Italy 2014, The Crush

Tuscany, Venice

Tasted September 20, 2014 - September 29, 2014 by BrunelloBob with 597 views

Introduction

Return to the villa outside Montepulciano ( http://www.tuscany-villas.it/vacation_rentals/62889/ ), followed by two nights in Venice for Uncle George's wedding.
We were there for the crush--tractors on the road loaded with fruit, fermenting sangiovese in the vats, picked yesterday. Perfect time to be there, even if Soldera was too busy with the harvest to grant an audience...
In general, the Brunello was no where near as good this time, but the Vino Nobile, which I had all but "death sentenced" two years ago, was much better. Obviously, vintage made a difference.

Maybe Sicily next time, though I know Beautiful Wife would go back to Tuscany every time.

Flight 1 - Vino Nobile Tasting (2 notes)

We wandered into the Contucci tasting room on the Grand Piazza in Montepulciano by accident, while looking for the Consortium. We tasted through a half dozen Contucci wines, including several single vineyards, then tasted through a half dozen more at the Consortium. The 2010s we tasted were solid across the board.

The Consortium Room offers different wines on different days, so you can return several times for a different experience. It is more professionally run, but I have to say that the two ladies yelling at each other in Italian at Contucci was pretty amusing. There are other tasting rooms in Montepulciano, so it's possible to taste quite a lot in a limited area/time.

It was hard to keep up and get the exact names of all the wines being thrown around, but these were noteworthy:

Red
2010 Contucci Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Mulinvecchio Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
89 points
Tasted and purchased on the Grand Piazza in Montepulciano. Contucci has their own tasting room. We wandered in by accident looking for the Consortium.
We tasted through a half dozen wines and liked this one the best. Pretty wildflower nose. Graphite, black fruit, mineral. Plenty tannic.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2007 Antico Colle Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
90 points
Bought at Consortium in Montepulciano. Euro 24
This is the only bottle we bought at a 6-8 glass tasting. I had just about given up on vino nobile, but the current wines are really good.
This is big, "in your face" Nobile. Big mineral (clearly clay, not sandy soil) Blackberry, blueberry, raspberryt, smoke. Carries its 14.5% alcohol adequately. Great representative, if a bit rustic.

Flight 2 - Montalcino Tastings (5 notes)

We were there for the Crush- Beautiful grapes fully ripe on the vine, loaded tractors on the road. Excellent time to go, even if it did restrict our options. We couldn't get into il Poggione (which was surprising), Soldera (not surprising) and a couple of others. Poggio di Sotto and Poggio Antico have Napa style tasting rooms (reservations required).

Chiara Antoni at di Sotto was great. She's really passionate about the wine and the visit was really informative, but they weren't processing the harvest on site.

We were delayed at di Sotto, so we had lunch (with a bottle) but didn't taste at Antico. The food wasn't all that inspired and, if I were asked, I'd send people to Fattoria Barbi to eat instead.

The highlight was Talenti, where Ricardo Talenti himself showed us around. They were selecting fruit and de-stemming in the yard, and yesterday's fruit was fermenting in the tank. Their 1995 Brunello was an epiphany wine for me, so this was a bit of a pilgrimage. Really appreciate Ricardo taking the time during a busy harvest, even if I couldn't talk him into a barrel sample or out of a 1995 from his personal cellar.

Red
2010 Fattoria Poggio di Sotto Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
92 points
Tasted and bought at vineyard. Perfectly proportioned strawberry, raspberry & cherry offset against an equal herbal-celery thing that some may not like. This is a bit unique, but well-structured and outstanding in its own way. There's plenty of Brunello out there that should be this good. 91-92 points.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2009 Fattoria Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
90 points
Tasted at vineyard, Disappointing relative to the outstanding 2010 RdM, but that may be a vintage thing. 90 points?
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2004 Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
91 points
With lunch at winery. Euro 96
Served cellar temp, no decant. Ready to drink.
Mellow cherry, chocolate, mint, herbs maybe charcoal on the back end.
Nice enough, but considering the vintage and the riserva status, I expected more
Red
2010 Talenti Rispollo Toscana IGT Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
87 points
Tasted at vineyard with Ricardo. 40% cab, 30% merlot, 30% petit verdot. Massive nose, daily drinker fruit bomb. A crowd pleaser.
Red
2009 Talenti Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
90 points
Tasted and bought at winery with Ricardo Talenti, during the crush. Great tasting experience, outstanding host.
Finished the bottle on the villa porch on a rainy day.
Black fruit, mineral, and that green herbal-ness I get from Talenti at least since 2006. Lacks acidity, per the vintage.
Drink now or the next few years.

Flight 3 - Wine with meals (4 notes)

Love the reasonable wine prices at restaurants in Italy. The highlight food-wise? L'Osteria del Teatro, which Beautiful Wife literally found on her cell phone while we were wandering the alleys in Cortona. Un-friggin'-believable risotto.

White
2013 Panizzi Vernaccia di San Gimignano Italy, Tuscany, San Gimignano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano
90 points
With lunch at The Garden in Pienza. Euro 18. Dry, long. Lemon, mineral, honeysuckle. 89-90 points. FIND THIS.
Red
2012 Poggio Grande Piano Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
89 points
With lunch in Pienza, the second time. Euro 19
Nice fruit. Soft, like an affordable burgundy. Raspberry, cherry
Red
2009 Fattoi Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
89 points
By the glass, with lunch in Cortona at L'Osteria del Teatro. Euro 8.50
Best meal on the trip. Restaurant Highly recommended.
The 2009 vintage coalesced in my mind with this glass. Nice strawberry and cherry fruit but straightforward and without much backbone. Real restaurant vintage. Drink now.
Red
2011 La Roncaia Merlot Italy, Delle Venezie
91 points
Last dinner in Venice. Euro 44
Comes out gangbusters, maybe wine of the trip, but impressive tannins dissipate over the course of the meal costing this wine a point in the long run
Beautiful floral (violets?) nose. Red fruit, especially cherry, chocolate, mint. Nice balanced tannin at first, too soft late. Good mouth feel

Flight 4 - Odds and Ends (4 notes)

A lot of disappointment here. Really impressed with the wine selection in the grocery stores but, ironically, both the first and last bottles of the trip came from groceries and were corked. The 1997 Fattoi was somewhat of a tragedy as well. This was the splurge bottle of the trip, and it had the vintage pedigree to support the price, but it suffered from that riserva over-oaking that I often complain about.

Red
2012 La Poderina Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
flawed
Corked
First bottle, purchased at grocery on way to villa. Suspect there is a decent rosso here under the flaw.
Red
1997 Fattoi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
91 points
Bought retail in Cortona after enjoying the 2009 normale with lunch. Euro 100. I paid for the vintage/age.
Subdued nose. Black cherry, red cherry, olive, orange peel. Too much tannin (typical riserva...). Good weight, good length. Some developmental complexity over the course of the evening. Too bad about the tannin. Fruit has probably peaked and may be on a downward slope.
Red
2007 San Polino Brunello di Montalcino Helichrysum Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
90 points
Mineral, mint, subtle dried cherry. Not fruit forward at all, but nice.
Red
2009 Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino
flawed
CORKED. WTF?
375ml, bought in grocery store Euro 15.
Planned as last bottle of the trip, as we packed at hotel.

Closing

One more: Had a glass of 2009 Anaela Gaia with lunch on the canal in Venice. Euro 15/glass. I was really specific in writing the name down, as I had never heard of the wine before, but I can't find it on Cellar Tracker, Wine Searcher or anywhere else on the internet. This was the BEST 2009 Brunello I've had: big nose, some real power in the glass. Black and red fruit, a tannic backbone that is lacking in most 2009s. Notes say to "buy this wine", but I can't find it. Does it exist? Am I crazy?

Maybe Sicily next, though I know Beautiful Wife would go back to Tuscany every time.

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