Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Featured Wines: When Tuscans Attack!

If the wine in this week's Featured Wines column tickle your fancy, you can order them directly from Jordan by email ( or find him in the Vintage Room of Everything Wine's newest location River District in South Vancouver (8570 River District Crossing).

When Tuscans Attack!

Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, your lights are red and yellow,
Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, we drank all our Brunello!
And now we’re sad, and thirsty too,
We’re going to take it out on you!
Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, we’ll cover you with Jello!

Stop the madness. Put the Jello down. I have more Tuscan wines for you to enjoy while you decorate:

Sassicaia 2014, Bolgheri Sassicaia
The first Supertuscan, and the first Italian winery to become a Monopole (where one winery owns the entire appellation), although to be fair, the appellation of Bolgheri Sassicaia DOCG was created for them in the ‘90s, partially to recognize Sassicaia’s 4 decades under the official bus while they were unofficially kicking butt. 2014 was a challenging year in all of Italy, but it was kinder to Bolgheri, given that late-ripening grapes like Cabernet (a star ingredient of the appellation) were able to wait out the weather and still make rich wine. This year’s Sassicaia is a kind of throwback to Old World vibes, elegant and Médocaine with spicy red and black fruit surrounding the flinty delivery. Sniper-like precision on the finish, balancing the minerality, acid, tannin and glycerine that will all come together perfectly in just a few years. 95 points Wine Enthusiast, 93 points Robert Parker, 5 wooden 6-packs available, $219.49

Antinori Tignanello 2014, Toscana I.G.T. 
The second Supertuscan, although many consider it to be the first one, because a) nobody cared about Sassicaia until they beat a Bordeaux in a blind tasting in the ‘80s and b) the nontraditional Tig made more of an impact given the 900 year history of the Antinoris telling everyone how traditional they should be. The 2014 vintage separated the experts from the tourists, and the Antinoris are certainly no tourists: severe canopy management and green harvests wrested a bold wine from the jaws of dilution, and elevating the levels of Cabernet Sauvignon (sitting at a high of 25%) added enough oomph to produce a delicious, rich but classically hued Tig that only dropped one Wine Spectator point from last year’s hallowed Top Ten 2013. 94 points James Suckling, 93 points Wine Spectator, 10 6-packs available, $92.99

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2012
You know that part of the concert when the band stops playing their new stuff and starts playing the songs you went to go hear? Il Poggione. Equal parts Traditional and Modern, delivering just enough stony structure to offset Dr. Smooth’s Pleasure Train that rolls down the tracks shooting dried cherries and black Twizzlers out of T shirt cannons. Will be even better in a year but no one will be penalized for impatience either. Delicious. 95+ points Robert Parker, 8 6-packs available, $87.99

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2012 Double Magnum. 
A 3 Litre bottle of the above wine, but I wanted to give it a special mention because the price of this handsome hulk (with its own wooden box) is almost exactly the cost of 4 750ml bottles, which Never. Ever. Happens. Not sure why it’s so well priced but I don’t wanna look too hard in case it’s an accident. 95+ points Robert Parker, 8 3Ls available, $351.49

Selvapiana Fornace 2012, Toscana I.G.T. 
Originally built in the foothills of the Apennines as a watch tower to guard Florence from the north east in the Middle Ages, Selvapiana became a luxury villa for rich Florentine families during the Renaissance, and fell in and out of disrepair until the late 1800s when the Giuntini family started to plant vineyards there, mostly for something to do. Seeing as the Rufina region was well outside of Chianti, the grapes didn’t sell for much until the post-war Economic Miracle (part of the Marshall Plan) waved the Chianti-Wand over the regions surrounding Chianti and Poof! Chianti Rufina was born and the US dollars started to pour in. It didn’t take the Giuntinis long to notice that the grapes that performed best in this elevated, more dynamic region were French varieties like Merlot and Cabernet, especially the ones they planted in the organic Fornace vineyard, near the villa. Rustic Italian countryside aromas of earth and sage support the more forward cassis, blackberry and crushed rocks, and the big spicy finish seals the delicious deal. 94 points Wine Spectator, 4 6-packs available, $62.49 +tax

Poggio Bonelli Poggiassai 2012, Toscana I.G.T. 
Poggio Bonelli is right smack dab in the middle of Chianti Classico, and this muscular single-vineyard bottling from the Beradenga lieu-dit could still qualify as a Chianti Classico if it had 5% more Sangiovese and 5% less Cab. Like a librarian with a hangover, Poggiassai is well-spoken and well-put-together with just a red-eyed hint of deviousness, showing naughty mushroom bits beneath the structured tobacco and cassis notes. Full, rich and awesome. Drinking at the beginning of a window that will open further and more gloriously down the road. Exclusive to Everything Wine. 94 points Wine Spectator, 6 6-packs available, $65.99 +tax

Campo al Mare 2015, Bolgheri
The Folonari brothers are a bit like Sony: their stuff is everywhere, the bottom end stuff is good, but the top end bottles like this are amazing. Enter: Campo al Mare, meaning “Field to the Sea”, which perfectly describes the Bolgheri region, sloping gently westward until it hits the Mediterranean. The Folonaris started acquiring land here in the late ‘90s, and this 2015 Bordeaux blend from those new vineyards is a firecracker (and an unreal price for Bolgheri). Merlot, Cab Sauv and Cab Franc combine to show ripe blackberry and cherries cooking on a hot stone, with nifty spices around the fringe and lots of tannin. Probably needs to chill out and learn Tai Chi for a couple years, but drinks beautifully now if paired with a protein. Otherwise the protein is you. Killer value, this, especially right now: 94 points James “Yippee” Suckling, 93 points Wine Spectator, 8 6-packs available, $46.99 + taxes

Happy Drinking!

P.S., I use Antinoris as the plural form of that family's name. I have heard Antinori used as plural, but that would mean that the singular form was Antinorusbecause (I think) they are not deer. I truly do think about these things as I try to sleep.

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