On Thursday October 20th the ICC Wine Group met to start the 23rd season of Tastings… A look at Tuscan wines.

Here are my notes:
VERMENTINO SOLOSOLE 2015 (Poggio al Tesoro)   –   14 %   –   Wine Soc – £13
Peachy nose with herbs and a hint of salt, later some floral scents. Palate has a salt-mineral line with some acidity, which helps lift a slightly rich – perhaps too rich – peachy fruit centre. A little over-blown with time but would work well with a salty or smoked fish dish…
Ratings:        Quality:  14/20   Value:  14.5/20

VERNACCIA DI SAN GIMGANO RISERVA 2013 (Guiddiardini Strozzi)   –   13 %   –   Laithwaites – £14
Quite a subtle nose with floral and herb notes with a tinge of warm menthol. Palate has a hint of that warmth too, with a line of acidity drying and warming the mouth and underpinning slightly soft, yellow fruit. Balanced and rather classy…
Ratings:        Quality:  16/20   Value:  16/20

SANGIOVESE TOSCANA “ALL’OMO IL VINO” 2011 (Cennatoio)   –   13 %   –    Stone Vine & Sun – £12
Inky dark red with a nose of blackberry and some spice. Quite light bodied style with surprisingly dark fruit flavours and warm spice. A quaffing wine that is on the black-fruit end of Sangiovese.
Ratings:        Quality:  14.5/20   Value:  15/20

VINO DI NOBILE DE MONTEPULCIANO 2013 (Santa Caterina Tre Rose)   –   14 %   –   Wine Soc – £14
Much more typical Sangiovese nose: fruit cake (dried fruit, cherry and baking spice) with a little woody twist… Palate follows the nose closely with plummy ripe fruit and a good acid lift – balanced and the finish holds up well.
Ratings:        Quality:  16/20   Value:  16/20

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2011 (Val Di Suga)   –   14 %   –   Wine Soc – £20
Although younger than the previous wine this had a browner, more Brunello, colour. Nose is much sweeter too, with briar fruit to the fore. Brilliantly pliable and evolved tannins and lifting acidity support a sweet red cherry fruit but the whole thing has a quite quick, soft landing…
Ratings:        Quality:  15.5/20   Value:  15/20

BOTTIGLIA PARTICLORE 2003 TOSCANA IGT (Verrazzano)   –   13½ %   –   Grower £20 (in 2007, UK Price now = £35)
Nose has some hardness, definite black fruit and some woody richness. Palate has both Cabernet and Sangiovese characters with the former in the ascendancy – structure is significantly better with a backbone of tannins and acidity lasting to, and extending, a black fruit finish. However this structure is at the cost of the Sangiovese yielding to the Cabernet a little too much.
Ratings:        Quality:  15.5/20   Value:  14.5/20

A very interesting tasting of some good wines – the Vernaccia showing very well.

However the last three wines especially showed the character of Sangiovese: on its own and blended. The last, Super-Tuscan wine trades Sangiovese typicity for more structure – especially at the finish – compared to the penultimate wine, the Brunello. However it overdoes the trade-off slightly, IMO, and become too Cabernet… The comparison might easily persuade one to hunt down a 80% Sangiovese / 20% Cabernet Sauvignon version…. Indeed the wine that best balanced Sangiovese flavours and structure seemed to be the Vino Nobile… Which has 5% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Of course a 100% Sangiovese can pull it off – compare the Felsini (see the post of June 6th 2016).

Until soon!