Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sagrantino Di Montefalco

A Big Beautiful Red for Those Crisp Autumn Nights

Montefalco and Its Beautiful Surroundings

Located about 2 hours south of Siena, in Umbria, Montefalco is the namesake village of a DOCG dedicated to a unique, and excellent, Italian veriatal. The Sagrantino Di Montefalco DOCG was awarded in 1992, establishing a set of rules intended to preserve and promote the quality of wines made from Sagrantino.
The Consorzio Tutela Vini Montefalco requires that only Sagrantino grapes be used, and that thirty months of aging occur before the wine is released. The aging must be for a minimum of twelve months in oak barrels, and at least four months in bottle before release.

Sagrantino is its own grape, not resembling any other, and is only found in the Montefalco region, thus making it rather special and worth investigating.
The thick skins of this red varietal are the main contributor to the longevity of these wines, which are able to age for years, and develop further complexity.

After tasting through a number of samples, a few consistent characteristics became apparent.  These wines are quite solid, and well structured.They have good acidity, and deep, dark fruit profiles, that work in conjunction with the consistently present tannins, thus resulting in balance.The thick skins that fuel this structure, also provide aromatic notes that lay on top of many example, and add complexity.
All of these qualities make Sagrantino from Montefalco an excellent choice for cooler nights, and hearty winter foods. Below are three fine examples, from the more than fifty producers of this wine that you should get to know.

2008 Arnaldo-Caprai "Collepiano" Sagrantini Di Montefalco DOCG 14.5%ABV , $50

Dark black cherry and dusty mineral Earth on the nose, with subtle vanilla bean and aromatic blackberry. The palate is quite chewy with dried, blackberry notes, black cherry skins, char-grilled meat and violet incense. There's a pleasant bitterness on the finish, and a little bite. Big and burly, but it seems to have what it needs to come together into something more after a few years in the cellar. 89Pts

2008 Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino Di Montefalco DOCG 15% ABV $39

Popped and poured, dark ruby in color. The nose is a bit reserved, with the dense, dried, black cherry fruit that is solid, but not round, with faint vanilla, and a hint of cocoa dust. There are also notes of dusty underbrush supporting. The palate is well structured and perfumed with blackberry, black cherry, a pleasant bitterness, a hint of forest floor and a tart juicy finish. Firm, dusty, tannins a present throughout, and drive the character of this wine. Although a bit awkward at this stage, there is a general character of firmness, density, and masculinity. 89Pts

2009 Perticaia Sagrantino Di Montefalco DOCG 14.5% ABV $44

The nose is finessed and lovely showing pretty blackberry scents with underlying cedar, subtle Asian spice, and dried flowers. The fruit is pure and fresh in nature; very appealing.The palate starts off with a soft attack, aromatic black cherry, a little menthol and savory notes trailing. The balance is very good with chewy tannins, easy acidity and depth of fruit. Lean, dark, a little savory, and easy to drink, with fine tannins and a little bite on the finish. A complete pleasure.91Pts.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fontodi Vigna Del Sorbo 2007

Top Chianti Classico

If you've never tried Fontodi's outstanding single vineyard riserva, you should put it on your short list. This is a wine that displays the character of Sangiovese, in a wonderful way, and in every vintage. On paper this sounds like a overblown, crowd-pleaser, with lots of oak and alcohol, but in the glass it's a whole other story.

2007 Fontodi Vigna Del Sorbo, Chianti Classico Riserva, 15% ABV $65

 Aromatic black fruit, covered in distinct scents of rose petals, is the first impression on the nose, followed by black cherry flesh, some raspberry, sandalwood, and tobacco. Deep and alluring. The palate is masculine and elegant at the same time with black cherry skins, dried blackberry dust, espresso grounds, and some aromatic herbs. There is no indication there of the surprising alcohol level, no doubt due to the warm vintage. I love to see how good wine making can offset high alcohol. While it is not fully integrated, it is perfectly balanced, with fresh acidity, ripe tannins, and a solid stock of fruit to feed years of aging. The texture is varied, showing some silk on the attack, but a fine chewiness on the finish. Complex and satisfying. Aged in French oak (specifically from Troncais and Allier), 50% new, for 24 months.  30,000 bottles produced.
90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon 94 Pts


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Poggio Scalette

Wonderful Sangiovese Manifestations

Located in Greve, in the heart of Tuscany's Chianti Classico zone, Poggio Scallete consistently produces wines that show the finest character of Sangiovese. These wines, especially the Il Carbonaione, are made with great structure and balance so that their aging potential is assured. With vineyards at an average elevation of 450 meters, these vines see conditions that help develop intensity, elegance, and structure, which is all you can ask for from any varietal. Below are two notes from recent samples, and one (2005) from a couple of years ago. The wines of Il Carbonaione are a must try / have for any Sangiovese lover.

Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione IGT 2011 13.5% ABV $60

Pure, deep, dark fruit aromas are noteworthy on the nose. Black cherry flesh and blackberry along with some tobacco, and a subtle layer of cut flower scents on top. The dark fruit continues on the palate, with some Asian spice, and sage. There is solid acidity carrying it all from mid-palate to the moderately long finish that shows firm grip and green tobacco. Excellent balance. Lovely, easy to drink now and built to last as well. 92 Pts


Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione IGT 2005  13.5% ABV $50

 Quite solid and structure-centric. Leather, earth, violets, and dried cherry on the nose. The palate has a great texture with a pleasing, fine, granularity, like ground-up, dried, black cherry skins and scorched earth. Despite the finessed fruit, it still comes across as well balanced and complete. There is a wonderful finish, with fine grained grip and excellent aromatics of sandalwood, grilled meat, and leather lingering. Improved steadily over two hours drinking, and was going strong on the last sip. Great structure and balance, with the impression of being built for the long haul.92Pts. 



Chianti Classico DOCG 2012  13% ABV $23

Deep, serious black cherry flesh and black current form the foundation on the nose with tobacco, and sandalwood compliments. The palate has solid structure showing blackberry, mineral Earth, some forest floor, and fine grained tannins. Good acidity adds energy and life to balance things out. The lean fruit takes a primary role here, and makes for this approachable.  90Pts.