Recently tasted, 25+ (petite arvine, nero di troia, aglianico, etc.)

An update on some newer, and older wines. As expected, a few nice surprises. Italian wines, on balance, continue to improve, and continue their tradition as excellent values in the marketplace.

Red2014 Punta Crena Rossese Riviera Ligure di Ponente Vigneto Isasco9/19/2019 – Medium(-) body, with plenty of fresh acidity; the fruit is juicy, as in really juicy. Which, tends to make it pretty gulpable, too, so you’ve been warned. As expected, plenty of freshness and varietal character. It’s not showing the structure that say an Anfosso rossese would, so probably best to drink this sooner than later. (thru 2020) The red fruits just crackle. This remains a reliable, and satisfying producer; an excellent gateway wine if you’ve not tried this variety before. (87-89)
2001 Rivera Nero di Troia Castel del Monte Puer Apuliae 9/19/2019 – Fully mature, maybe even a little past peak; all tertiary now, and easily enjoyable. I wasn’t expecting that it had advanced as quickly as it has, but i could say the same about myself, I reckon. Medium/medium+ body, pencil thin tannins that are well resolved. Be sure to decant for sediment, and, based on this bottle (provenance for many years unknown), drink up. Pretty, and a bit delicate in the way that old wines tend to show. At this stage, it’s no longer showing all it had, and so I feel comfortable with (NR). That said, I really enjoyed it.
2005 Salvatore Molettieri Taurasi Cinque Querce Taurasi DOCG Aglianico9/19/2019 – My second one in as many years, and it just continues to impress. Full-bodied, and certainly full-flavored, but not yet at the apogee of its complexity – call it an equal mix of primary and secondary fruit at this stage. Eminently gulpable, so beware; seriously though, give this 90 minutes or so of air in decanter, and get ready for the brilliant show. The winegrowing there today is all natural, and even though I’m not certain of the practices during this period, I’m guessing they were the same. Should drink at this top level another 15-20 years – and this isn’t even the riserva! (93-96)
2001 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Sangiovese 9/19/2019 – My third one since tasting at release, and, unfortunately, my final one. I say unfortunately because it’s really just entering its preferred window. The last traces of primary fruit are all but integrated, and the window to full-on tertiary development is wide open. That said, it’s fairly young (for my palate), complex and quite elegant. Others around the table were as, or more, impressed; the final sip, some 2+ hours after first pour, was the best. Brilliant, and in a great spot now, and for the next 15 years. (93-96)
2004 Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva Sangiovese9/19/2019 – It was one of those nights where I went down to the cellar and just grabbed a bottle – whether it was ready or not, I didn’t really care; I’m not one to throw caution into the wind very often. That said, once I’d picked it out (blindly, basically), I lamented the fact that I knew it wasn’t ready. Or so I thought. To make a long story a bit shorter, this was simply breathtaking (more so on night 2, as it was more complete). I could go on and on with adjectives, but I think astounding fits rather well. This was aerated to decanter for 45 minutes, and served non-blind; the wine improved with each and every sip. Medium>full-bodied, red fruited, packed with complexity, and as is the style at this estate, quite elegant. There are another 10-15 years of very high-quality drinking yet ahead. Bravo! (93-96)
2008 Marramiero Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Inferi Riserva 9/19/2019 – I’ve gone through nearly a case of this since release, and I was curious to check in on it after a lapse of nearly a decade. In fact, it’s still doing remarkably well (it was slightly better on night two, if you can believe it). Just past the middle of its long plateau, this has another 3-5 years of high-quality enjoyment yet ahead, at least. Aerated 30 minutes prior (and decanted off sediment), and served ~ 60F. This is nearly full-bodied, but certainly full-flavored; finishes long, with deep caresses. Elegance, meet power. (90-92)
2016 Grosjean Petite Arvine Valle d’Aosta Vigne Rovettaz9/19/2019 – Consistent with my note of two years ago “Fabulous, bursting with freshness. Light>Medium-body, great energy, balance. Mountain flowers, quinine, scents of green melon, lemon oil, hay, grass, minerals, soil. Flavors are focused, the body is lithe; not too much depth or breadth at this stage, but it’s clearly got some structure and I imagine in a year this will have filled out nicely. Loved it.”, this has indeed filled out, adding weight and breadth. During the 90 minutes it was open, it continued to fill out, changing it up a few times as it did (i.e. different aromas and flavors came forward/highlighted). A joy to drink, quite good with food, but many will prefer it on its own. Drink thru 2023. (90-92)
2015 Enzo Tiezzi Rosso di Montalcino Poggio Cerrino Sangiovese9/19/2019 – I’ve been in love with this wine since the moment I tasted it at Benvenuto Brunello. In fact, following the 4-day event, I made my way over to the cantina and picked up 24 bottles from Monica. I admit, I’m a huge fan of Enzo, and his farming practices – even if I’m not such a fan of the ’15 vintage for the majority of rosso wines. That said, I love this (remember, I bought 24), and it’s part of my ‘house wine’ selections. Juicy, with just enough heft to play memorably with the red/dark red fruits. Plenty of dust, soil, and brush notes to keep the mind busy; the finish is avg/avg+, but, as I say, the balance is spot on. Pretty much all I could ask for in a wine of this price, from this place and vintage. Drink now thru 2024. (90-92)
2016 Vietti Moscato d’Asti Cascinetta 9/19/2019 – This is in great shape just now, with plenty of freshness and balance to keep it on this level for several more years. A touch too sweet for my palate, but then I seldom have anything with just a few grams of sugar in my diet. Zabaglione with Strawberries seems about right; if only. At $15 USD, a great value. (87-89)
1995 Castello di Ama Vigna l’Apparita Toscana IGT Merlot9/19/2019 – Following my epic experience with the 1994 (a vintage that was not at all on my radar), I had pretty high hopes for this. But (and you knew that was coming), this was just ok. Certainly it seemed at peak, and that peak was a full notch beneath my expectations. That said, it’s got class, and some complexity, but ultimately (maybe the 4 hours of aeration weren’t enough?) it was a good+, mature wine. The color and fill on this were excellent, fwiw. Drink thru 2023. Based on this bottle, I’d veer to the lower end of my scale, (90-92)
2014 Azienda Agricola Cos Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico DOCG Red Blend9/19/2019 – Oh, dear, this is good. It’s improved a full notch since the last time (and even then it was quite good), but I’m not sure it’s reached its peak just yet. By the 90 minute mark, this was complex, full of freshness and energy, and the word/place Burgundy just kept weaving through my thoughts. Medium/medium+ body, with graceful layers, and exceptional balance; added weight until it was finished. If I see any more of this, I’ll grab several as this is just getting started. (90-92), with more room to run. Drink thru 2025
2013 Fattoria Le Pupille (Elisabetta Geppetti) Morellino di Scansano Riserva Poggio Valente Sangiovese9/19/2019 – Nearly two years after the previous bottle, and this is ringing a bit hollow based on someone’s early hype. This is to say that I’d hoped for more complexity to be showing now – and there is some, after 90 minutes of air – but at the end of the day, it’s a bit foursquare, and not terribly interesting (i.e. the lower end of my scale, to my palate, though those that prefer heft will tend to the upper boundary). A good value, and one that will appeal to those that prefer added weight and mouthfeel/fruit in their drop. Probably best thru 2025 if your cellar is cool – though I’m not sure it’s going to improve. I will keep my two remaining bottles in the interest of science. (90-92)
2003 Roagna Barolo Vigna Rionda Nebbiolo9/19/2019 – This is cheeky, I mean on day one, after a careful decanting for sediment and some air, this was just there[/, but what was there was just Nebbiolo wine with some age on it. I opened this to share with some friends, but was not able to go as planned, so I re-corked it, and enjoyed it on night #2 – and then, fireworks. Silky, and complex with a long, elegant final – true to its Cru, one which few should ever underestimate. OK, never. Marvelous, with the proper aeration. Drink thru 2028+. (93-96)
2006 Cascina Val del Prete Barbera d’Alba Superiore Carolina9/19/2019 – One of my favorite bottles this year, which is to say it’s drinking at peak, and it’s packed with complexity, freshness, and class. This superiore carries a bit more weight than I’d otherwise prefer, but there’s so much fresh, lifting acidity that it gets to that next level we’re always seeking. Sadly, my last bottle, and if I had more, I’d drink them with complete confidence until 2024. Definitely provides a sense of place, grape, and time; the deep soil and complex red and blue fruit aromas kept my nose buried in the glass all night. (90-92), and it might go higher from here.
1998 Colle Lungo Chianti Classico Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/19/2019 – I’ve had two of these in the past year (both with great fills/color); the first really blossomed after an hour in decanter, and the second was lightly maderized, and quickly dumped. That said, having been to this estate, and having drank the wines since ’97 vintage, I can vouch for the exceptional job of farming/winegrowing that takes place at this estate (and relais). Drink now. No score as it’s beyond its preferred window. (NR)
1997 Castello di Monsanto Nemo Mulino Toscana IGT Cabernet Sauvignon9/19/2019 – Consistent with my prior bottle, if a little more tertiary at this point. In its preferred plateau, with a medium-bodied frame, and some peppercorn mixed with red and dark red berries; the soil notes on this are just lovely, and seem to gain intensity each 15 minutes after opening (I’d aerated this for 3 hours, and removed the sediment prior to service). A traditional joy that tips its hat at fine claret from the left bank. Drink now thru 2027. (90-92)
2006 Tenimenti d’Alessandro Syrah Cortona Podere Migliara9/19/2019 – Powerful, and rich, but also shows quality structure, and balance. I enjoyed this over three nights (preferring nights 2, and 3); the mix of red and blue fruits is thickly scented, viscous, and downright appealing to fans of heady Syrah. That said, it wasn’t until day 2, and more so, day 3, that this began to show the varietal character – day one was for the hedonists, if you will. Luca Currado’s deft hand is consistent with this wine’s fine character. I advise serving this around 60F as the 14,5% has yet to fully resolve. Drink 2016-2030, based on this bottle’s performance. (93-96)
2016 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso Etna DOC Nerello Blend, Nerello Mascalese9/19/2019 – Consistent with my note of last June, this is still a bit young, showing coiled red fruits, firm tannins, and crisp acids; It was slightly better on night two. That said, I’ll let my remaining 6 bottles sleep for another few years, and let the integration more fully develop. This proposition could be a slippery slope though, as (high) acids may outlive the fruit (it could come down to personal preference). 13,5% abv., drink 2020-2027. (90-92)
Red2013 Anna Maria Abbona Dogliani Sori dij But Dolcetto9/19/2019 -This has really spread its wings, and come into its preferred plateau. On its own, I can live without this – but with food, as it was meant, this is absolutely singing, with deep forest aromas, a dash of savory, and cool, fresh acids that lift not cut. Everything is in place, and it’s a joy to drink now and for several years. Updated the drink window (2016-2024); 13,5% abv. Kudos to Anna, her boys, and the team. I’ve been drinking their Dolcetto wines since 2006 vintage, and these (most) are built for mid-term cellaring – too many, I think, drink these just after release and miss the full story. (90-92)
2015 Casa Emma Chianti Classico Vignalparco Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/18/2019 – Tight, and slightly tart just now, this is coiled, structured, and very pure. Give this a year or three. Lovely energy, and traditionally-styled build; red-fruited, complex. Medium-bodied, avg+ finish, classic. From some of the oldest vines on the farm. HOLD. Drink 2021-2034 (90-92)
2015 Casa Emma Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Chianti Classico DOCG Sangiovese9/18/2019 – I’m head over heels in love with this wine. The nose is simply amazing, and the structure and balance are most impressive. This is this kind of wine I like to get to know, slowly, and fully. Medium+ body, deep, layered and expansive flavors. A tremendous effort, and for those that enjoy very high quality Sangiovese (100%), this is worthy of a case purchase; just 10k bottles produced. Stunning. Drink 2019-2039. (93-96)
2015 Casa Emma Chianti Classico Riserva  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/18/2019 – Serious value alert for a wine that doesn’t require any extended ageing in the cellar. Not on the level of the 2015 Gran Selezione, but priced as such. Very classic aromas and flavors, with a med finish, and a medium, juicy body. Likely to improve if you give it a year or two; ~ 30k bottles produced. 95% Sangiovese, 5% Malvasia Nera. Drink 2020-2030. (90-92)
2017 Casa Emma Chianti Classico  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/18/2019 – Easily in the top quartile of wines from this vintage and appellation. I was left scratching my head as I was set to believe that 2017 could only produce ‘so much’ quality in a trying vintage – this wine easily deflated that notion. Very juicy, with great energy, and balance. This is 90% Sangiovese with 5% Malvasia Nera, 5% Canaiolo; ~ 60k bottles produced. The color is just brilliant, as are the welcome accents of truffle, dust, and tar. One of my favorite ’17s from this appellation; drink 2020-2031. (93-96)
2015 Le Capitozze Chianti Classico Riserva  DOCG Sangiovese Blend 9/18/2019 – From Casa di Monte, in San Casciano val di Pesa, this 100% Sangiovese sees one year in bottle grande, and offers a well-judged 13,0% abv. Some candied red fruits on the nose are second to the lively bright garnet color, and the mixed red/white floral notes, Tuscan dust, and even some pomegranate. Tight and lean today, this is likely to show better with 1-2 years of rest, at least. ~ 10k bottles produced, drink 2021-2033+. Easily worth the humble price. (90-92)
2016 Carus Vini Chianti Classico Baldero  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/18/2019 – Cheeky. The soil, and iron notes are really bright and appealing. But, the finish and mid-palate are not yet fully developed. I’d give this a year or two in the cellar if you’re looking for a more complete wine. 100% Sangiovese, ~10k bottles produced. Drink 2021-2032. HOLD. (87-89)
2017 Carpineto Chianti Classico  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/18/2019 – Comes up a bit short. At the moment, the structural components, together with the muddled energy of the fruit render this a pretty forgettable wine. There are some good soil notes, but the candied red- fruit aromas distract more than add. Just 13,0% abv., drink now thru 2024. 80% Sangiovese, 20% Canaiolo, with 6 months in 2nd/3rd passage barrique, and 6 months in bottle prior to release; ~ 280k bottles produced. (NR)
2017 Carpineta Fontalpino Chianti Classico Montaperto  DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/18/2019 – Really impressive BIO wine, and one that defies the notion that 2017 in this zone was a washout/poor. The nose is just gorgeous, even the slightly candied red fruits are balanced, in proportion. The acids are fresh, highly energetic. This has soul; drink 2022-2034+. 100% Sangiovese, ~ 3k bottles produced. Worth looking for. (90-92) with upside noted.
2016 Azienda Agricola Caparsa Chianti Classico Riserva Doccio a Matteo DOCG Sangiovese Blend9/18/2019 – Slightly more ripe on the nose and palate than the Riserva Caparsino tasted just prior. This exhibits excellent energy, purity, and the structural component are all here for a solid future. Very traditionally styled, with red fruits, forest scents, and pure, fresh cherry fruit. Impressive on its own, more so considering the very fair price. This BIO wine is 98% Sangiovese, 2% Colorino; drink 2021-2034+. (93-96)

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