(2018) The great red grape of Abruzzo, in this rendition both creamy and strawberry ripe on the nose, but also with darker black fruit notes and a hint of tobacco spice. This has delicious creaminess on the palate (It surely must see a little oak?) a touch of mint that is cool and fresh, but again it is that ripe black cherry, slicked with a soft brush of vanilla, that leads on to a very delicious finish. Another great all-rounder at a very good price indeed.
(2008) This special 600th anniversary bottling of Montepulciano celebrates the castle where Farnese estate barrel matures its top reds. The best grapes from Farnese's high-altitude vineyards were very gently pressed, followed by extended ageing in barriques. Laithwaites says only a "tiny parcel" of this special cuvée is available. The colour is dramatically deep, and the nose follows suit with a deep well of plum, chocolate and smoky tobacco, swirling with a juicy black fruit character, but plenty of spice too. On the palate this is very nicely styled, with a really savoury, dry, grown-up structure, where the mineral and crisp-edge black fruit is supported by plenty of damson skin tang and a solid tannin and acid framework. Long, lithe and elegant yet with considerable power.
(1998) Concentrated, spicy nose with subtle hints of cinnamon and cloves. An intriguing spice-box of aromas. Unusual palate with a very sour, plum-skin roughness and high acidity. Italian? Reminds of tinned Italian tomatoes - which is a problem - but I think there is class and plenty of interest. Drink or hold,