Tuscan Treasures

I am very grateful to Father Christmas for bringing me a mixed half dozen of Tuscan wines from the Wine Society which came together with a book called The Finest Wines of Tuscany by Nick Belfrage. This is part of a new series of regional guides published in association with The World of Fine Wine Magazine and, as you would expect, this is a well-produced and serious work but a good browse too. Most of the book is made up from profiles of leading producers in Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulcinao, San Gimignano as well as Umbria, Romagna and Marche. Each entry is supported by useful and well-written, realistic tasting notes. It was a real joy to drink two wines from this mixed case with the book at my side over Christmas. I am now going on a ten day detox but watch this space for more Tuscan Treasures in future.        

 Castello di Brolio, Chianti Classico 2001 ****

 Still very deep and youthful in colour; fine, complex, leathery, tar, slightly casky aromas, touch of tobacco over the top of perfumed fruit; full but fine, chewy fruit and meaty tannins, slight caskiness but this adds complexity, fine, firm and perfectly poised with lovely acidity, leathery, delicious, quintessential old fashioned Chianti (100 % Sangiovese whereas more recent vintages include Cabernet and Merlot in the blend). 18

Le Serre Nuovo delli Ornellaia, Bolgheri, 2006  *** / ****

The second wine of Ornellaia made from Merlot  (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), Cabernet Franc (9%) and Petit Verdot (6%): mid-deep youthful ruby colour; very tight and unyielding initially, quite austere, skinny too, but opening in the glass to reveal scented, spicy fruit; elegant rather than opulent, tight knit with an austere finish, better on day 2 and 3 after opening – needs another two or three years to show at its best. 16.5

Scoring

19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)

17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)

15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)

13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)

10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)

8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)

Below 8 Faulty