Back Up The Truck!: Summer Edition
As Summer signals that it is indeed here for a bit – I think it really means it this time – I’d like to bring your attention to a couple wines of great power, great points and reduced subtleties. These are bunker-busters, large, loud and luscious, and they are both politely under $75. This summer is gonna be swell.
Fantini Edizione Cinque Autoctoni 2015 Italy
A New World wine from the Old World. If your 93-year-old aunt texted you “omg that rave was so lit” you’d feel weird about it, and that’s because “old-doing-new” rarely works out, except for when it does: Edizione is on fire, I’ve already sold through 20 cases of it and the buzz hasn’t subsided. Edizione seems almost specifically engineered to anger Italian traditionalists: Not only does it refuse to specify a village or DOC like most Italian wines, it’s sourced from several regions (Abruzzo, Puglia predominantly), made from indigenous (“Autoctoni”) grapes that are almost never blended together (Montepulciano, Primitivo, Sangiovese, Malvasia Nera and Negroamaro), and to cause maximum consternation they age it all in blasphemous new American oak, which Italian winemakers employ about as often as snakes use chopsticks. If an Amarone stuck a fork in a light socket, that’d be a starting point. The Negroamaro gives dark, stewed fruit, the Montepulciano builds the frame, the Primitivo brings power, spice and precious, precious alcohol. Layered, balanced and electric. By sheer weight alone this’ll cellar for decades, but what then? I don’t know what this becomes and I like it too much now to wait. The bottle is huge, like Hillside Select huge, and the reason I mention this is that it feels like a one-litre bottle but it ain’t. 99 points Luca Maroni*, Best Italian Red 2018 (Luca again), 6 6-packs available, $53.99 +tax
Montes Purple Angel 2015 Colchagua Valley - Chile
The Carmenere-As-Big-As-A-Bear returns. I’ve written about Purple Angel for so many successive vintages that I’m not sure what I can newly provide other than knock-knock jokes, but it’s enjoying an exceptionally good vintage in this 2015 offering, which could be a personal best for one of Chile’s most delicious ambassadors. Chocolate wrapped in a cherry wrapped in a plum wrapped in an anvil, this is maximalism liquefied, and it’s drinking great now with grilled meat but will positively sing when the training wheels come off in a couple years. Noted Hyperbolist James Suckling gave this 2015 99 points, and although he treats each wine like it’s the first one he’s tasted after a year in prison, it’s notable that this is the highest score he’s given Purple Angel. Not many other reviewers have gotten to this vintage yet, but if patterns hold you can reasonably expect Parker to come in 2 points lower and Wine Spectator one point lower than that. This vintage is not to be missed. 99 points James “Gulp” Suckling, 6 6-packs available, $74.99 +tax
We’ll be pouring both of these 99-point blockbusters in out River District Vintage Room at 3pm this Saturday, but until then,