Thursday, 24 April 2014

Guado al Tasso “Guado al Tasso” Bolgheri Superiore DOC (2010)

Guado al Tasso” is the eponymously named flagship wine of Tenuta “Guado al Tasso” in Bolgheri. Part of the Antinori family’s viticulture empire, the Guado al Tasso estate occupies 300 hectares of prime vineyard land close to the coast and this top end “Guado al Tasso” bottling is produced from a selection of the very best grapes harvested from across this well situated estate each year.

55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, this 2010 “Guado al Tasso” is full bodied and full of flavour, with dark cherry, plum and liquorice flavours the first sensations to be detected when this wine is tasted. Hints of clove, cooked rosemary and dark coffee generate further complexity, whilst a firm tannin structure and good level of acidity offer substantial potential for further maturation. This 2010 “Guado al Tasso” is a fine Super-Tuscan.

SCORE: 91 points. (£60 UK) STOCKISTS: All About Wine / Majestic / Zelas

Antinori “Tignanello” Toscana IGT (2010)

Antinori’s 2010 “Tignanello” has been touted by some critics and the Antinori family themselves as one of the best iterations of “Tignanello” “ever”. Composed of the now “standard” blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc the grapes destined to become this 2010 “Tignanello”  benefited from a cooler than typical growing season in 2010 and an extremely careful selection of grapes (both in the vineyard and cellar).

An intense ruby red colour in the glass, this 2010 “Tignanello” is expressive and pretty on the nose, with floral tones mingling with hints of dark fruits and mint. Obviously leaner and more elegant in style than the quite overt 2009 “Tignanello”, this 2010 iteration is dry, persistent and medium to full bodied. Dark cherry and plum flavours lead, with layers of black tea, mint and subtle spices unfolding as this wine develops on your tongue. Whilst the argument that “Tignanello” is a wine that should be released later is still valid (and supported by the robust tannins on display here) this 2010 iteration is unarguably better balanced at this stage of its development than any other recent vintage and will only improve with some additional cellaring.

SCORE: 90 points. (£70 UK) STOCKISTS: Majestic / Berry Bros & Rudd / Laithwaites

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Guado al Tasso “Il Bruciato” Bolgheri DOC (2012)

"Il Bruciato” is nominally the “second wine” of the highly impressive Guado al Tasso estate in Bolgheri. A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Syrah in this 2012 vintage, this 2012 “Il Bruciato” was fermented in stainless steel tanks, before being matured in oak for 8 months and bottle for 4 months ahead of release.

An extremely intense ruby red colour in the glass, this 2012 Guado al Tasso “Il Bruciato” is quite a ripe, “internationally-styled” bottling with flavours of ripe dark cherries and plums slowly being overtaken by notes of coffee, chocolate and black pepper as it evolves in the mouth. Gummy tannins support a very impressive length of flavour and it is by a tiny margin that this wine’s score fails to exceed 90 points. Drink this “Il Bruciato” from Guado al Tasso now, or at some point before 2022.

SCORE: 90 points. (£19 UK) STOCKISTS: All About Wine / Italvinus / Exel Wines

Antinori “Villa Antinori” Bianco, Toscana IGT (2012)

The “Villa Antinori” Bianco was produced for the first time in 1931 (by Niccolo Antinori) and today the aim behind its production remains very similar – to create a traditional taste of Tuscany by blending a number of different (white) grape varieties from across the region, to produce one wine that encapsulates the Antinori “house style” of complexity and elegance. A blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Riesling in the 2012 vintage, this bottling underwent a simple vinification in stainless steel tanks, before undergoing a youthful release from the Antinori cellars.

Light and fruity in style, this “Villa Antinori” Bianco offers sutble notes of lemon zest and a pebbly minerality on the nose, before a bright and satisfying palate is revealed. Based around flavours of green apple and lemon on the palate, there is a hint of oiliness to the texture of this “Villa Antinori” Bianco and the acidity levels are just sufficient to cleanse the palate as it fades.

SCORE: 85 points. (£12 UK) STOCKISTS: Tesco / Tanners Wines / All About Wine

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

La Valentina – Producer Profile

The La Valentina winery was established in 1990 and is now run by Sabatino, Roberto and Andrea Di Properzio. Located in Spoltore (with vineyards also found in the higher altitude Scafa and San Valentino locations) the winery produces a selection of wines from grape varieties that are indigenous to Abruzzo and produces a total of around 350,000 bottles each year.

All of the La Valentina estate vineyards are farmed to organic principles (even if they are not certified organic) and all energy required by the winery is supplied from renewable sources. The idea is to produce wine in such a way that shows a respect for the environment and to allow the natural healthiness of the vines to produce high quality grapes that fully express the characteristics of the environment that surround them.

Four different Montepulciano d’Abruzzo are currently produced (plus a couple of Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo rosé wines – also made from the Montepulciano grape). Both the “Spelt” and “Bellovedere” are highly impressive examples of Abruzzo’s most recognised grape variety, with the “basic” La Valentina Montepulciano also offering impressive quality despite its entry level billing. Fiano, Pecorino and Trebbiano are also produced.

Generally fairly modern in style (but retaining the identity of their constituent grape varieties and region) the wines of La Valentina are fantastic ambassadors for the region of Abruzzo and are always well worth seeking out.