Showing posts with label sangiovese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sangiovese. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Viticcio Morellino di Scansano 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

delicious red wine review will be arriving at the LCBO as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Fattoria Viticcio has been producing wine since 1964 among the rolling green hills of Tuscan wine country in Greve in Chianti, between Florence and Siena. Today, the winery encompasses 120 ha of estate-owned land among the hills in Chianti Classico and Maremma. With the help of a young and energetic team, they are dedicated to producing wines that showcase the nuances of the incredible terroir in Tuscany, while also respecting the environment. Viticcio has always cultivated their vines using organic techniques and natural treatments as much as possible. Since 2013, their entire production has converted to organic.

This particular red wine was launched by Viticcio a couple of years ago. It is their second wine from the lands of Maremma and first red from this zone. The climate in Maremma, which is located in southern Tuscany, is sunny with a refreshing sea breeze from the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, and clay, sand, limestone, and sandstone soils that make it the ideal terroir for cultivating varietals such as Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

The name "Morellino" is the local word for "Sangiovese." In Maremma, it is a deep-hued purple grape that is a clone of the Sangiovese grape found in other parts of Tuscany, and (possibly) named after the dark-haired Morelli bay horse that once roamed these lands.

Viticcio Morellino di Scansano 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

VITICCIO MORELLINO DI SCANSANO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#574186) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot aged in 225 L barriques for 10-12 months. The medium+ intensity nose reveals pretty red cherry, rose floral, oak aromas wrapped around a savoury core. It is full bodied with bold, assertive, and grippy tannins, along with fresh acids and nice aroma replays on the palate. Very good length with more cherry, floral and earthy notes lingering on the finish. Needs a couple of years for tannins to soften, or try now with big red meats. Should drink well for the next 6-8 years. Score: 88 pts

Saturday, December 8, 2018

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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018

Rocca delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Riserva Chianti Classico that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Rocca delle Macìe, a name that I'm sure you have come across at some point while perusing the aisles at your local LCBO. Rocca delle Macìe was founded by film producer Italo Zingarelli in the Chianti Classico area in 1973 when he purchased the 93 hectare estate to fulfill a life long dream. At the time, only 2 hectares were planted to vines, but along with help from his sons Sergio and Fabio, and his daughter Sandra, the estate now covers more than 500 hectares, 200 hectares of which are used as vineyards. The four estates Rocca delle Macìe owns in the Chianti Classico area all reside within the Municipality of Castellina in Chianti, in the southwest with very heterogeneous soils.

This red wine is one of Rocca delle Macìe's flagship wines from the Chianti Classico zone as only the best grapes from each of the four estates in Castellina make it into the blend that consists of mostly Sangiovese, and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The label proudly bears the Zingarelli name in order to highlight the strong link that the family has with the Chianti Classico area.

Rocca delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

A blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot that was aged in French oak barrels for 2 years. Fine aromas of oak spice, blackberry, wet earth, and dark cherry with a nice savoury component stream from the glass. It is medium-full bodied with fine-grained tannins and juicy acids supporting the dark berry, savoury, vanillin oak, earth, and cherry flavours. A touch warming on the mid-palate. Nicely savoury and earthy with some chalkiness on the long finish that ends with a nice red cherry note. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 89 pts

Monday, December 3, 2018

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  • Monday, December 3, 2018

Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

On , I opened up this lovely red wine that was recently featured as an Illustrious Italian wine and released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Palazzo estate, a winery located on the picturesque south-eastern slope of Montalcino at an altitude of 320 metres above sea level that was purchased by the Loia/Palazzo family in 1983. Soon after the purchase, Cosimo Loia and his wife Antoinette Palazzo discovered that some of the land is of Eocene origin, arid and rocky - ideal for planting vines. Today, the estate covers an area of approximately 15 hectares, of which 4 hectares are devoted to vineyards and 3 hectares to olive trees.

In 1986, along with their children they began producing wine. Since the vines were still young, they were devoted to the production of Rosso di Montalcino. But in 1995, the vines reached nine years of age, at which point they could finally harvest the grapes, and after a few years of oak ageing, produce their first vintage of Brunello.

The entire production, including farming, harvesting, vinification, ageing and marketing is managed by the Loia family, along with the help of consulting oenologist Fabrizio Ciufoli. Over the years, the Loia-Palazzo family and cellar has grown, and above all, the quality of the wines - including this Brunello - have achieved a high level of excellence.

Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (93 pts)

Tasting Note:

PALAZZO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#660746) (XD) - $69.95
Hand-harvested, 100% Sangiovese Grosso that spent 3 years in barrel. Complex, medium-high intensity aromatics offer dark berry, cherry, and mineral aromas layered on top of oak spice and earth. It is full-bodied, spicy and fresh and on the palate with drying tannins. Lovely cherry, leather, oak spice, pepper and a hint of floral on the flavour profile. Mouth-watering acids. Some warmth mid-palate continues through to the long finish, giving way to wood spice, earth, and cherry flavours. Approachable now, but better in a few years and will age for at least a decade. Lovely Brunello! Score: 93 pts

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

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  • Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Carpineta Fontalpino Riserva Chianti Classico 2012 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

A recent arrival to the LCBO, red wine review was released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

This organic wine is produced by Fattoria Carpineta Fontalpino, an organic winery in Tuscany that traces its past back to the 1800's. It is located in the heart of Tuscany, very close to Siena and in the historical commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, at the bottom of the hill of Montaperti where the famous battle between Siena and Florence took place on . The name of the winery comes from a historical place, where you would find Carpineta (an area that has trees with silver backed leaves) and Fontalpino (the fount with the pine trees of Montaperti).

Italo Cresti founded the winery in 1967, and today it is run by his children, the brother-and-sister team of Gioia and Filippo Cresti. Gioia is a French-trained oenologist and responsible for all of the production phases, from winegrowing to ageing, while Filippo runs the operational and marketing development side of of the business.

Carpineta Fontalpino Riserva Chianti Classico 2012 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

Organic wine made with 100% Sangiovese. Forest floor, dried cherry, and subtle oak spice aromas from the cork. Nicely maturing, savoury aroma profile with wet forest floor, sweet oak spice, dried cherry, and dried florals, of medium+ intensity. On the medium-full bodied palate, gritty tannins are still quite grippy, while flavours are savoury with currant, earth, cherry, clove and oak spice notes. Succulent acids are vibrant and juicy. The finish is long and savoury with more earthy, forest floor flavours. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts

Saturday, July 21, 2018

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  • Saturday, July 21, 2018

Cantalici (Tuscany) Winemaker's Dinner at Mangia et Bevi

Cantalici Winemaker's Dinner at Mangia et Bevi
Last , I had the pleasure of tasting the wines from Tuscany's Cantalici Winery with Winemaker Carlo Cantalici and Export Manager Angela Butini at Mangia et Bevi in the eastern end of downtown Toronto.

After everyone arrived, we sat down at the long, communal-style dinner table and Angela and Carlo began telling us about their winery and taking us through the wines with course from the delicious 4-course meal, eventually ending the night with some Vin Santo.

The winery, L'Antica Fornace di Ridolfo, was formed by Carlo and his brother Daniele in Castagnoli, a small medieval hamlet close to the village of Gaiole in Chianti. It was named after an ancient kiln that was built in the 16th century by a wealthy Florentine family, and the kiln was preserved and integrated into the winery when Carlo and Daniele purchased the property in the late 1990's. Today, the estate has three properties in different areas of Chianti spread out over 90 hectares of hand-harvested vineyards, at altitudes from 300 to 450 metres above sea level.

The most interesting wine of the night was the 2012 Chianti Classico as it really blossomed over the course of the evening.

Thank you to AMV-Whiz for the invitation and hosting this event. It was a lovely evening with fine wines, delicious food, and very good conversation. You may find these wines at the LCBO, but can otherwise contact AMV-Whiz for availability.

Cantalici Winemaker Carlo Cantalici and Export Manager Angela Butini

Tasting Notes:

CANTALICI PETALI ORGANIC ROSÉ 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#314004) (XD) - $18.15
100% Sangiovese. Medium intensity nose that has attractive herbal, strawberry and citrus notes. It's dry on the structured palate with balanced acids and a touch glycerin like texture. The mid-palate is spiced and finishes with blood orange and strawberry flavours, with good length. Score: 87 pts

Cantalici Petali Organic Rosé 2016 (87 pts)

CANTALICI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#314012) (XD) - $25.15
A blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, quite shy initially, but eventually opens up beautifully with cinnamon, clove, sweet oak spice, dark cherry and rose flowers, all of which come through in spades on the medium-bodied palate with nicely integrated tannins and very good acidity. It has a medium-long finish. Give this a short decant (1 hour) prior to serving and drink over the next 3-5 years. Score: 90 pts

Cantalici Chianti Classico 2012 (90 pts)Cantalici Baruffo Chianti Classico 2013 (88 pts)

CANTALICI BARUFFO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#315795) (XD) - $25.15
100% Sangiovese. This has a medium+ intensity nose in a (new) wood and dark profile with dark berry/cherry, blackberry and oak spice aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with tannins a touch chalky. This has nice aroma replays that are oak influenced with clove and sweet oak spices. Acids are fresh and the finish length is very good. Still young, should improve in 2-3 years. Score: 88 pts

This 100% Sangiovese is named after the 1st owner of the property and who was also mayor of the town. It has a medium-high intensity nose with red berry, cherry, and subtle oak spices. The palate is richly concentrated with more dark cherry, berry and oak spices. Tannins are well-integrated, acids are juicy and the finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

Cantalici Messer Ridolfo Chianti Classico Riserva 2011 (89 pts)Cantalici Baruffo Chianti Classico Riserva 2012 (90+ pts)

CANTALICI BARUFFO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#541078) (XD) - $35.95
100% Sangiovese from vines planted 500 metres above sea-level, this has medium-high intensity aromas of sweet oak spice, floral, and dark berries. It is full-bodied and richly structured with smooth tannins and lovely aroma replays. Acids are mouth-watering and the finish length is excellent. Has the stuffing to age 10 years. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90+ pts

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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  • Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tenuta PoggioVerrano Infinity 2009 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine is a new wine coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Even though Tenuta PoggioVerrano was founded in the shining and rural landscape of Maremma Toscana at the turn of the century in the year 2000, this appears to be the first vintage for this particular red wine. The property has 27 hectares of vines planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Alicante, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc on rocky soils of a calcareous and clayey nature, and located between 170 metres and 300 metres elevation. The vineyards are facing south-southwest and are located just 15 kilometres from the Mediterranean. The winery is built upon gravity flow principles and is fully underground.

Tenuta PoggioVerrano Infinity 2009 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

INFINITY 2009 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#540906) (XD) - $25.95
This excellent Super Tuscan is a blend of 35% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, and 20% Alicante that was aged for 2 years is French oak barriques and 3 years in small stainless steel tanks before bottling. Intriguing black plum, blackberry, and oak spice aromas from the cork. Highly aromatic, pretty aromas in the glass with a nice, mature mix of savoury and dried fruits - think red floral, savoury wet forest floor, dried cherry, and sweet oak spice, along with hints of cinnamon, black plum, and black licorice. The palate is medium-full bodied with nicely balanced, complex aroma replays. Supple tannins are nicely folding into the palate, offering some grip and dusty texture. Acids are fresh. Savoury notes linger on the finish, with excellent length. Drinking great now, but can also be enjoyed over the next 5 years. Score: 91 pts

Monday, April 16, 2018

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  • Monday, April 16, 2018

Tenuta di Renieri Chianti Classico 2013 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

delicious red wine is a new release that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Tenuta di Renieri is the Chianti-area estate of Bacci Wines, a winery based in Montalcino. It is located in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, approximately 14 km east of Siena and in the southern half of the Chianti Classico production zone. The property is contiguous with Castello di Bossi vineyards and covers 60 hectares, with 22 hectares planted to vineyards. The vineyards are south-facing and planted in soils that vary from yellow clay to tufa, along with a mixture of rounded pebbles that provide natural drainage.

Tenuta di Renieri Chianti Classico 2013 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

TENUTA DI RENIERI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#540849) (XD) - $22.95
This 100% Sangiovese was aged for 12 months in (French) Allier Barriques and oak casks. A mix of red cherry, plum and sweet oak spice aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has a generous nose of sweet oak spice, red cherry, floral with some earthy elements and rustic charm. Hints of dried cherry emerge with time. The palate is light-to-medium bodied with soft, balanced, and well-integrated tannins that provide just a touch of grip. Fresh, food-friendly acids lift the palate. Flavours of dark cherry, blackberry, cedar, earth, and hints of dried cherry. Nicely balanced overall. Earthy notes with cherry linger on the long finish. There's just enough here to keep you coming back for another sip. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years. Score: 89 pts

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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  • Tuesday, September 26, 2017

LCBO VINTAGES September 30, 2017: Family Matters + Sangiovese + Thanksgiving

LCBO Wine Picks from September 30, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The next release into LCBO VINTAGES on features 6 top wineries where "Family Matters" as its main theme. The mini-themes in this release focus on the Sangiovese grape varietal and fine wines for Thanksgiving. New wines will be on shelves this coming .

We'll begin with the feature titled "Family Matters", where the focus is on six winemaking families that uphold traditions and have a commitment to the land from generation to generation. Of the twelve wines listed, just two are included among my top wine picks. The Pennachetti family began forming roots in Niagara region in the 1920s and founded Cave Spring Cellars in 1986 and is currently owned by the third generation of the family. Their Chardonnay Musqué is among my wine recommendations below. The other family featured among my wine picks is the Torres Family from Spain that has been associated with winemaking for over 300 years, and their Cabernet Sauvignon is the 40th vintage of this wine.

Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay Musqué 2015 (88+ pts)2027 Falls Vineyard Riesling 2016 (88+ pts)

From the Thanksgiving theme that listed eight wines, only the Ontario Riesling made the cut. Amazingly, none of the six wines featured in the Sangiovese theme made it on my list of wine picks.

In red wines from the rest of the release, many of which would go great with a rich Thanksgiving meal, include a Tinta de Toro (a.k.a. Tempranillo) and the Cúmaro that is made with Montepulciano. The Strapper GSM is a blend of Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro, while the 2010 Bordeaux (from an excellent vintage) is a blend of the Cabernets and Merlot.

Umani Ronchi Cúmaro Riserva Conero 2011 (91 pts)Hidden Bench Fumé Blanc 2015 (90+ pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Custoza is a ripe, slightly sweet blend of Garganega, Cortese, and Riesling. The Fumé Blanc is a barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc, while the Pouilly-Fuissé is made with Chardonnay.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • G7 RESERVA SYRAH 2015 - Estate bottled, Loncomilla Valley, Maule Valley, Chile (#514067) (XD) - $15.95
  • THYMIOPOULOS YOUNG VINES XINOMAVRO 2015 - Unfiltered, PDO Naoussa, Greece (#466474) (XD) - $17.95
  • TESSELLAE VIEILLES VIGNES CARIGNAN 2015 - IGP Cotes Catalanes, Roussillon, France (#343509) (D) - $17.95
  • TERRA D’URO FINCA LA RANA TORO 2012 - DO Toro, Spain (#424135) (D) - $18.95
  • YALUMBA THE STRAPPER GSM 2014 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#295873) (D) - $19.95
  • 2027 CELLARS QUEENSTON ROAD VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#421370) (XD) - $28.25  reviewed here
  • UMANI RONCHI CÚMARO RISERVA CONERO 2011 - DOCG, Marche, Italy (#699587) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • SEGHESIO BAROLO 2011 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#496877) (XD) - $49.95
  • TORRES MAS LA PLANA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - 40th vintage, DO Penedès, Spain (#129676) (XD) - $59.95
  • CHÂTEAU MARSAC-SEGUINEAU 2010 - AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#512350) (XD) - $59.95
2027 Cellars Queenston Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 (90+ pts)

White Wine:

  • BODEGA EL PORVENIR DE CAFAYATE AMAUTA ABSOLUTO TORRONTÉS 2016 - Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina (#489179) (XD) - $14.95
  • GORGO SAN MICHELIN CUSTOZA 2015 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#428045) (D) - $15.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2015 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#246579) (XD) - $16.95  reviewed here
  • TE PA PINOT GRIS 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#519884) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • 2027 FALLS VINEYARD RIESLING 2016 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#294041) (D) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#663286) (XD) - $20.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH FUMÉ BLANC 2015 - Rosomel Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068825) (XD) - $29.45  reviewed here
  • ROBERT MONDAVI NAPA VALLEY CHARDONNAY 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#310409) (XD) - $29.95
  • TRIMBACH RÉSERVE RIESLING 2013 - AC Alsace, France (#247023) (XD) - $30.95  FSE
  • DEUX ROCHES VIEILLES VIGNES POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2014 - AP, Burgundy, France (#488825) (XD) - $31.95
  • HAMILTON RUSSELL CHARDONNAY 2016 - WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay, South Africa (#931006) (XD) - $43.95
te Pa Pinot Gris 2015 (88 pts)

Dessert Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU RIEUSSEC 2010 - 1er Cru, AC Sauternes, Bordeaux, France (#263012) (S) (375 mL) $87.95  FSE

Friday, July 28, 2017

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  • Friday, July 28, 2017

Piazzano Chianti 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine returns to the LCBO after a 2-year absence, and will be available as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Fattoria di Piazzano, an estate located in the hills of Empoli, Tuscany. The winery has been part of the Bettarini family since 1948, while Ilaria and Rolanki Bettarini took over operations in 1999. They use the expertise of consultant winemaker Emiliano Falsini to produce the wines.

I tasted the 2013 Piazzano Chianti two years ago and am expecting much of the same from this latest vintage - a savoury, earth, cherry red for pairing with food. It is vinified using soft pressing, with maceration on skins for 3 weeks and pumping over the cap. Fermentation occurs with native yeasts, while ageing is vitrified in cement tanks, with further ageing in bottle for 4 to 6 months.

Piazzano Chianti 2015 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

PIAZZANO CHIANTI 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#393199) (D) - $14.95
A blend of 80% Sangiovese, and the rest Canaiolo, Colorino and other indigenous varietals. Ripe plum, red berry and oak aromas from the cork. Medium intensity aromas of ripe red berry, cherry, fresh flowers and oak with an earthy rustic note in the glass. It's ripe and slightly raisined on the medium-bodied palate with cherry, earth and some chocolatey oak flavours offering a subtle impression of sweetness. Acids are bright and fresh, while the supple tannins add a nice textural element. Chocolatey and resinous on the finish with good length. A mid-week red wine to enjoy with pizza or pasta over the next 2 years. Score: 86 pts

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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  • Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2014 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine is this delicious red wine that will be available at the LCBO as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Like the 2012 Giacomo Mori Chianti that I enjoyed two years ago, this is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino/Canaiolo that is vinified in 40-60 hectolitre stainless steel tanks, then aged for 10-12 months in 20 hectolitre Slavonian and Allier oak barrels, tonneaux of 5 hectolitres, and barriques on the third refill.

The Giacomo Mori estate is located in San Casciano del Bagni, near Siena, and is planted to 8 hectares of vineyards that were replanted in 1995, followed by a major renovation that began in 1996 and was completed in the year 2000. The consultant winemaker is Emiliano Falsini.

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2014 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

GIACOMO MORI CHIANTI 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#068858) (XD) - $21.95
Blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino/Canaiolo. Fresh red berry and plum and aromas from the cork. This has a savoury, rustic, earthy, forest floor nose followed by red cherry, raspberry, sweet oak spice and leather aromas of medium intensity and quite complex. The palate is medium-bodied and dry with red currant, sour cherry, and raspberry flavours along with woodsy elements. Bright acids are fresh, while the refined tannins are smooth and well-integrated, if a touch drying. It has a long, savoury finish. Will improve in 1-2 years and drink well to 2023. Score: 90 pts

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

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  • Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Chianti Classico Tasting - Celebrating 300 Years

Chianti Classico 300 Years
The final wine tasting of was held at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville, downtown Toronto. Inside was a tasting celebrating 300 years of Chianti Classico wines. The borders of the Chianti Classico DOCG were formed in 1716 and lies in the territory between the provinces of Florence to the north and Siena to the south. The total area of the territory is 173,000 acres, 25,000 acres of which are dedicated to vineyards, and 18,000 acres that are registered as Chianti Classico.

Every bottle of Chianti Classico contains the trademark Black rooster, an historic symbol of the Chianti Military League, among other things. The history of the symbol dates back to a legend from medieval times, at a time when there was bitter fighting over the territory between the Republics of Florence and Siena. In order to settle the conflict, legend has it that a knight from each Republic would depart from their respective cities and fix the boundary of the territory at the point of where they meet. Departure from each city would take place at dawn, when the rooster crows. The Sieneses chose a white rooster, while the Florentines chose a starved black rooster that was kept in a small, dark chicken coop.

When the big day arrived and the roosters were freed from the coop well before dawn, it was the black rooster that started crowing immediately. On that signal, the Florentine knight began his journey, well before his counterpart from Siena, and reached Fonterutoli, a mere 12 kms from Siena. This resulted in nearly all of Chianti being brought under control of the Republic of Florence and the legend of the Black Rooster was born.

Chianti Classico Tasting Notes Booklet
Sangiovese is the primary grape within the region and a minimum of 80% of every wine must contain this varietal. There are three levels of Chianti Classico - Annata, Riserva, and Gran Selezione. The entry level is the Annata (a term you won't see on the label) and requires a minimum of 12 months ageing. The middle-tier Riserva wines require a minimum 24 months of ageing, including 3 months of bottle ageing. At the top of the quality pyramid is the Gran Selezione - a tier that was created only in 2013 - and states that these wines must use grapes from a single vineyard or from the estate's best grapes, and be aged for a minimum 30 months, including 3 months of bottle ageing.

In all, there were more than 25 wineries in attendance, providing the opportunity to try more than 75 wines. Many of the wines poured were quite good, but the ones that stood out above others were the Gran Selezione wines, specifically from the outstanding 2010 vintage. Wine reviews of some of favourites are provided below. Please contact the agent listed for availability, pricing and ordering information.

Tasting Notes:

Matured for 8 months in large oak barrels and contains 5% Canaiolo and 5% Colorino. Beautiful, highly aromatic, dark scented and focused nose of dark flowers, dark cherry, clov and spice. It's medium-to-full bodied nicely balanced aroma replays and gains texture with air. It has very good acidity providing freshness. Good oak integration. Finish is long with hints of mineral. Contact Signature Wines & Spirits for availability. Score: 90+ pts

Castello Vicchiomaggio San Jacopo Chianti Classico 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (90+ pts)Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (91 pts)

CARPINETO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#047118) (XD) - $29.95
The medium-to-high intensity nose offers nice, sweet herbally spice, clove, sweet oak and cherry aromas. It's medium-to-full bodied on the palate with balanced, full tannins, and very good acidity. Aromas follow through to the palate along with hints of pencil lead and mineral on the long finish. Enjoy over the next 5-8 years. Contact Univins et Spiriteaux for availability. Score: 91 pts

Lovely, focused and intense nose featuring floral, cherry, clove and sweet oak spice aromas. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with a fine texture and silky smooth, structured tannins. Pleasing aroma replays on the palate. Excellent length on the finish shows hints of mineral. Contact Profile Wine Group for availability. Score: 92 pts

Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (92 pts)Fèlsina Colonia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (92 pts)

Beautiful, perfumed nose of sweet spice, floral, oak, cherry, red fruits and clove. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with pleasing sweet oak and spice aroma replays, and hints of purple flowers. Very good acidity. Earthy, cherry notes on the excellent finish. Tannins are a bit tight, but provide good tannic structure for ageing. Better in 2-3 years and enjoy until 2026. 100% Sangiovese. Contact Lifford Wine & Spirits for pricing and availability. Score: 92 pts

This 100% Sangiovese has medium-to-high intensity aromas of ripe red fruits, cherry, floral, sweet oak and clove notes. On the medium+ bodied palate, it has firm tannins and juicy acids, along with balanced earth, cherry, floral and spice flavours. Excellent finish length. A bit young, try in 3 years. The 2010 vintage was released into VINTAGES in March. Contact Frontier Wine Merchants for availability of the 2011 vintage. Score: 92 pts

Il Molino di Grace Il Margone Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (92 pts)Castelvecchi Madonnino della Pieve Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (93 pts)

From a great vintage, this 100% Sangiovese, has a highly aromatic and inviting nose of floral, sweet oak, cherry, clove and hints of sweet spices. Maturing very nicely, it has a medium+ bodied palate with yummy purple flower led aroma replays. Well balanced, with juicy acids and balanced tannins. Excellent length on the finish. Drink by 2023. Contact Barrel Select for pricing and availability. Score: 93 pts

Monday, April 25, 2016

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  • Monday, April 25, 2016

Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico 2013 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

I received this wine as a gift during the Christmas holidays and opened it up . This is a VINTAGES Essentials product and is always available at the LCBO, with the 2013 vintage being the latest vintage to arrive on our shores.

Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

ANTINORI PÈPPOLI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#606541) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and Syrah. Wood and black cherry aromas from the cork. Subtle notes of green olive, cherry and strawberry on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied with polished tannins and flavours of cherry, wet earth, leather and a hint of barnyard. Rustic in style. Tannins become a touch grippy with air, while acids are juicy and well-balanced. Lasting finish is savoury and earthy. Score: 87 pts

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

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  • Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Terre di Talamo Tempo Morellino di Scansano 2012 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

Opened up this delicious red wine from Tuscany night and it paired really well with homemade Chicken Fajitas.

Terre di Talamo is owned by Marco Bacci and located south of Grosseto in the southern part of Tuscany's Maremma coastal area, facing the Gulf of Argentario. The estate covers 52 hectares on a hillside facing the sea, with 32 hectares planted to vines, and is mostly brown clay and quite stony.

This old world wine is new to VINTAGES and will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves as part of the upcoming VINTAGES release.

Terre di Talamo Tempo Morellino di Scansano 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

TERRE DI TALAMO TEMPO MORELLINO DI SCANSANO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#438556) (XD) - $21.95
Hints of cherries and plums from the cork. In the glass, it has complex and inviting medium+ intensity aromas of dark cherry, earth, dried herbs and hints of meatiness. The palate is medium+ bodied and quite juicy with fresh acids with supple tannins. Evident oak aging is nicely integrated, with flavours of earth and hints of vanilla accenting the dark-fruited flavours. Becomes more earthy, savoury with air. Very good length on the earthy finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

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  • Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2012 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

delicious red wine will be available at the LCBO soon, as part of the VINTAGES Release.

The Giacomo Mori estate is located in San Casciano dei Bagni, at the southern edge of the Province of Siena and Tuscany in Central Italy. Eight of the ten hectares of vineyards were replanted in 1995 with meticulous attention paid to the selection of grape varieties, clones and rootstocks. The winery was renovated over 5 years, between 1996-2000.

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

GIACOMO MORI CHIANTI 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#068858) (D) - $19.95
Mostly Sangiovese (95%) with Colorino and Canaiolo rounding out the blend. Black plum and cherry scents from the cork. Enticing aromas of red berries, earth, baking spice, and hints of leather. The plush palate is medium+ bodied with sweet red berries, tilled earth, herbs and sandalwood flavours. It is well-balanced with mouth-watering acidity. Dusty tannins become tight on the long, cocoa-tinged finish. Enjoyable now, but give this another 2 years to further integrate and drink to 2022. Score: 90 pts

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

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  • Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Piazzano Chianti 2013 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine will be in VINTAGES on October 31st. It comes from Fattoria di Piazzano, a family-owned and operated estate located in the hills south of Empoli and traversed by the Rio di Camerata.

The estate was purchased by Otello Bettarini in 1948. His nephew Riccardo worked alongside Otello and eventually took over the operations. In the late 90's, Riccardo handed over the property to his children Rolando and Ilaria. The two, along with other family members continue the winemaking traditions with the passion and tenacity of their heirs.

Tasting Note:

PIAZZANO CHIANTI 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#393199) (D) - $14.95
Unoaked blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% other indigenous grapes such as Canaiolo and Colorino from Estate. Plum and cherry sauce aromas from the cork. In the glass, barnyard, bretty, and earth aromas lead the way, with light scents of cherry and strawberry at the back end. The palate is medium-bodied with some tannic grip. Savoury flavour profile consisting of wet earth and black cherry. Balanced acidity and decent length on the finish. Score: 86 pts

Piazzano Chianti 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (86 pts)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

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  • Saturday, October 10, 2015

Le Cimate Montefalco Rosso 2011 (Umbria) - Wine Review

red wine is from Cantina Le Cimate, a fairly new winery in Montefalco that was started up by Francesca Bartoloni in 2011 to continue his family's tradition in agriculture that dates back to the 1800's.

The name of the family-owned winery "Le Cimate" was inspired from the hilly area where the winery is located, and is only 1 km southwest from Perticaia - a beautiful wine I tasted in August. Le Cimate is located at the peak of a hill, where one can get a very nice view of the Martani mountains and the town of Montefalco.

Vines for this wine were planted in 2001 and sit on a silt-clay soil that is moderately calcareous, fresh and deep and faces southeast. The wine is fermented in steel tanks and macerated for 15 days. Ageing occurs for 24 months, 12 of which are in Slovenian oak barrels, and 6 months in bottle.

In Ontario, this red wine is available via private order from Cottonwood Agency.

Tasting Note:

LE CIMATE MONTEFALCO ROSSO 2011 - DOC, Umbria, Italy (XD) - $30.50
Blend of 60% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, 15% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Raspberry and blackberry aromas from the cork. Perfumed nose of black plum, cherry, and hints of apple wood from the glass. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with black licorice, herbal, blackberry and mild cedar oak notes. Some minty flavours mid-palate. Bright acids. Finish is long with earthy and woody notes. Sweet tannins still a bit tight, but has good structure to improve over the next 2 years. Drink over the next 6-7 years. Will be enjoyed with homemade Chicken Lasagne by Chez Megz and could pair with red meats. Score: 89 pts

Le Cimate Montefalco Rosso 2011 - DOC, Umbria, Italy (89 pts)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

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  • Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wines of Donatella Cinelli Colombini (Tuscany)

Wines of Donatella Cinelli Colombini
, I had the pleasure of meeting Donatella Cinelli Colombini and tasting 8 of her wines at the Fine Wine Reserve. Donatella is a petite woman, but strong, and someone that I get a sense is very determined back home in Tuscany.

The history of the Colombini family dates back to 1592, when Donatella's ancestors began building Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda, while also paying taxes for the cultivation of Casato in Montalcino. They lost the property in Trequenda in disputes, but it eventually returned back to the family three hundred years later due to the efforts of Donatella's great-grandfather. Meanwhile, the Montalcino estate was always handed down, mostly from mother to daughter, and was eventually was handed over to Donatella. Later on, Donatella was appointed by her father to manage Fattoria del Colle.

Winemaking excellence began in the Colombini family in 1790, when Fattoria dei Barbi was founded. The heritage of Barbi continues on the labels of Dontella's wines with the (angled) shield on every wine. Furthermore, the Leono Rosso wine has a rampant lion on the label - this lion was the symbol of Donatella Cinelli Colombini's ancestors. Also found on the labels is a large white dove that appears to be flying away from the shield - this represents Donatella who is "fleeing the coop" so-to-speak from her ancestral roots.

Donatella Cinelli Colombini
Donatella has run the two estates since 1998 and has changed them dramatically by combining modern technology with tradition. Donatella has been a major force in the world of Italian wine, including conceptualizing "Cantine Aperte" - a nationwide day for winemakers to welcome visitors. She also salvaged the ancient Sienese rootstock "Foglia Tonda", a grape who's total acreage is apparently only 40 hectares worldwide, and now grown with much enthusiasm at Donatella's Fattoria del Colle estate in the relatively new DOC Orcia (inaugurated only in the year 2000.)

Casato Prime Donne winery was the first all-female winery in Italy, proving that producing great wines does not rely on gender, but on intelligence and spirit. Recently joining the team is world famous oenologist Valerie Lavigne. Hailing from Bordeaux, Valerie works on a team that consults with Chateau Marguax, Chateau d'Yquem, and Cheval Blanc. The only Italian winery that Valerie consults with is Donatella Cinelli Colombini.

All of these delicious wines are available through the winery's agent Le Sommelier via Consignment, except for the 2008 Brunello (which available via Private Order). Furthermore, at the time of this writing, there are a dozen bottles of the Brunello Riserva available in VINTAGES.

Tasting Notes:
2010 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Leone Rosso from DOC Orcia, Tuscany, Italy (88+ pts)2010 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Cenerentola from DOC Orcia, Tuscany, Italy (87 pts)2010 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Il Drago e le 8 Colombe from IGT Toscana, Italy (90+ pts)

DONATELLA CINELLI COLOMBINI LEONE ROSSO 2010 - DOC Orcia, Tuscany, Italy (#) (XD) - $20.95
Blend of 60% Sangiovese and 40% Merlot. Medium+ intensity aromas with a musky, matchstick, and smoke nose with underlying red cherry and berry notes.. It's fairly light-weighted with fresh acidity and fruit-forward flavours of red cherry, currant and red berries. Matured 18 months in French oak, the tannins are well-integrated. Finish is medium-length with subtle oak spice notes. Made in a very approachable style. Score: 88+ pts

DONATELLA CINELLI COLOMBINI CENERENTOLA 2010 - DOC Orcia, Tuscany, Italy (#) (XD) - $42.95
Blend of 65% Sangiovese and 35% of the relativey rare Foglia Tonda. Nose seemed somewhat closed but showed elegant florals and cherries. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with oak spice, red and black cherry, blackberry and leather notes. Medium level of tannins with integrated oak and balanced acids. Spice elements come to the fore on the mid-palate, while the finish is medium-long with currant flavours. This will pair well with bigger meat dishes. Score 87 pts

First vintage for winemaker Valerie Lavigne and contains 60% Sangiovese Grosso, 20% Merlot and 20% Sagrantino. Elegant flowers, dark cherry, tar, mineral, and spice scented nose with very nice aroma replays on the juicy palate. It's medium-to-full bodied with grippy tannins and fresh, vibrant acids. Well-balanced and lengthy finish. Could be cellared up to 5-6 years. Score: 90+ pts

2010 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino from DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (90 pts)2008 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino from DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (92 pts)2007 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino from DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (91 pts)

Medium intensity aromas featuring smoke, cherry, underbrush, blackberry and floral notes. Medium-bodied, lush mouthfeel on the palate with black cherry, plum, sweet spice and subtle oak flavours. It has fresh acids and firm tannins that are integrating nicely. Excellent length on the finish. Score: 90 pts

Highly aromatic with tobacco, leather, earth, and red fruits in a savoury, elegant style. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with integrated tannins, slightly chalky mouthfeel, and pleasing aroma replays. This is a well-balanced wine with balanced acids, good structure and clean, long finish. Score: 92 pts

Elegant, savoury aromas of barnyard, earth and red fruits of high intensity. Medium-bodied palate with nice aroma replays and subtle sweet spice notes. It is well-balanced with tannins integrating very nicely. It has very good structure, mouth-watering acids, and a very long finish. Score: 91 pts

2010 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino "Prime Donne" from DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (92 pts)2007 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino Riserva from DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (91 pts)

Medium-to-high aromatics with subtle tobacco, earth, black cherry, and smoked hickory notes. On the medium-to-full bodied palate, it displays a savoury, earthy profile with sweet oak spice, tobacco, cherry to keep things interesting. It is well-structured with mouth-watering acids and good balance overall. Drying tannins on woodsy, lengthy finish. Enjoyable now, but I would age this a couple of years. Score: 92 pts

Aged 3.5 years in oak barrels. Highly aromatic nose featuring florals, plum, red cherry, sweet spice and hints of barnyard and earth. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with pleasing floral, red & black cherry and blackberry flavours with fresh, mouth-watering acids. Finish length is excellent. Has good structure, but tannins are still a bit tight - would cellar 3-4 years. Score: 91 pts

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

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  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale 2008 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

Received this red wine as a gift earlier this year. It's from the LCBO General List and is made using at least 80% Sangiovese, with the balance being Cabernet and Merlot. This wine was first made in 1927.

RUFFINO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA DUCALE 2008 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#045195) (D) - $24.95

Label photo of 2008 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale from Tuscany, Italy
Tasting Note:
Sweet cedar and meaty aromas from cork. Medium intensity violets, plum, forest floor and tobacco aromas from the glass. Medium-full bodied with dark fruits, boysenberry, anise and herbal notes. Finish is medium-long and spicy, with hints of tobacco and cedar. Tannins are ripe and well-integrated. Has good acidity. Ready to drink now, but could be aged another 1-2 years. It will be enjoyed with one of my favourite dishes - homemade chicken curry.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

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  • Sunday, February 17, 2013

Argiano Tasting at Fine Wine Reserve

Argiano Cantina Dal 1580 Logo
had the opportunity to taste some very fine wines from the historic Tuscan winery Tenuta di Argiano. The tasting event was hosted by Trialto Wine Group at the Fine Wine Reserve that is located in the King W and Spadina area.

There were 4 wines available for tasting and purchase - reviews are below. Two other wines - the Brunello di Montalcino 2004 ($50) and Solengo 2004 ($80) - were available strictly for purchase. All of these wines were Consignment Wines, meaning that they are not available at the LCBO and only available in cases of 6 bottles via the wine agent, Trialto.

At the summit of a hill, southwest of Montalcino in Tuscany, the Villa of Argiano was built during the Renaissance-period by the Pecci's, a noble family from Siena. Remaining for some decades under the Pecci family, it then passed to the Counts of Pieri, who bequeath it to the Marquis of Ballanti Merli and to the Duchess of Caetani from the Counts Lovatelli.

In 1992, the estate was purchased by Countess Noemi Marone Cinzano and was sold just last week. Winemaker Hans Vinding-Diers joined Argiano in 2003 and is the craftsman behind the wines. He will remain with Argiano. On hand to pour the wines was the Marketing Director Bernardino Sani.

The Argiano Estate covers 100 hectares - with nearly half dedicated to vineyards - while being protected in the southeast by Mount Amiata. Being from the Old World, the Argiano vineyards have been cultivated by noble families since the 1500's. Argiano has some of the oldest vines in Montalcino, at over 60+ years old. Wines from these vineyards have garnered awards dating back to 1934 and are consistently high-quality.

Label photo of 2009 Argiano Rosso di Montalcino
ARGIANO ROSSO DI MONTALCINO 2009 - DOC, Tuscany, Italy (#) (XD) - $28.80
Hand-picked 100% Sangiovese grosso. The Rosso is considered the younger brother of the Brunello. Nice aromas of crushed blackcherry, red currant and cedar waft from the glass. Medium bodied on the palate with dark red fruits, cherry, oak, and hints of earth on the flavour profile. Very finely integrated tannins that is velvety smooth, with a medium-long finish and balanced throughout. Likely my favourite of the evening. Score: 89-90 pts

Label photo of 2007 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino
ARGIANO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2007 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#) (XD) - $45.00
First tasted last November. Light smoky oak, dried fruit and fig aromas from the glass. Full-bodied with mouth-watering acidity. Palate consists of more dark fruits and fig. Quite well-balanced. Tannins still somewhat tight, will reward 3-5 years in cellar. Score: 91 pts

Label photo of 2011 Argiano 'NC' Non Confunditur
ARGIANO 'NC' NON CONFUNDITUR 2011 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#072397) (XD) - $23.95
The 2009 was released in Vintages last July and is virtually sold out. Non Confunditur's initials "NC" are often though to refer to Argiano's longstanding owner Noemi Cinzano. The truth is that Non Confunditur is a latin term meaning "don't get confused". The 2011 is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Syrah and 20% Sangiovese and has fruity aromas of red fruits and cherries. Medium-full bodied and round with more red fruits, cranberry-cherry notes and oak. Very good acidity, but overpowering at mid-palate with a very long finish. Chalky tannins show this red wine is still a bit young. Very long finish. Give it 2-3 years. Score: 88 pts

Label photo of 2009 Argiano Solengo from Tuscany, Italy
ARGIANO SOLENGO 2009 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#) (XD) - $75.00
Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Syrah. Lovely violet, lavender aromas from the glass. Medium-full bodied with big tannins that need at least 7+ years to integrate. Nicely structured and shows finesse with black fruits and blueberries on the palate. Very nice wine that needs time, can be enjoyed up to 20 years from now. Score: 91+ pts

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