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Vino Nobile di Montepulciano for short-term aging

The 2011 Fattoria Del Cerro, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a wine that is just entering its first drinking window.  The 2011 vintage was hot and some of that warmth comes across on the nose.  In the mouth this flavorful, filling wine has plenty of watering acidity so it does not get bogged down.  I recommend that you grab a few bottles to lay down over the short term.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Fattoria Del Cerro, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – $18
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is 95% Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese) with 5% Colorino and Mammolo that was aged in 80% Slavonian oak casks and 20% in French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  The flavors of dried grapes and black stones come with red accents and watering acidity.  The notes of stones carry towards the middle where there is a little, bitter hint and chalky tannins.  This mouthfilling wine is undeniably flavorful.  It could stand a few more years in the cellar as it oscillates between smooth and structured drinking.  *** 2017 – 2025.

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A night of Sangiovese from young Napa to Chianti di Vecchia Annata

Lou and I gathered in his kitchen last week to drink through a range of Sangiovese based wines primarily focused in on Ruffino, Riserva Ducale.  We always start with a white wine but this time the bottle of 1999 Savary, Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume was drinking too advanced.  A few sips were fine for curiosity but I soon moved on.  I did not miss a beat in tasting (and drinking) the 2010 Carpineto, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva.  After recently loving a bottle of 2010 Carpineto, Chianti Classico Riserva the Montepulciano did not disappoint.  Let me just say that this is a great wine which is already complex and will clearly develop over the next several years.  I would buy several to lay down.  I then moved on to the 1998 La Sirena, Sangiovese, Juliana Vineyard, Napa Valley.  This tasty wine will have broad appeal.  It is a hypothetical mix up of Sangiovese made in a Rhone style in California.  Perhaps this sounds bizarre but it will not after you knock back a glass or two.

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1999 Savary, Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from 30 year old vines on Kimmeridgian Limestone that was fermented in stainless steel.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The attractive autumnal amber color looks quite mature which the nose confirms with fallen orchard fruit signaling the wine is past its peak.  The wine is younger in the mouth with hints of apple cider, fresh acidity, and nice tannins making for attractive grip.  There is even a citrus hint.  But with additional air I just can no longer get past the nose.  * Past.

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2010 Carpineto, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva
Imported by Opici Wines. This wine is 90% Sangiovese and Canaiolo Nero that was aged for over 2 years in oak. Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose is quite pretty and complex with leather and floral aromas.  This youthful wine has flavors of black fruit supported by structure and acidity.  There is a hint of minerality and an inky quality with a layer of red, floral flavors on top. It is even savory with a touch of fat in the aftertaste.  This is well balance for aging.  ***(*) Now – 2026.

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1998 La Sirena, Sangiovese, Juliana Vineyard, Napa Valley
Alcohol 13.6%.    The robust nose offers up some roasty, toasty aromas in a style evocative of California.  The wine is drinking surprisingly well with a fruity, dense and rounded start.  The watering acidity moves the wine along as it takes on some glycerin for body and offers tart black fruit on the sides of the tongue.  It becomes softer with air with some dark cocoa flavors but it remains tasty.  A hypothetical Rhone-styled Sangiovese.  *** Now.

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Our main flight of three wines was focused in on Ruffino in Chianti.  Founded in 1877, this estate did not produce their first Ducale Riserva until 1927.  The Ducale Riserva with the beige label is produced only in good vintages with the gold label only produced in the very best vintages.  The best grapes from estate vineyards are used for Ducale Riserva.  The gold label is a selection of the best lots of the beige label from the very best vintage and was first released in 1947.  The Riserva Ducale has appeared in American newspaper advertisements since at least 1960.  Over the subsequent decades, Ruffino was considered one of the best known names in Chianti with the Riserva Ducale Oro expensive but considered an age-worthy wine.  In this vein, A&A Wine & Spirits of Washington, DC, listed 11 vintages of Riserva Ducale Oro for sale in 1987.  From the 1977 at $23.99, their selection went back to the 1949 vintage at $199.99 per bottle.  Only the 1964 Biondi Santi, Riserva Il Greppo was more expensive at $399.99 per bottle.

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The beige label spends three years in various vats and oak casks with the gold label spending at least four years in oak.  There was no gold label produced in 1961.  The 1961 and 1971 vintages are a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, 10% Malvasia and Trebbiano, 5% Colorino, Ciliegiolo, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The 1993 is a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 7-8% Canaiolo, and 2-3% white grapes.

The gold label is interesting in that it is made with 6-10% governo.  Governo is a second fermentation caused by the addition of dried grapes, dried must, or concentrate.  The governo used for the gold label is based on grapes dried on mats for two months.  Ruffino feels it helps encourage malolactic fermentation.  The Wasserman’s are of the opinion that wines made with governo can actually age quite a long time, particularly the gold label.  Another example is the Chianti Classico of Monsanto which used governo until 1967.

Given our small sample set, it is impossible to draw any conclusions about the use of governo.  The Wasserman’s rated the 1961 vintage in Chianti a zero out of four stars with Michael Broadbent three stars out of five for Tuscany.  The Wasserman’s rated the 1971 vintage two out of four stars (commenting that the 1971 Ducale Oro was fading when tasted in 1989) and Michael Broadbent rated the vintage five out of five stars.

A general opinion appears to exist that Chianti, outside of the spaghetti joint flasks, does not age to extremes due to the large percentage of white grapes.  Our bottle of 1961 Ruffino, Ducale Beige, Chianti Riserva was certainly past prime.  I managed a few satisfactory swallows but there was nothing that could improve its state.  Perhaps the governo and the strong 1971 vintage worked together for the bottle of 1971 Ruffino, Ducale Oro, Chianti Classico Riserva kept supplying great glasses of wine all night long.  It smelled and tasted like old-school Italian wine with lively acidity and good weight to the flavors.  This bottle was clearly well-stored and I suggest that fans of old Barolo try out this Ducale Oro if you can find one.  Our final bottle of 1993 Ruffino, Ducale Oro, Chianti Classico Riserva was clearly a wine of a different era.  It did have attractive leather, vintage perfume, and a sweaty note but it did not have vibrant acidity, making it softer and more advanced than I would expect.  A solid bottle.  Based on my experience with the 1971 I will continue to carefully look for other old bottles of Chianti.

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1993 Ruffino, Ducale Oro, Chianti Classico Riserva
Imported by Schieffelin & Somerset. Alcohol 13%.  The nose has some VA to it, mixing with hard cherry aromas that become grainier with air.  The wine is immediately softer in the mouth and more advanced than I would expect.  This mature bottle sports tart cherry, leather, and vintage perfume flavors.  It has weight and an attractive sweaty component.  I keep thinking it is softer than it should be.  ** Now.

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1971 Ruffino, Ducale Oro, Chianti Classico Riserva
Imported by T. Elenteny. Alcohol 12.5%.  The good nose remains aromatic with mature, old-school aromas reminiscent of Italy.  The vibrant, acidity driven start shows good weight to the red fruit with good presence in the mouth.  There are ripe, dusty tannins in the aftertaste where a citric grip returns.  The wine responds well to air taking on a persistent flavor of old-school perfume.  The fruit is dry but there are no hints of raisins (from the governo).  *** Now but will last.

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1961 Ruffino, Ducale Beige, Chianti Riserva
Imported by T. Elenteny Imports. Alcohol 12.8%.  The nose is full of roast earth indicating the wine is past its prime.  In the mouth is good, edgy acidity with a core of dense, old fruit.  It is more of a core of tired fruit that tastes old by the end.  There is some menthol.  Drinkable as a relic. * Past.

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Recently Tasted Italian Wines From Grignolino d’Asti to Montefalco Rosso

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Just prior to the holidays we managed to taste through a number of Italian wines.  My favorites include the 2006 IcarioVino Nobile di Montepulciano, 2010 Perticaia,  Montefalco Rosso, and the 2012 Boscarelli de Ferrari, Rosso Toscana.  In need of some cellar time are the 2006 Busi, Riserva, Chianti Rufina, and 2010 Fattoria del Cerro, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.  I recommend that you purchase any of those five wines.  I should also point out that if you want something different then try the 2012 Vini Bocchino, Grignolino d’Asti.  This is a lighter wine, perhaps best to start the evening with before moving on.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur  Beverages.

2012 Boscarelli de Ferrari, Rosso Toscana – $22
Imported by Empson USA.  This wine is a blend of 90% Prugnolo Gentile, 5% Merlot, and 5% Cannaiolo.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There were brighter red fruit flavors in the mouth which were tangy with acidity.  Though bright there was some stuffing, moderate structure, and juicy acidity.  This was a serious young with stuffing for the short term.  *** Now – 2018.

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2012 Vini Bocchino, Grignolino d’Asti – $13
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Grignolino.  The color was rather light.  There was a light nose of berry candy then complex bitters.  In the mouth were firm and lighter flavors, firm acidity on the tongue tip and a midpalate of ethereal flavors.  With air it revealed delicate red candy notes and integrated acidity.  The finish was drier with tart flavors, and structure.  ** Now-2016.

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2010 Le Bertille, Rosso di Montepulciano – $19
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is a blend of 80% Prugnolo Gentile, 20% Ciliegiolo, Colorino and Mammolo sourced from younger vines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a light but scented nose of red fruit becoming more perfumed on the second night.  There were red flavors leaning towards black fruit then tart black fruit which almost puckers the mouth.  There was a little greenhouse note along with more obvious structure and acidity.  It had a little texture in the back aftertaste.  ** 2016 – 2024.

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2010 Fattoria del Cerro, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – $18
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is a blend of 90% Prugnolo Gentile, 5% Colorino, and 5% Mammolo.Alcohol 13%.  There was a subtle black nose which was a touch sweeter on the second night.  In the mouth were slightly tart, red fruit, a little weight, then a hint of creamy black fruit.  The wine played it close with its tangy notes and a little chewy personality.  On the second night it was much better with density, length, and acidity to brighten things in the finish.  The structure was good.  **(*)  2015 – 2025.

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2010 Perticaia, Montefalco Rosso – $23
Imported by Cantiniere Imports.  This wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 5% Colorino.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was slightly tart red fruit with some dark notes.  There was a bit of juicy acidity and ripe orange pith before blacker, round fruit and spices came out in the finish.  It had some gravity, darkness, and allure.  *** Now-2018.

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2010 Antonelli, Montefalco Rosso – $18
Imported by Grappoli Imports.  This wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 15% Merlot.  Alcohol 14%.  There were light aromas of dark red fruit.  In the mouth were initial billowy flavors of soft red fruit.  After a few hours the wine tightened up showing a modern structure which dried the gums.  The acidity came out as well.  The wine was not heavy but the flavors coated the tongue like a blanket.  Could use more verve.  ** Now-2017.

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2009 Marammalta, Micante, Maremma – $13
Imported by IMA Imports.  This wine is a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13%.  There was juicy fruit flavors, with some slight prune notes, good acidity, then black fruit.  With air it took on a touch of smoke, cherry notes, and smoked bacon.  ** Now-2014.

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2006 Icario, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – $25
Imported by Vinifera Imports Ltd.  This wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and Merlot.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose bore a little dark roast.  In the mouth the wine was taking on mature notes but was still robust.  The wine was bristling with saline flavors and controlled ripeness.  It had expansive power in the finish along with a structure of tannins which coated the back sides of the mouth.  Very Italian.  *** Now-2020.

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2006 Busi, Riserva, Chianti Rufina – $18
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese sourced from 10-25 year old vines.  Alcohol 14%.  There were more mature notes on the nose.  In the mouth there was tart black fruit with some mature flavors within the low-lying cloud of flavors.  The grip came out with the acidity.  There were some wood notes, salivating acidity, and drying tannins left on the gums in the aftertaste.  This was perhaps lean, not thin but not rich.  This is currently on the up-slope of development.  **(*) Now-2024.

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A Trio of Italian Wines

In continuing my effort to catch up on my tasting notes this post features a trio of Italian wines.  The 2011 Azienda Agricola G. Ricci Curbastro & Figli, Sebino Rosso is a decent and affordably priced wine from Lombardy.   It maintains enough interest to be a mid-week wine so keep it under consideration.  My favorite of the trio is the 2009 Corte Alla Flora, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.  Not only is it a satisfying wine but it also tastes different, I certainly recommend you try a bottle.  Lastly I grabbed the 2007 Duca di Salaparuta, Vajasindi because I just had to try a Sicilian wine under $20 with some age.  Unfortunately it was a bit uninteresting right now.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Azienda Agricola G. Ricci Curbastro & Figli, Sebino Rosso IGT – $13
Imported by Grappoli Imports.  This wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot.  Alcohol 12%.  The color was a medium ruby garnet.  The light nose revealed soft aromas of red and plummy fruit.  In the mouth the soft red fruit surround a core of blue and black fruit.  There was a brief hint of herbs.  The flavors tightened up towards the finish where some structure developed along with salivating acidity.  There was a  tiny bit of drying tannins in the aftertaste.  ** Now-2015.

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2009 Corte Alla Flora, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – $17
Imported by Siema.  This wine is a blend 0f 80% Prugnolo Gentile, 10% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon which was fermented in stainless steel tanks where it underwent malolactic fermentation then aged for 18 months in French oak. Alcohol 14%.  The nose was a little earthy and stink with some leather hints.  The mouth follows the nose with dry flavors, pencil lead, and drying tannins.  The black and red fruit mixes nicely with black minerals.  There is a drying structure in the finish, salivating acidity, and somewhat tart red fruit.  There are some different, mature notes in this enjoyable wine.  *** Now-2018.

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2007 Duca di Salaparuta, Vajasindi, Lavico – $17
Imported by Wine Cellars Ltd.  This wine is 100% Nerello Mascalese.  Alcohol 13%.  There were firm red flavors and herbs which mixed with red and black acidity.  The tannins are integrated, though present, but nothing crazy.  There was slightly watering acidity.  ** Now-2018.

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