(2017) A new operation in Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast from Fuedi San Gregorio of Campania, this is a Bordeaux blend (typical of the region) with the addition of a little Syrah. It spent 10 months in a mix of new and old French oak barrels and larger vats. The nose has an inky dark hue, firm black fruit and a touch of coal dust, gently cedary in the background. The palate to is firm and quite tannic, a big drying tannin presence on the cheeks, the taut, savoury black fruit and black olive coming through. Spicy notes and a little coffee emerge, but the tight, lean black fruit and a hint of minerality drive this. It should ease over three to five years. A promising first release I must say. No UK stockists at time of review, but given Fuedi San Gregorio's presence I imagine it will become available.
(2017) Brunello di Montalcino may not be the most famous appellation of Tuscany - Chianti surely takes that crown - but for many Italiophiles it is home to the region's best reds, made from the Sangiovese Grosso variety. What's more, 2010 is generally held as one of the best ever vintages. No producer is stated for this, though a bit of detective work reveals its a respected large producer. There's a balsamic and meat-stocky character, some cedar, four years in barrel plus the bottle age showing as a light tawny on the rim. On the palate the sweet fruit of cherries and a gentle meaty smokiness, soft and giving tannins and good overall balance. It's not a Brunello for the long haul I feel, but delivers good, mature character right now.
(2017) A beefy 14.5% abv for this Classico Riserva, so there is abundant ripeness though it refuses to cross over into excess. There's some bloodiness and tobacco to the deep-set fruit, enlived by a little cherry and nice sense of graphite, classy oak treatment too. In the mouth it certainly is sweet and mouth-filling, the rich, thick fruit always edged by that hint of gamy, cedary, iron oxide character and its excellent acid structure. Tannins are creamy and refined in a gorgeous, modern Chianti.
(2016) As he approaches his 80th birthday Gianfranco Soldera is still fully engaged and very much in command of this small, iconic estate in the hills of Tuscany. In a vertical tasting, all of the wines were just superb: truly world class red wines of infinite complexity and beauty and huge ageing potential. This 2006 had such a wonderful perfume, a massive tobacco and ashy background to pure, ripe cherry fruit, it is just fabulously complex. There's so much of that racy, vital character against immense sweetness of sour cherry and tobacco again, the texture and tannins creamy, but the agility and elegant length just majestic.
(2016) A delicate salmon to more vivid pink, this is a really pretty blend of Merlot and Sangiovese from Barone Ricasole's Tuscan vineyards. It has plenty of spark and life about it, the crispness and bright fruitiness enhanced by the refined, but decisive acid core. Most enjoyable and versatile, from garden sipping to fish and seafood matching. Roberts & Speight have 50p off at time of review.
(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.
(2015) Querciabella Labelled as a Toscana IGT (so a white 'Super-Tuscan' in effect), Querciabella's homage to Bâtard-Montrachet has always been one of Italy's best white wines. It's expensive, but each time I have tasted it, it has never failed to impress. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, it is fermented and aged in French barriques, 30% of which are new. It has a haunting, beautiful fragrance, all the floral charm and subtle oatmeal richness, refined and agile mineral balance and such a flood of peachy fruit on the palate. Immensely fresh, but with almond, subtle honey, and terrific balancing acidity. Delicious, complex and understated, this is indeed a great white wine.
(2015) A serious young Chianti Classico, which after 15 months in French oak and 15 more in bottle is just beginning to hit its stride. There's a great solidity about the fruit, cedar and tobacco spice on the nose, but also something elegantly kirsch-like and floral, and a suave sense of depth. In the mouth it has real concentration - much more than in many Chianti wines - but not at the expense of elegance and vitality: the fruit is dense, the tannins firm and meaty, and the cherry freshness of the acidity beautifully balanced. This should cellar well for 5 to 10 years very easily.
(2015) From vineyards at 300m altitude, and rocky soils with silt and fossils, this spent 24 months in French oak casks, ranging in size from 300 to 600 litres. It has 14.5% abv. I pick up dried herbs and cherry on the nose here, and delightful colour and not too dense, the fruit seems ripe and elegant. In the mouth a Morello cherry ripeness and juicy sweetness, a bite of bittersweet liquorice to the structure. Another delicious and approachable wine. £35.99, The VineKing.
(2015) Vineyards are again at 300m altitude on clay and schist soils, rich in stones. This wine spent 40 months in Slavonian oak of varying sizes, and has an abv of 15.18%. Cherry and floral nuances here, nice aromatic lift though there is a slightly resinous oak note, though not jarring. In the mouth it is certainly a little more strict at this stage than the previous wines, gripped by tannins and arguably just a little too much oak. There is a great density of fruit and tannin, and this is certainly a wine that needs to be aged for a few years - at which time I suspect my score might be a point or two higher. £25.00, Fine+Rare Wines.