(2021) In 2013 the blend was slightly dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon with 36%, then 32% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 12% Petit Verdot, and it was a late harvest with a cool spring and autumn delaying growth. It is eight years younger than the 2005 of course, but seems to be a of much firmer character generally (possibly because of the upped Cabernet content), with firm black fruit on the nose and a savoury, liquorice bite to the acidity and fruit on the palate, tart berry skins giving grip and energy, a fine, long and flowing finish, though that slightly more austere edge is always there.
(2021) What a terrific Brunello, from a four hectare vineyard and raised in oak barrels of 500 to 700-litres, for 30 months. There's a little softness around the rim to the solid colour, and such a wonderfully spicy, vanilla-laden nose, with a touch of pencil-shaving finesse to very ripe, generous fruit. In the mouth huge fruit sweetness, but that is tempered by a touch of meaty, clove-like and incense character, the silky tannins and pert cherry skins acidity adding grip without weight, the purity of the fruit and hints of tobacco and more exotic spice running to the finish. £35.99 as part of a mixed six.
(2021) Cadman describe this as 'quintessential Chianti Classico Riserva,' and I could not argue with that: the Imberti family have invested heavily and replanted solely with Sangiovese in the 1990s, and the rewards are apparent. 100% Sangiovese, it spent two years in oak, and the nose shows a sonorous, smooth, deep pool of black fruit edged with Sandalwood spices and a little bloody, gamy character rich with tobacco. Sweet, sweet and plush black fruit positevly caresses the palate, that elegance of violet and chocolate book-ending the fruit, silky tannins and poised, graceful acidity. Terrific stuff.
(2020) From the vineyards that surround the Poggio alle Mura castle, this spent two years in French oak, plus a further three in bottle. It has a deep red colour, but a little paleness on the rim, then a deep and quite curranty aroma, some volatile lift, and cherry fruit beneath. In the mouth it is smooth and sweetly-fruited, there is liquorice, and again that intense raisined quality. Taut and juicy, the finish has a purity, with oak subsumed by the sweet fruit and elegance of the tannins and acidity.
(2020) Named after the colour of the evening sky above the estate (indigo), this is a blend of equal parts Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, fermented with indigenous yeasts and spending 18 months in French oak barrels, 35% of which were new. It has a deep, saturated and vibrant colour. The nose is really very appealing, with incense and Sandalwood, a deep seam of blueberry and blackcurrant, and a touch of meatiness. In the mouth a surge of sweet, ripe, fleshy damson plum and blueberry bittersweet fruit, the oak just adding a chocolate and coffee sheen, but it is in the background, the polished, plush fruit pushing through against creamy tannins and balanced acidity. A terrific Bordeaux-style wine this, with an agile Itilianate acidity, and drinking beautifully now though worthy of cellaring for a decade or more. Price and stockists quoted at time of review are for the previous vintage.
(2020) South African born Manfred Ing has been at the winemaking helm of this biodynamic estate for many years, in that time further refining their already exquisite wines, red and white. From an excellent year, this is Sangiovese from vineyards in Greve, Radda and Gaiole, and it spent 14 months in barriques and larger barrels, all French oak, with 5% new. I love the refinement and distinction of the nose here, that reminded me very much of a fine Pauillac, with graphite and a touch of cedar and black olive over pert, but ripe black fruits. In the mouth it is beautifully balanced: racy and alert thanks to the finesse and juiciness of the tannins and acidity, and the keen cherry and raspberry edge to the black fruits adding even more precision. Fabulous and cellar-worthy.
(2020) I haven't tasted Banfi's Brunello since the 2000 vintage, an excellent wine that I scored 92. This comes from an official 'five star' vintage, and Banfi predict it will cellar well for 20 to 30 years. It is 100% Sangiovese, the vineyard hand-harvested three or four times to select the ripest fruit, and aged only in large format oak barrels. There's an earthy, dried blood tone to the colour, and a spicy, Sandalwood and cedar component on the nose, some Chinese dried plums and a fresh cherry note. In the mouth the sweet ripeness of the fruit is delicious, a succulent fleshy plum note, but the grip, the spice, and the tight tannin framework does indeed suggest significant ageability. Many stockists are selling by the six-bottle case at time of review, but more will be moving on to this vintage.
(2019) Spring was rainy and mild with early budding, and although summer was dry in general, Montalcino experienced three significant rain events, limiting stress and supporting complete maturation of the grapes. The blend of Merlot and Sangiovese spent 12 months in a mix of new and used barriques. Lovely fruit here, quite lifted compared to the Luce, herb and floral notes joining succulent black fruit on the palate, generous and silky, certainly more approachable at its young age than Luce, but still with complexity and, I suspect, capacity for longevity.
(2018) This is a blend from younger vines, led by Cabernet Franc and Merlot along with Cabernet Sauvignon and some Syrah too, fermented in large oak casks with indigenous yeasts and aged in barriques and French tonneaux for about 14 months, with15% of new wood. I really enjoyed this hugely authentic and expressive wine, very reminiscent of right bank Bordeaux, with a wild gamy, balsamic and stewed plum character, lovely graphite and cedar notes, and a sense of lush generosity. In the mouth it is sweet-fruited, but that gaminess and slightly wild edge adds loads of savoury interest, the sweet tannins and good, sour cherry acid structure freshening and lengthening the finish.
(2018) A blend of four Bordeaux varieties (77%), Syrah (11%), Sangiovese (8%) and Alicante Bouschet (4%). Coming from the older vineyards, each plot is vinified separately and aged in oak for betwen 11 and 20 months, depending on the characteristics of the plot and variety. The blend is made once each component has completed its ageing. There's a lovely, saturated depth of colour here, and though touched by graphite and cedar, a very much more pure, solid and supple black fruit quality than the Aria, though little floral hints add plenty of intrigue. It flows through to the palate with a full and creamy, truly silky weight of blackcurrant and chocolate, but the precision and bite of the bittersweet cherry-skin acidity and very refined tannins are gorgeous against the fleshy density of the wine. Absolutely ready to drink, but should hold for many years too.