(2020) From the renowed Morellino di Scansano producer Elisabetta Geppetti of Fattoria le Pupille, a rare Tuscan rosé, coming from the coastal Maremma, and made from 100% Syrah, some of the vines dating back to 1990. Another unusual aspect, is that 10% of the wine was aged in barrels of Acacia wood. The colour is a pale, but orangey-pink, the nose fragrant with small red berries, a hint of sweet blossom, and a little touch of peppery spice. In the mouth, it at first seems off-dry, perhaps there's a gramme or two of residual sugar, but that's soon swept up in the savoury berry fruitiness, lemony acidity and more of that lingering spice.
(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) Pouring a medium-pale, quite burnished, orangey-pink, this has dry seeds and herbs on the nose, a little spice, and then a bright melon and pomegratate fruitiness. Dry and savoury on the palate, there is a nicely sour and tart edge of underripe plum and raspberry, giving this a very gastronomic, digestible feel. A sweetness to the fruit and creaminess makes it very approachable, within an overall framework of savouriness.
(2020) A very unusual, but highly successful, blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Manseng, Traminer and Semillon from the coastal Maremma, fermented with wild yeasts and only a very small percentage spending a few months in larger French oak barrels. The Sauvignon is vivacious and bright on the nose, but with a candied quality and a little buttery richness too, so it is both vivid and rounded. In the mouth beautifully sweet and ripe orchard and stone fruit flavours have great freshness thanks to the cool, lightly salty, lime-streaked acidity. Lovely.
(2020) From Abruzzo in the east of Italy, Pecorino has seen something of a revival in the last decade or so, but much of it quite cheap and cheerful stuff, made in large volumes: highly quaffable, if undistinguished. The Tiberio family's Pecorino is a bit different, from a single hillside vineyard planted on clay, fruit from the 20-year-old vines is fermented with wild yeasts and winemaker Cristiana Tiberio strives for balance, freshness and authenticity. This wine offers an invigorating blast of intense citrus on nose and, especially, palate, as decisive as any higher-acid brisk and bracing style, but there is also delicacy, some white flowers on the nose, the wild yeast adding complex nutty and lightly earthy characters, but the bone-dry fruit and acid axis driving to the end of a terrific, if uncompromising wine.
(2020) This Tuscan red sees Sangiovese blended with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, grown in the coastal Maremma, with only around 10% spending time in oak. It's something of a fruit-bomb this - not at all overblown, but filled with a buoyant, creamy blast of ripe, fleshy cherries and blackcurrant that soars from the glass, backed up with just a hint of pencil-shaving finesse. In the mouth that joyous explosion of ripe but nicely savoury fruit comes through, all supple and smooth black fruit flavours, but a chocolaty tannin and bright cherry skin acid axis offers a lovely counterpoint. Approachable, delicious, and it put a warm smile on my face.
(2020) This is a classic Primitivo from Salento in Puglia, and a particularly bold and juicy example emphasising the exuberant dark fruit profile of the wine. Spices, damson plum and blackcurrant on the nose suggests a certain plushness, and that's borne out on the palate, where a creamy weight of black fruit and supple texture fill the mouth, great sweetness to the fruit, but a very nicely sour and savoury edge of bittersweetness: plum skins and tangy orange acids, the chocolaty tannins and six months in oak barrels adding even more smoothness to the finish. Great value here.
(2020) From one of the biggest names of Barolo and Barbaresco, but here turning his hand to the more humble Docletto, but still a serious interpretation that spends 12 Months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Really vibrant, deep purple in colour, the nose is highly aromatic, lifted, violet-touched and elegant, but with a core of juicy blueberry and ripe plum, a hint of Amarena cherries and some depth of cocoa too. In the mouth it is smooth, ripe and full of wonderfully bittersweet flavours, the agile acidity and taut tannins giving a bit of authority, but the sweet-fruited joy of the wine always threatening to break free. Given the heritage I am sure this will cellar for a few years too.
(2020) A meatier, more umami nose than the Vargellas, the fruit less obvious, but with a lovely dark chocolate quality on the palate, real sweetness again, a tarry depth, and the dry, tannic finish suggesting this needs several more years.
(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.