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A Wee Bit of Bottle Age


For several dollars more than our daily wine-drinking budget I am able to purchase Italian wines with a wee bit of bottle age.  Of the trio featured in today’s post we both preferred the Pratesi.  This “Super-Tuscan” is actually a Bordeaux blend and one you should try if cedar box, stones, and tobacco sound attractive.  A bit more traditional is the Rivera which is made from Aglianico.  At this point it remained tight and in need of additional age.  I do not know if it will gain complexity with additional age but it should certainly become more approachable.  The Oliveto is interesting for it is made from Sangiovese fermented in Slavonian oak vats.  There are interesting flavors to this wine but I was distracted by the disappearing fruit and emerging warmth.  The Pratesi was purchased at Wide World of Wines.  The Rivera and Oliveto were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

2004 Azienda Agricola Pratesi, Carmione, Rosso Toscano – $20
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc sourced from a six acre vineyard planted in 1995 at 600 feet.  It was fermented in stainless steel tanks, underwent malolactic fermentation, then was aged for 18 months in French barriques.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color is medium+.  The nose is fresh with aromas of dark fruit.  In the mouth the wine eventually softens and fleshes out to reveal blue and black fruit, cedar box, and some stones.  There are fine+ ripe tannins which coat the tongue and the inside of the lips.  There are nice flavors of tobacco in the aftertaste.  There is moderate concentration to this wine which is still integrating.  A bit tannic a this point with spearmint and a spicy aftertaste.  Drinkable now but best after 2-3 years.  *** Now-2022.

2005 Azienda Vinicola Rivera, Cappellaccio Riserva, Aglianico, Castel del Monte – $22
Imported by Bedford International.  This wine is 100% Aglianico sourced from a vineyard at 220 meters.  It was fermented in stainless steel then was aged for 12 months in French barriques.  Alcohol 13.5%, TA 5.7 g/L, pH 3.45, RS 1.8 g/L.  The nose was similar to the mouth.  The flavors of blacker red fruit remained tight.  It was a touch salty with a dry profile and confident drying tannins.  There was a little salivating acidity.  At this point the structure overpowers the fruit leaving wood notes in the finish.  ** 2015-2022.

2006 Tenuta Oliveto, Il Leccio, Rosso di Toscana – $20
Imported by Ima Imports.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese sourced from vineyards planted in 1997 and 1998.  It was fermented in Slavonian oak vats followed by 14-15 months of aging in French oak tonneaux.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color is a medium cherry-garnet.  The light nose reveals high-toned red fruit and wood box.  In the mouth there were robust flavors, menthol, hard minerals, and some spritz.  The fruit flavors dried up and shrank in the middle becoming a touch spicy in the aftertaste.  The menthol flavors exist throughout as some heat warms the aftertaste.  With air cinnamon flavors, red and black fruits, and mature notes come out.  There are fine tannins in the aftertaste.  I would drink this up before the fruit dries out.  ** Now.

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