Italian Wine Report

I’ve been tasting quite a few Italian wines over the last month or two, specifically from the regions around Tuscany but also have sampled some fantastic Barolos from the 2004 and 2005 vinatges. Here’s a quick recap of some of my favorites for each style:


1. Petrolo Torrione Toscana 2006, 92 Points, $40- Rich, dark and alluring, with floral blackberry and chocolate aromas, dark for the varietal. Full-bodied mouthfeel with lots of cassis character above hints of dark chocolate, black olive and mineral. Long, substantial finish with layers of perfumey fruit; abounding with elegance, hints of subtle tobacco spice linger.

2. Le Corti Chianti Classico Don Tommaso 2005, 92 Points $40- Extremely elegant aromas of dark plum, blackberry and oak. Incredible mouthfeel with its seamless layers of sage and oregano above bursting dark plum, blackberry and black licorice. Hints of vanilla bean linger with understated mineral, cedar and smoke notes through the long finish.

3. Felsina Rancia Chianti Classico Toscana 2006, 91 Points, $40- Deep on the nose, with lots of leather shading black fruit notes. Soft and full on the palate with suave blackberry giving way to understated chocolate, cedary spice and leathery earth. Spice and fruit linger long. All in finesse, balanced and understated, yet very present.

4. Marchesi de’Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chanti Rufina Riserva Toscana 2006, 90 Points, $20- Juicy purple fruit aromas of blueberry, plum and violet above soft mineral and rich vanilla bean. Velvety mouthfeel with a balanced combination of juicy blackberry, black cherry and plum. Complex undertones of mocha, café vanilla and mineral, very clean and soft through the long finish.

5. San Giusto A Rentennano Chianti Classico Le Baroncole Riserva Toscana 2006, 89 Points, $40- Rich black cherry and red licorice aromas. Elegant and floral with a round, supple palate of red licorice, cherries and undertones of forest floor, mint and well-integrated mineral. Long finish with cedary spice lingering with bright, rich fruit character.


1. Collemattoni Brunello di Montalcino 2004, 92 Points, $60- Beautiful nose of creamy cherry, toasty black fruits and mocha. Soft on the palate with its impressive black cherry, cedar and toffee notes, with mineral creeping in late. Toffee and mineral linger long with lots of rich fruit flavor.

2. San Filippo Brunello di Montalcino 2004, 91 Points, $45- Elegant and lightly oaky aromas of cherry and dark plum. Deep on the palate, with complex toasty cherry and violety plum and blackberry notes that are laced with vanilla and cigar box spice. Elegant vanilla-cherry crème carries through the long, spicy and toasty finish. Intense.

3. Altesino Bruello di Montalcino 2004, 90 Points, $60- Earthy on the nose with its mushroom notes, which are shaded by bright red cherry. Soft on the palate, with creamy flavors of cherry  and raspberry that give way to an underbelly of loamy earth and pepper spice that is pretty well-balanced. Gripping tannins through the medium to long finish will hopefully soften up.

4. Col di Lamo Brunello di Montalcino 2004, 89 Points, $65- Gamey, smokey nose with red cherry notes. Acidic throught the red fruit body, with black cherry and red licorice. Finishes with a bit of a medicinal note, minty and very tannic.

5. Gorelli Brunello di Montalcino Le Potazzine 2004, 88 Points, $60- Red cherry and leathery earth notes. Floral, creamy body of red cherry and berry fruit shaded by leather and hints of herbal spice. Bright acidity, medium to long finish is well-balanced.


1. Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia Superiore Toscana 2006, 95 Points, $180- Deep, concentrated, evolving aromas of blackberry, mineral, chocolate and leather. Perfectly soft texture with exploding black fruit and cassis above complex layers of cocoa, coffee, leather, mineral and tobacco and cedar spice through the long seamless finish. Incredibly light on the palate for the overall depth, impressive as always, just an explosion of flavor and the spice notes at the end really tie it all together.

2. Marchesi de’Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni Toscana 2007, 93 Points, $20- Layers of aroma, with toasty toffee, rich, raisiny fruit, black licorice, vanilla bean and tobacco spice. Suave, persistent, and elegantly textured, with a smoothness that carries its gorgeous blackberry, licorice, dark plum and wild berry, all laced with undertones of tobacco spice that linger long with the bursting fruit- a slight tannic grip remains its only flaw and should improve with time.

3. Marchesi de’Frescobaldi Mormoreto Toscana 2005, 91 Points, $55- Deep black currant aromas with notes of charred toast. Plump, creamy body with a mouthful of blackberry and dark plum above complex notes of chocolate, oak and tar. Shows impressive depth through the long finish, ending on a chalky, tannic note.

4. Brancaia Il Blu Toscana 2006, 91 Points, $70- Very rich and perfumey plum and black cherry fruit aromas with elements of toasty vanilla. Medium to full-bodied with juicy black cherry, plum and blackberry notes above oak and mocha spice. Long, elegant finish.

5. Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto Toscana 2007, 90 Points, $50- Rich aromas of dark plum, black licorice and hints of leathery earth and mocha. Soft and elegant with bursting blackberry, blueberry and licorice above notes of mocha and café vanilla, leading into elusive hints of mineral spice through the long finish. Love the texture and balance between elements.


1. Giacomo Conterno Barolo Piedmonte 2005, 94 Points, $120- Subtle, rustic, calming aromas of light cherry and hung game. Incredibly smooth and nuanced texture, with the red cherry, blueberry and licorice notes leading into a smorgasbord of tobacco, chalky mineral and white pepper spice. Tannins are still here in a big way, makes me want to cry otherwise, especially as light chocolate notes creep in through the long finish.

2. Vietti Brunate Barolo Piedmonte 2005, 94 Points, $120- Rich, elegant and floral with no astringency, with light notes of cherry, violet, caramel and rose on the nose. Bursting notes of red cherry, caramel and toffee initially with notes of smoke and mineral underneath. Delicate and gorgeous, loaded with complex elements that finish with a hint of tobacco spice through the long finish.

3. Paolo Scavino Carobric Barolo Piedmonte 2005, 93 Points, $70- Lots of black cherry seltzer on the nose here. Soft on the palate, with dark black cherry cola, blueberry and strong undertones of leather, smoke, orange and a complex combination of floral coriander spice. Very deep for Barolo, but finishes long with silky tannins.

4. Azelia Bricco Fiasco Barolo Piedmonte 2004, 93 Points, $75- Perfumey, minty aromas of black cherry and exotic spice. Soft, velvety body of deep cherry and violety plum fruit shaded by undertones of smoke, hung game, toffee/ mocha and cedar spice. Long, elegant and complex finish with elements of tar and leather creeping in late.

5. Fratelli Revello Barolo Piedmonte 2004, 90 Points, $40- Intense mineral nose, aromas of blackberry fruit, dark for the varietal. Soft and violety black fruit flavors that evolve into hints of chocolate and leather with a bit of graphite lingering. Chewy, with a firm tannic grip. Long finish, with earthy spices creeping in late.

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