Toscana - The Heart of Italian Wine -  Tasting Report 2019 

I have visited all corners of the globe and no wine region beats Tuscany in terms of scenery, It is just drop-dead gorgeous. Tuscany is the heart of Italian wine and produces more top-scoring wines than any other region in Italy. However, as I have discovered many many times this year, within each region many different styles exist. Sangiovese is the grape of Tuscany, yet, takes on many different forms; from light and elegant, to muscular and bold, finishing with rich and powerful. These forms existed in Greve and Radda in Chianti along with Montalcino in southern Tuscany. Bolgheri is home of the Super Tuscans, and some of the highest-scoring wines in Italy come from Bolgheri. However unlike their neighbours, the wines are not made form Sangiovese, but from Bordeaux blends. Another side of Tuscany, which is explored in this report.

 

Recent vintages of Tuscany have been quite varied with a challenging 2014, yet a stellar 2015 and 2016. The 2014 vintage saw a mild summer and frequent hailstorms, yet some producers crafted some classic wines. The 2015 vintage was hailed by wine critics as one of the best that Tuscany has ever seen, with a hot and dry summer. The 2016 is promising to be even better, with less rain and a slightly cooler summer, the fruit produced is said to be even better. 

With two classic vintages just released, I felt it was time to visit the heart of Italian wine and see just how good these vintages were. This report includes the wineries of Fontodi, Fattoria Vignavecchia, Fattoria di Montemaggio, Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona, Casanova di Neri and Ornellaia. Other wines have been included which were tasted as part of an independent tasting. 

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Fontodi

Fontodi located in Panzano, Chianti was my first stop. Fontodi has been in the Manetti family since 1968 and is both organic, sustainable and estate grown. Upon arriving at the winery, you are able to see over 90% of their vineyards within the Panzano valley. Over 95% of their vines are Sangiovese, however, they also produce a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Syrah. I walked around with Silvano Marcucci, who emphasized at Fontodi, it is all about quality and showing the best of their terroir. All wines are hand-harvested, use natural yeast and even produce their own fertilizer with their cows. Their focus is on Sangiovese, and they produce what I would refer to as rustic, terroir-driven, cellaring Sangiovese. Their wines perfectly showcase the Sangiovese grapes, though, those who can wait to pull the cork on their wines will be deeply rewarded. Their wines are best enjoyed after 7-8 years of cellaring, if drinking early, ensure a long decant. 

 

Highlights included the Fontodi Syrah Case Via Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT 2009 (94 points), This has a full-body and rich palate, with overripe dark black fruit, liquorice, anise, vanilla, crushed stones and polished tannins. The finish was long and elegant. Along with the Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo 2015 (95 points), with a fruit-driven nose, and a palate which was rich and full, along with a wonderful purity of fruit, orange peel and anise with a rich finish. Finally the Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve 2015 (96 points), is a real stunner and shows the quality of what the Sangiovese grape is capable of.  Aromas of violets, lavender, wild herbs, mushrooms and dark fruit which lead to a wonderfully velvety palate of rich sweet blackcurrant and cherries, nicely woven muscular yet polished tannins. Fontodi is a benchmark in Chianti, though these are not for early drinking, waiting is the secret for these wines.

Fattoria Vignavecchia

Vignavecchia is located in the region of Radda in Chianti. It was founded by Odoardo Beccari in 1876, and so has a long history. The current owners date back four generations and is currently run by Orsola Beccari. The question though is how I came across this small family-run winery? I am always blind tasting and their basic Chianti Classico 2016 came in at a similar score to that of wine three times the price! I was automatically hooked and after a few late emails we set up a tasting. Those who are in search of excellent value to quality wines should look no further than Vignavecchia. Highlights included the Vignavecchia Tulipa Rosato Toscana 2018 (92 points),  which was full of freshly cut strawberries, raspberries along with a clean and well-focused finish. The Vignavecchia Raddese Rosso di Toscana IGT 2014 (93 points), with good concentration, wonderful purity of fruit along with smooth elegant chalky tannins. Finally the Vignavecchia Chianti Classico Riserva 2015 (92 points), which was more structured compared to the CC, with more muscular tannins along with dark fruit, concentration yet with good freshness and bright acidity, a steal in terms of price. Vignavecchia is a family-owned winery which delivers top-quality Chianti at excellent prices, what else could you ask for?

Fattoria di Montemaggio

Getting to Montemaggio is a challenge, it involves driving for around 5km on gravel roads up and around the hills of Radda in Chianti, but it is worth the drive. Montemaggio means Big Mountain, and even though the vineyard does sit higher than most, I am not sure I would go as far as calling it a mountain! Valeria Zavadnikova and her team do a fantastic job in producing some higher altitude, drinkable and sense of place wines. When Valeria took over the winery 11 years ago, the first decision which was made was to hold back the wines. This was to allow for additional ageing and ensure that when they reached the market they were ready to drink. What this means in reality, is that most of their wines could be passed off as a higher classification (i.e. a Chianti Classico could be classified as a Chianti Classico Reserva). Yet, they keep this original designation, since they feel that is what this designation should taste like. I also appreciated how along with Ilaria Anichini, they focus on being organic, sustainable and eco-responsible. Their wines perfectly showcase their terroir and require little cellaring to be fully enjoyed.  

Highlights include Montemaggio Chianti Classico Riserva 2011 (93 points),  which showed good concentration of fruit along with freshness and bright acidity leading to a lean and clean finish. Also, the Montemaggio Quinta Essentia Toscana IGT 2013 (92 points), with a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Sangiovese showed soft red fruit, spicy notes, black pepper and an elegant fresh finish. Finally, the Montemaggio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2012 (93 points), with aromas of lavender, herbs, dried violets leading to a full and structured palate of prunes, figs along with fresh red fruits, the tannins were serious yet elegant. Fattoria di Montemaggio produces elegant wines which are ready to drink upon release as well as showing a fantastic expression of the higher altitude Radda region.

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona 

Montalcino is located around 2 hours drive south of the Chianti region of Panzano. Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona is now run by Paolo and Lucia Bianchini, the son and daughter of Giuseppe Bianchini. Giuseppe was a farmer who inherited the farm from Elda Ciacci Piccolomini in 1985. The focus of their wines are on the Sangiovese grape, however, they have recently expanded their portfolio into some entry-level wines. Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona has a traditionalist style, and even though their Brunellos were outstanding, I was not as impressed by their entry-level wines, which I felt downgraded their name a little. 

Highlights included the Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (94 points), the vintage had a dry free summer which produced a wine full of fruit on the nose, along with balsamic and leather, the palate was full of dark red fruit, dark chocolate, black pepper and a spicy finish. Also the Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino 2014 (94 points), with plenty of dark fruit compote, dried fruit, pepperiness, leather and a whiff of tobacco. The palate was rich and lean showing black and red fruit, cake spices, along with medium tannins and a clean finish. Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona produces some rustic yet elegant Brunellos, which are both approachable young and which have excellent ageing potential.

Casanova di Neri

Casanova di Neri was founded in 1971 by Giovanni Neri, a wheat trader who moved from Florence to Montalcino. In the 1970s Montalcino was not as popular as today with around 17 wineries in production compared to over 250 today. Whilst others were focusing on the quantity the Neri's were focusing on quality which is what his son of Giacomo and his two sons Giovanni and Gianlorenzo are focusing on today. Whilst walking around with Gianlorenzo, he explained that the secret of the Casanova di Neri wines was the land and that most of the work was done in the vines and not the winery. Once in the winery, the grapes are sorted twice by hand and then are processed by an optical sorter. I only know of three other wineries who have this: Chateau Margaux, Ornellaia and Alpha & Omega. These optical sorting machines are excellent for identifying less than acceptable grapes and allow for a further selection step which helps to really improve the quality. Gianlorenzo mentioned this became extremely important during the 2014 vintage which was rather challenging. It also helped to bring a certain cleanness to the finish. I was impressed by every single one of Casanova di Neri's wines, and found a crescendo in styles from the Rosso all the way up to the Cerretalto, without any drop in quality. There are less family-owned vineyards in Montalcino, Casanova di Neri is one of the last remaining, the passion, love and dedication they put into their wines is remarkable and I look forward to seeing the continuous improvements in the years to come. 

I was impressed by all of Casanova di Neri's wines, independent of the price, the quality was always high. My main highlights were the  Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto 2013 (97 points), was rich and medium-bodied with blackberries, blackcurrants, florals and allspice, there was a stony-mineral texture which could be felt dancing on the palate. I was also impressed by the Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2015 (96 points), The palate felt rich and enticing, with dusty black cherries, currants, strawberries and a touch of fig and spice, the tannins were beautifully pure and structured, the finish clean, elegant and long. Finally the Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2013 (95 points), full of dark and red berry fruit, along with fresh violets, oregano and a little star anise. The palate was quite fruit-driven with more fruit purity and concentration

Ornellaia

Ornellaia is one of the most famous wineries in Italy, their Bordeaux blend has been consistently given some of the worlds highest wine critic scores, and it is not even 40 years old! This winery was originally founded by the Antinori family in 1981,  and now the Frescobaldi family owns both the Ornellaia and Masseto vineyards. The focus of my visit was on the 2016 vintage which followed a near-perfect 2015. The 2015 vintage was marked by hot sunny days, whereas the 2016 was marked by cooler night and less rain. The question is did the 2016 turn out better? As a side note, since 2006 famous artists have designed some of the labels as a description of the vintage. For the 2016 vintage, the artist Shirin Neshat came up with the name 'La Tension'.

 

For such a young winery, Ornellaia is certainly at the forefront of technology, including the recent purchase of an optical sorter. The harvest is performed by individual lots which allow for 60-80 base wines, which would then be blended to give a final wine. The blend would aim to produce the style of Ornellaia and the second wine Le Serre Nuove. Unlike most second wines which use younger vines to produce a simpler final product, Le Serre Nuove can be described as a high-quality baby Ornellaia. A wine which is accessible earlier yet goes through a similar process to that of the first wine. The oak used in the Ornellaia winery is all french oak, however, Olga Fusari (winemaker at Ornellaia), explained it is there to enhance the vineyard and not necessarily dominate the palate. This brings me onto the 2017 vintage, which was the hottest on record for Ornellaia. This is where all of their experience was required, I asked Olga the steps which were made to ensure the wines came out balanced, fresh along with good acidity instead of dry and high alcohol. I was told the main factors were the optical sorter, along with less extraction, less pump over and shorter maceration really help to produce a surprisingly balanced wine. I tasted the Serre Nuove of this vintage and was also surprised by how it still had great acidity and freshness. Tasting the Ornellaia range is always a treat, however, as the vineyard approaches maturity, Olga and her team are really dialled in, and are focused to continuously improve the quality of Ornellaia in the years to come. Ornellaia and the Bolgheri region is often compared to Bordeaux, the blends are the same, yet the climate is different. Both regions produce high-quality wines, and after this trip, I feel more than ever that Ornellaia can easily compete with some of the best wines produced in Bordeaux. When you look at prices you do notice a significant difference, and for lovers of Bordeaux who find the prices too high, I recommend the wines of Bolgheri, where you will not be disappointed. 

The Ornellaia 2016 (98 points), was my wine of my trip to Italy, with a lush, concentrated and complete palate, along with blackcurrant compote, dusty chocolate and spice, the tannins are so pure and whilst the palate is nicely round the finish is clean, precise, elegant. The Le Serre Nuove 2017 (94 points) was a complete surprise, I was expecting drying tannins and little in the way of fruit due to the hot and dry 2017 vintage. However it showed surprising depth, concentration and elegance. I believe the Ornellaia 2017 will be a suprise in this difficult vintage. Finally a white wine is also produced which showcases some Italian varieties. The Poggio alle Gazze Toscana IGT 2017, was refreshing and light with pineapple, Meyer lemon, almond and crisp acidity. I was here to taste the 2016, and the Ornellaia 2016 is one of the top wines of the vintage. Looking forward to 2017, which will go down as a much more challenging year will also produce very good, high-quality wines. As I mentioned to Olga, it is not about the good years but the challenging years which defines a winery. It is clear that Ornellaia can produce world-class wines in both the good and bad! 

Bottom Line

Tuscany has such a variety of wines, 10 days was not enough to properly cover the region. Yet, I was able to taste a range of both 2015s and 2016s, which confirmed the quality coming out of Tuscany is improving. This, along with some surpising 2014s and 2017s which showed those ahead of the game could produce very high quality wines, in a less than stellar vintage. Whether you prefer your Sangiovese more muscular, delicate or earthy, there are wines in Tuscany for every style. For me Fontodi and Casanova di Neri are making some of the best wines of the region. However smaller producers such as Vignavecchia and Fattoria di Montemaggio also produce well-priced wines of their terroir. As for Bolgerhi, Ornellaia is just improving every year, and for the price, it is easily competing with some of the Bordeaux top growths, at a fraction of the cost. All this to say, Is 2016 better than 2015? Based on the tasting I did, I feel it is a point or so higher. However, Tuscany lovers will enjoy both vintages. Below is a selection of the most impressive wines tried.

Top Toscana Wines

Ornellaia 2016

98 points

Dark ruby in colour, the nose had lush ripe blackberry fruits, along with thyme, violets, black pepper, cedar and spice. The palate was lush, concentrated and complete, with blackcurrant compote, dusty chocolate, espresso with light cedar and spice, the tannins are so pure and whilst the palate is nicely round the finish is clean, precise, elegant and long. Pure elegance and perfection. Wait 10 years for perfection. 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot.

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto 2013

97 points

I always enjoy the Cerratalto and this vintage is no exception. Aromas of berry fruit, black tea and crushed stone. The palate was rich and medium-bodied with blackberries, blackcurrants, florals and allspice, there was a stony-mineral texture which could be felt dancing on the palate, along with velvety/dusty yet structured tannins finishing with a long and elegant finish. This needs a few more years, however, the potential as always can be seen early on.

Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT 2015

96 points

This is a real stunner and shows the quality of what the Sangiovese grape is capable of. This is made of 100% Sangiovese, sourced from the best of the Fontodi vineyards and aged for 24 months. I found aromas of violets, lavender, wild herbs, mushrooms and dark fruit which lead to a wonderfully velvety palate of rich sweet blackcurrant and cherries, nicely woven muscular yet polished tannins, crushed stones, chocolate, black pepper and a touch of spice. This finish was lasting and long. This is already nicely approachable, however, I would not want to open this for another 8-10 years where I know it would be even better!

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2015

96 points

An early preview of the Casanova di Neri BdM 2015 shows how strong the 2015 vintage will be! Slightly darker red in the glass compared to the 2014, aromas of dark red and black tree fruits filled the nose along with, violets and a little tobacco. The palate felt rich and enticing, with dusty black cherries, currants, strawberries and a touch of fig and spice, the tannins were beautifully pure and structured, the finish clean, elegant and long. I feel this will become one of the top BdM of 2015, along with the selection process which has been going on here since 2014, the wines tend to be more and more pure, clean. Impressed. 

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2013

95 points

Dark ruby red, the nose was full of dark and red berry fruit, along with fresh violets, oregano and a little star anise. The palate was quite fruit-driven with more fruit purity and concentration compared to the white label. However, there was freshness and soft elegant textures which got to me along with straight and dusty tannins. This should be put away for another 5+ years for pure enjoyment.

Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT 2015

95 points

 

OK, so I get this wine. I get the style, and I understand why it has a lot of new world followers. If you like Californian wine and want to try a premium Italian wine then this is for you. Forget the rustic notes. This is all about the big and rich palate along with generous fruit, chocolate, black pepper, integrated smooth tannins and a velvety long finish, very welcoming yet no long ageing required to show its full potential. Blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc.

Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo 2015

95 points

So tasting this next to the Flaccianello and their CC is a treat. This has a lot of concentration compared to the Flaccianello. Is that a negative thing? Nope just different. More mid-palate, less on the finish vs the Flaccianello. At 15% the heat is there but not overpowering, along with ripe red and dark fruit, dried violets, and spice but it really is a fruit-driven nose that welcomes you. The palate was rich and full, with a wonderful purity of fruit along with orange peel, liquorice, vanilla and anise fill the mid-palate, good chalky tannins and medium acidity along with a rich finish.

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2014

95 points

Due to the challenges of the 2014 vintage, Casanova made the wise decision to not make any Tenuta Nuova or Cerretalto, instead of blend those grapes into their Brunello. This was a wise move and produced a wine which outshines all of the 2014s which I have tasted so far. Blind, I am not even sure you would guess this is a 2014. The nose had wonderful floral herb, tyme, leather and black tea notes. the medium-full bodied palate was full dark cherries, strawberries, along with white pepper and spice. The dusty tannins are well structured and elegant, the finish was long, clean and persistent. Shows what can be done during a difficult vintage, well done!

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino 2014

94 points

The 2014 was both rainy and cold, hence more challenging, however, this Ciacci did a great job and showed a strong performance. With plenty of dark fruit compote, dried fruit, pepperiness, leather and a whiff of tobacco. The palate had a rich and lean showing of black and red fruit, cake spices, along with medium tannins and soft elegant and clean finish. This is already showing well and so no long cellaring is required.

Fattoria Vignavecchia Raddese Rosso di Toscana IGT 2000

94 points

Always a treat to taste an older wine, the cork came out perfectly and looked in good shape, the nose had aromas of slightly cooked cherries, fresh earth, thyme, lavender and tar. The palate was medium and still had fantastic freshness, great acidity and concentration, with clean baked cherries, currents, dried florals along with a persistent and clean finish. 100% Sangiovese

Fontodi Syrah Case Via Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT 2009

94 points

Wow! I was never expecting a Syrah from Tuscany to score this highly. This had aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant, wild thyme, lavender, a whiff of tobacco, this leads to a full-body and rich palate full of overripe dark black fruit, liquorice, anise, vanilla, crushed stones with polished tannins and lively acidity. The finish was long and elegant. Super impressed!

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino 2013

94 points

A very serious and muscular Brunello, the vintage was both cold and dry which produced a wine full of fruit on the nose, along with balsamic and leather, the palate was shy at first and clearly not hitting home as it will in a couple of years time, was full of dark red fruit, dark chocolate, black pepper and a spicy finish.

Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Le Serre Nuove 2017

94 points

So 2017 was a tough and hot vintage, I was expecting drying tannins and overripe fruit, however, I was shocking surprise. A new optical sorter is being used in the sorting system and it could not have arrived at a more perfect time. Given such a challenging vintage, the Serre Nuove 2017 showed surprising depth, concentration and elegance with deep plump fruits, plums, dark cherries, liquorice and black pepper, the palate showed a great concentration, with muscular tannins and a strong focused finish. 54% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot

Casanova di Neri IRRosé 2018

93 points

Wow this is good! 100% Sangiovese, crisp acidity, rose petals, red berry fruits, crisp acidity yet with a clean and persistent finish. This won't be exported so do what you can to get a bottle!

Fattoria di Montemaggio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2012

93 points

North facing vineyard planted in 2009, this had so much going on with aromas of lavender, herbs, dried violets leading to a full and structured palate of prunes, figs along with fresh red fruits, the tannins were serious yet elegant. The finish medium and clean.

Fattoria di Montemaggio Chianti Classico Riserva 2011

93 points

A lot more concentration on the nose of baked fruits, figs, raisins and dried violets. The palate showed a good concentration of fruit along with freshness and bright acidity with an underlining of chocolate, fresh earth and mint lead to a lean and clean finish. Blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot

Fattoria Vignavecchia Raddese Rosso di Toscana IGT 2014

93 points

Produced from older vineyards, this 100% Sangiovese aged for 18 months shows aromas of violets, dark cherries, tar and spice, the palate was full-bodied and a lot more serious than other Vignavecchia wines, with good concentration, wonderful purity of fruit along with smooth elegant chalky tannins. This wine showed very well remembering it was the 2014 vintage

Antinori Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Badia a Passignano 2016

93 points

Aromas of dark red fruit, dried flowers, allspice, black pepper. The palate was rich and creamy with soft black fruits, dried violets with soft cedar tannins, bright acidity with a full and long finish. The house style is clearly shown here, easy to drink early and an enjoyable soft elegant finish.

Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Sauvignon Blanc Poggio alle Gazze Toscana IGT 2017

93 points

2017 was a difficult vintage in Bolgheri, hot and dry and so keeping the acids in check was challenging, however, this SB blend came out very well. Very aromatic nose with tropical fruits, white flowers and lemon zest. The palate was refreshing and light with pineapple, Meyer lemon, almond and crisp acidity. This should be drunk within a couple of years of release.

Fontodi Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2009

93 points

A wonderfully balanced late harvest wine, a blend of 50% Malvasia and Sangiovese. Aromas of honey, burnt sugar and ripe figs lead to a delicate and rich palate of baked figs, plums cherries and caramel. The finish was smooth and long. This would work wonderfully with blue cheese or just by itself! Dried for 5 months and aged for 6 years.

Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Le Serre Nuove 2015

93 points

This was quite savoury compared to the 2017 yet still with ample of fruit, aromas of black fruit, cherries and plums along with black pepper, tobacco, allspice and a little leather, the palate was medium-bodied with dusty tannins along with black fruits, savoury spices, liquorice and a long, elegant finish. 64% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot

Casanova di Neri Rosso di Montalcino 2016

93 points

They call this a baby Brunello and put just as much attention as their high-quality Brunellos, all grapes, including the Rosso go through the Optical Sorter, which is quite impressive and shows how serious the winery is to making quality wine. This Rosso had a gorgeous nose with berry and tree fruit along with thyme, violets and forest florals. The palate was full of violets and lavender along with dark cherries, the tannins were incredibly well structured, with good acidity the length was long and lingered. Wow!

Fattoria di Montemaggio Torre di Montemaggio Toscana IGT 2015

92 points

100% pure merlot which showed aromas of dark plums, fresh herbs, mushrooms and pepper, the palate was bright, elegant yet concentrated with more earthy characteristics along with the freshness of fruit, chocolate bright acidity and medium tannins. The finish was persistent.

Fontodi Chianti Classico 2016

92 points

A very muscular, rustic and powerful Chianti Classico, significantly more than the 2015. This will need around 7 years to really show its full potential. 100% Sangiovese sourced from the Fontodi vineyards around Panzano. This Chianti Classico has aromas of dark cherries and blackberries along with lavender, floral, a touch of chocolate and black pepper notes, the palate was firing on all cylinders with strong dark fruits, dried florals, liquorice and spice, yet the palate was dominated by strong muscular tannins, lively acidity and a long yet not fully settled down finish. Do not pop the cork on this for 8 years. 92+

Casanova di Neri IBBianco 2018

92 points

85% Vermentino and 15% Grechetto. This wine showed light aromas of tropical fruit, lemon peel, wet stone and almonds. The palate had lively acidity yet a certain saline, mineral texture which along with well-balanced acidity allowed for a refreshing finish.

Fattoria Vignavecchia Chianti Classico Riserva Vigneto Odoardo Beccari 2015

92 points

A blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo, very floral with bright cherry, strawberries, along with a herbal palate, tar, elegant, long and persistent finish.

Fattoria Vignavecchia Chianti Classico Riserva 2015

92 points

Strong Aromas of black cherry, blackcurrant and dried violets. The palate was more structured compared to the CC with more muscular tannins along with dark fruit, liquorice, clay, concentration yet with good freshness and bright acidity. Blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot.

Fattoria di Montemaggio Quinta Essentia Toscana IGT 2013

92 points

This blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Sangiovese showed notes of freshly picked dark red and berry fruits, forest flowers, herbs with a medium-full bodied palate, along with soft red fruit, spicy notes, black pepper and an elegant fresh finish.

Fattoria Vignavecchia Tulipa Rosato Toscana IGT 2018

92 points

Wonderfully balanced rosato from Radda, with its light salmon pink in colour, was full of fresh cut strawberries, raspberries and forest berries, the palate had good acidity structure along with a clean and well-focused finish.

Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2016

91 points

Aromas of blackcurrants, tree fruits, forest floor, mint, eucalyptus, the palate was full-bodied with muscular grippy tannins, with notes of dark candied cherries, chocolate, mint, herbs, cedar along with allspice and black pepper. The finish was spicy and serious.

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Rosso di Montalcino Rossofonte 2015

91 points

This really shows the quality of the 2015 vintage, the nose had waves of figus, prunes, dried florals and black pepper, the palate was rich yet well structured with dried fruit, cherries, strawberries, vanilla along with more muscular tannins than what I would have expected and a serious, long finish. For a Rosso, this is punching above its weight.

Fattoria di Montemaggio Chianti Classico 2013

91 points

Like most of their wines, they are only released when they feel they are ready to drink, fantastic philosophy and which ensures the consumer can just Pop and Pour, instead of waiting years for the wines to be ready. The Chianti Classic, showed freshness and lightness on the palate along with good red and dark fruit concentration, liquorice, lavender along with chalkiness in the tannins, the finish was elegant and bright.

Fontodi Chianti Classico Filetta di Lamole 2015

91 points

The color of this wine is what I am first striked be, it is a light ruby colour, nearly pinot colour. Aromas of bright red fruit, violets and crushed stones, the palate was lighter than expected with characteristics of sweet cherries, spices, black pepper with very fine polished tannins. This vineyard is located at 650ft and hence gives that light colour and slightly brighter acidity on the palate.

Fontodi Pinot Nero Case Via Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT 2015

91 points

Aromas of bright red tree fruit, berries with an underlining of earth and pepper, the palate was of medium body, with stony textures and polished tannins. Bright red cherries, red currents filled the palate integrated with wild herbs, savory minerals finishing with a medium zesty finish. So interesting to taste a Pinot Noir from Panzano, the terroir really came across in the glass with the strong stony textures, very unique.

Antinori Chianti Classico Villa Antinori Riserva 2015

91 points

This really shows the style of the house. The full-bodied palate showed lots of warm, lush fruit on the medium-bodied palate along with cedar tannins, black pepper, balsamic and a medium savoury finish. 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Le Volte Toscana IGT 2016

90 points

Aromas of Strawberries, plums and ripe cherries, along with herbs. A soft palate with medium-plus tannins and over ripe red fruits with liquorice and grippy acidity. Easy finish. Drink now

Fattoria Vignavecchia Chianti Classico 2016

90 points

Aromas of dark red cherries, orange peel, black pepper and a touch of balsamic, the palate was medium-bodied with anise, allspice, good acidity and chalky tannins. The finish was medium yet lingered. Impressive for the price.

La Braccesca (Antinori) Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva Vigneto Santa Pia 2015

90 points

A standard Montalcino, with dark over-ripe fruits and berries and earthy aromas, the palate was medium-bodied with dark cherries, black fruit, liquorice, chocolate along with grippy tannins and a medium finish. rustic in style. 100% Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile)

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Rosso di Montalcino 2017

90 points

2017 was a dry and warm year and hence this Rosso showed more spicy fruit with peppery notes along with chalky tannins and dried herbs. This will need a couple of years to settle down, however, really showcases the vintage well.

Fattoria Vignavecchia Canvalle Toscana IGT 2015

90 points

A nose of dark red and black fruits, with tar, dried violets and pepper, the palate was medium-full bodied, chalky tannins, overbaked fruit, allspice, star anise and a medium and round finish. This is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Sangiovese. Quite serious yet elegant

Fattoria Vignavecchia Titanum Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT 2018

90 points

Quite surprised by this Chardonnay! Located right next to a lake, this chardonnay showed a soft palate of melon, peaches, well-balanced acidity and a round and delicious finish.

Fattoria di Montemaggio Rosé Toscana IGT 2018

89 points

Quite floral and light with red garden fruit, strawberries and cherries, light finish

Il Grappolo Rosso di Montalcino 2015

89 points

Light in colour, with notes of cherry, plum, sweet tobacco, the palate had a rustic characteristic about it along with sweet red fruit, dried violets, vanilla along with grippy tannins and a spicy finish.

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Ateo 2018

88 points

Blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet. Ripe red and black fruits, quite lush with green and black pepper, easy-drinking, bright acidity, easy finish. lacking structure

Fattoria di Montemaggio Chardonnay Toscana IGT 2018

88 points

Very light and bright chardonnay was easy soft fruits of yellow apple and pear along with a bright yet smooth palate. Light finish

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona 385 2018

87 points

Very simple red, lack structure, easy drinking ripe fruit. 

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