10th of 18, pnp, perfect cork and level - similar to last April's note but the dry tannins were more obtrusive and pleasure factor diminished hence the downgrade. I preferred the purity of the 98 on the night. VG+ (16.5).
Still dark ruby even at the margins. Floral with lots of tar and mushroom mixed in on the nose. Full bodied, firm structure, but fruit not quite ripe. Notable tannins and super dry that lended itself to a fat steak beautifully. Medium length and pleasant finish.
Pretty nose of cassis, black cherry and tobacco leaf. Quite refined and restrained especially for a '97 with delicious but taut flavors of black cherry and licorice. Silky and fine but also fading somewhat and given the dryness of the tannins, I think this should be consumed quickly. Not the best vintage of Sammarco by any means.
At Whidbey cabin for anniversary. Lovely rustic Italian wine. Jen and I kept finding more herbs and other flavors. Lots of lavender, sage, and thyme -- like a hot Italian herb garden. With a nice backbone of red fruits, some barnyard and leather. These notes are based on memory (did not get to write it down at the time). Really outstanding. Exactly what I/we love about Italian wines. Drinking beautifully now, and will last -- on second day it was even better.
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(Castello dei Rampolla "Sammarco") This is Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese and has a great core of dark cherry fruit that gets brighter as the wine opens up. This an extremely earthy wine with the suave and silky tannins of a "made" wine but it is no way offensive and is actually quite enjoyable. Maybe too earthy for some but perfect for me. There is almost a dried mushroom element to the wine which adds wonderful complexity. Very rich but not overextracted or hot in any way. Really restrained considering the ripe quality of the vintage Quite nice wine and lasted open for two days with no signs of oxidation which is impressive as I find Sangiovese oxidizes quite easily. Nice stuff and I will not open my next bottle for 5-7 more years.
(Castello di Rampolla Sammarco) I am very glad I did not open one as this was very closed but has a very bright future ahead of it. Reticent nose at first but soon there were aromas of ripe black cherries, spicey oak, and some other non oak-associated spice. Subtle nose but very detailed. Very big on the palate but has an amazing roundness and precision. Pinpoint acidity with tremendous ripeness of fruit but still somewhat missing something in the middle due to it's shut down personality. Long finish with big noble tannins. This is a great wine. I would not touch this for at least five or six years.
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