(2019) From the hilltop town of San Gimignano in Tuscany, really a rather lovely Vernaccia as part of Lidl's 'Wine Tour' in January 2019. Vernaccia di San Gimignano often has something of a Chablis about it, and so it is here: an unoaked, super-fresh and delicately fragrant white with a touch of blossom to its apple and cool, mountain stream pebble character. I suspect a little lees-ageing has added a hint of creaminess to the texture on the palate, where again orchard fruits and orange-rind flavours have just a touch of saltiness and firm acids to perk them up leaving this bone-dry, bracing and really rather cool and classy. Watch the video for more information and note that, as part of the Lidl Wine Tour, the wine may sell out fairly quickly.
(2019) A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese, this is a perfumed and very pleasing red, a touch of herbs and graphite, the ripeness of black Cabernet fruit, and the tangy vibrancy of Sangiovese cherries all present and correct. In the mouth there is a sweet and creamy edge to this, substantial but with a creamy softness to the tannins and acidity that give it enough structure while leaving it pizza and spag-bol friendly.
(2018) Mainly Sangiovese with small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this is fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete tanks, before spending around two years in a mix of old 500-litre barrels and concrete. What a lovely nose, bloody and gamy, and yet suffused with ripe summer berries, elegant tobacco spice adds another layer. In the mouth this is really juicy, the black and red fruits combining to give both some lusciousness and freshness, more of that gamy character and cherry-pit acidity into the spicy, long finish. Wine-searcher shows no UK stockists for this particular vintage at time of review, though 2013 is available.
(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) Though labelled as an IGT Toscana, most of the grapes for this Sangiovese come from Romitorio's own vineyards in the Scansano region of the coastal Maremma. Its a big, warm-hearted Sangiovese that opens with lightly herbaceous notes of earth and twigs, that briary character joined by sweet plum and cherry fruit. In the mouth it is firm and dry, the tannins giving lots of grip, keen cherry-pit dry acidity too adding to the savoury, food-friendly appeal. If it sees oak it must only be in older, larger barrels, as this maintains an edge of sappy freshness and core of fruit through to a dry, nutty finish. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas, and note that Daily Drinker club members can buy this wine for £11.70
(2018) Less heralded than Chianti, Montepulciano is another fine Tuscan region making wines from the same grape, Sangiovese. Aged 24 months in Slavonian oak, this also has a small proportion of Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo in the blend. The oak is toasty and cappuccino-like, with red fruits and tobacco spice. In the mouth the tight framework of tannin and cherry-pit acidity really pulls this together, the more expansive dark fruit and barrel components sliced through with spicy structure to give this a lively feel in the mouth.
(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) Piombaia's Rosso is 100% Sangiovese Grosso, and like all Rosso di Montalcino's thought of as the 'baby brother' of the Brunello, intended for earlier drinking. The ruby coloured wine offers aromas of strawberry, cherry and red plum, very much in that red fruit spectrum, a nice tobacco spice in the background, a touch of pencil-shaving cedar too. In the mouth this is fresh and very appealing: a brisk, alert character with that bitter twist of cherry pits and skins against the savoury fruit, and very delicious too.
(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.