escape to Tuscany for a few days is a privilege and having done just that I am re-engaged even more passionately with this diverse and beautiful region. The emphasis here is principally on red wines but we have a white gem in the mineral driven “Chablis-esque” Vernaccias from tenute le Calcinae. The reds we are privileged to work with are varied in their styles and although the majority are Sangiovese led, there are some notable rule breakers who would rather demonstrate the prowess of Cabernet Sauvignon (Sassicaia), Merlot (Tenute le Calcinae and Ornellaia) and Pinot Noir in the hands of genius winemaker Sean O Callaghan at Riecine, who also makes extraordinary Chianti which constitutes much of my own cellar – it is wonderful to witness how well they work in the context of this ancient region.
Recently released vintages have all discreetly different characteristics to offer us thirsty consumers but the really happy news is there are no “dogs”! My take is thus:
2012 a year of stress and drought, small harvest, concentrated wines that need time, certain estates such as the minute Salvioni in Montalcino made only Brunello, no Rosso they were so convinced of quality.
2011 is delightfully fleshy, opulent and simply delicious now and will continue to be so for many years all the way up the quality ladder, a JC vintage and I will be putting Chianti Riecine 2011, Monteleccio Sesti 2011 and Rosso Salvioni 2011 in my cellar!
2010 is more serious and reticent at the moment but will be great in time; certainly the Marchese Incise at Sassicaia feels it is one of his absolute favourites.
2009 a bit like 2011 is full and wonderfully textured certainly 5 star, Riecine Chianti Riserva is outrageously good.
2008 more of a refined offering with sensitivity and understatement but wonderful purity – look out for the outstanding Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Reserva from the legendary brothers Nicolo and Luca di Ferrari at Boscarelli, as moreish as could hope for and Brunello Salicutti, as good for him as the fabled 2004 vintage.
2007 like 2009 and 2011 has wonderful opulent fruit immediately pleasing but plenty of acidity to allow long life – Poggio do Sotto’s Brunello Riserva despite an eye watering price was about as perfect a wine as we tasted all week, and Sesti’s Brunello Riserva “Phenomena” was off the chart rounding off a famous Sesti dinner.
Once I have finalized our allocations we will be offering the following estates in our Tuscan Treasure trove and would be delighted to discuss any of these -Sesti Brunello di Montalcino – Salicutti Brunello di Montalcino – Salvioni Brunello di Montalcino – Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino -Riecine Chianti -Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – Le Calcinae Vernaccia di San Gimignano – Sassicaia Bolgheri – Ornellaia Bolgheri – Gattamarco Bolgheri.