(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.
(2018) With 10 years of ageing under its belt, this has gained a lovely tertiary maturity. The colour is still deep, just softening with a hint of tawny on the rim, and with plenty of game and truffle character coming through against the ripe fruit that has elements of both plush blackcurrant and more lifted cherry and raspberry, as well as a sheen of oak. In the mouth that chewiness of tannin and texture gives plenty of full-bodied richness, the fruit is sweet, perhaps even a touch overripe, but the spice and tobacco, the dark and liquoricy combination of fruit and acidity, gives it plenty of character. For drinking now or over the next few years.
(2018) Looking and tasting more youthful than the 2008, this nevertheless shows development with game, blood and even some subtle floral nuances sitting alongside the cherry and red plum and, again, that sweet tobacco spice. In the mouth the concentration is greater than in the 2014 Rosso, with an intense fruit core, but fruit is not the only driver here as a phalanx of ripe, chewy tannin and acidity power through. It has plenty of serious, savoury structure, but the balance is good and the fruit still powerful.
(2018) A 'super-Tuscan' from 100% Sangiovese and a single vineyard planted in 1991, it spends 14-18 months in new oak barrels and a further 12 months in the bottle before release. There is a slick of vanilla that smoothly coats dark berries and brighter, almost floral cherries, again plush with tobacco and some cedary spices, and deeply inviting. On the palate a hint of gaminess on the nose translates into a wine that has a meaty presence, the spicy, firm tannins backing up sweet berry fruits, firmer than the Chianti Riserva, and long, pure and tapering nicely in the finish to a fine spices and fruit extract finish.
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