(2015) What a treat to have this class act in our case. From arguably Tuscany's greatest terroir, this Sangiovese was vinified in stainless steel before maturation in large Slavonian casks - the recipe for many of my favourite Brunelli. It comes from an organic estate farmed by the same family since the 1930s, and opens with the most evocative perfume of blood and tar, tobacco and ripe cherries, the fruit and smokines swirling in the glass, spice and pepper too. In the mouth that long cask ageing has softened the edges of a firm, intense wine, 15% alcohol adding to the plushness and sense of quiet authority, the palate dense but not not dull, enlivened by the spices, the juicy acidity and the tight liquoricy tannins. One to enjoy now with a steak or lamb, or to lay away for up to a decade.
(2013) 2009 seemed to be a fairly complex year weather-wise for Caiarossa, with a dry early summer, heat and thunderstorms in August and cooler conditions at harvest. Also a Bordeaux-based blend, Caiarossa 2009 is 25% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Petit Verdot, but there is also 19% Sangiovese and small proportions of Syrah and Alicante Bouschet. Fermentation takes place in large wooden casks and concrete tanks with wild yeasts, then a whole variety of different barrels is used for components of the wine according to its character. It's a hugely aromatic wine, the Cabernet Franc giving a smoky, herbal-edged, green olive touch and the ripe, creamily blackcurrant weight of the fruit in this 14.5% alcohol wine layered beneath. There is cedar and pepper, and that sappy edge persisting. In the mouth it has wonderful juicy clarity: this is marvellously light on its feet given the alcohol, with a cherry-precision to the acidity and a certain cherry freshness to the fruit, though a deeper, rounder, more opulent fleshiness too. Tannins are refined and finely-textured and the swirl of smoke wreaths through the fruit on the finish. Another absolutely beautiful wine, more showy and less classically restrained than the Ornellaia perhaps, but still with significant ageing potential.