(2020) From Tenuta sette Cieli's organic vineyards, this is 100% Cabernet Franc, fermented with indigenous yeasts and spending 24 months in French oak, 40% of which was new. It pours a very dense, opaque dark crimson, the nose offering some tapenade and charcuterie notes, but beneath a weight of glossy black fruits. A little hint of mint. In the mouth the creamy weight of smooth, unruffled black fruit flows across the tongue. There is an underpinning of coffeeish oak, very silky tannins and fine black cherry acidity, but the fruit dominates into a long finish. The Tannins reassert in the finish, and I suggest decanting this or cellaring for a few years. A very nice wine.
(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) 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) 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 the famouse Barone Ricasoli of Chianti, this IGT Toscana rosé is blended from Sangiovese and Merlot, and is an absolute dead ringer for a Provence pink, from the attractive, plump bottle to the pale colour and dry, herb and red fruit aromas. It is very different from the Cantele rosé tasted alongside, with a very light the palate, perhaps the fine lemony acidity would benefit from just a little more fruity substance lying over it, but it finishes with a nice tang of cranberry or rasberry and has the savoury credentials to make a very good food wine, maybe with a prawn pasta or risotto.
(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) 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) From Lodovico Antinori’s estate in the Upper Maremma, only 40% of this blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot spent a short time in French oak barrels. What a beautifully perfumed wine this is, crushed raspberry and incense floating from the glass, a touch of darker blackberry and a hint of spice. On the palate it combines plush, sweet and dense, ripe fruit with great agility, a breezy freshness to the acidity and the oak adding just a sheen of nutty breadth to the crisp, fruity finish. Delightful. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2019) 2015 experienced a sunny and dry growing season, the hot summer mitigated by intense August rainfalls that provided ideal conditions for uniform, stress-free ripening. A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot with a yield of 35 hl/ha, and aged 24 months in barriques, 85% of which were new. A robust, firm character on the nose, plenty of polished oak, dark and liquorice character. The tannins are firm and very grippy at this stage, a big structural wine, the tannin and acid framework a touch angular right now, though softening notes or spices and obvious fruit concentration suggest it would be best approached in another five years perhaps.