Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Featured Wines: Titans Of Tuscany

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

Titans of Tuscany

As we settle into another couple of days of beautiful BC autumn, allow me to tell you about a few crackerjack Tuscan wines that have made their way to me of late. We start with the newly in-room elephants:

Antinori Tignanello 2016, Toscana
This is the best-rated vintage of Tig ever, and that’s saying a lot. Like the music of Bob Marley, what started as a vehicle of protest now flows freely at parties; Marchesi Antinori’s revolt against the crippling, grower-biased Chianti Classico DOCG rules of the early ‘70s (he used Barriques and folded in a bit of Cabernet, which carried the same sentence as Armed Robbery back then) is now itself a revered institution, a Tuscan avatar if you will, representing the brilliance of the region at least as well as Chianti has ever done. The 2016 vintage finds Tig in Prince Charming mode, showing less ripeness than the 2015 but somehow more depth, with elegant tannins and notes of red fruits, pine, rosemary and vanilla. Will likely burn off its baby fat in about 3 years. There’s a bit of a mania surrounding this vintage (same with Guado, below), so I wouldn’t wait too long to grab some… 98 points Vinous, 97 points Wine Spectator, 97 points Robert Parker, 15 6-packs available, $125.99 +tax

Antinori Guado al Tasso 2016 Bolgheri
At the risk of repeating myself, this is also the best-ever-rated vintage of Guado al Tasso, so when your great-grandkids ask about the “good old days”, this is what they’ll mean. As bold, complex and huge as its famous next-door Bolgheri neighbours but not so much in price, this Cabernet Sauvignon based Bordeaux blend has long been my favourite Antinori wine. Coffee and chocolate surround currants and plums before a focused, refined palate and a hot ‘n’ spicy finish. It’s like if Pauillac learned dirty dancing. This 2016 has the structure to last until robots learn to drink it, but our drinking window opens in 2 years, I’ll wager. 98 points Robert Parker, 98 points James Suckling, 5 wooden 6-packs available, $150.98 +tax

Carpineto Gran Selezione 2015, Chianti Classico
Don’t take your eyes off this winery, they’ve been killing it and show no signs of stopping. Fresh off their #11 placement on last year’s Top 100 (for the 2013 Vino Nobile), don’t be surprised if this statuesque Chianti, grown on 2 hectares in Dudda (in Greve) gets more listy-love this year too, it’s such great value. Aged 18 months in new French Oak, this Sangiovese is built for a journey: the reviews say you can approach it in 2 years but I’d wait a bit longer. Iron-rich black cherry notes, supported by licorice and lavender, great persistence and structure, this is a bargain for such a Cellar Star. 95 points Wine Spectator, 3 wooden 6-packs available, $67.98 +tax

Gaja Ca’Marcanda Vistamare 2017 Bolgheri
A rare white wine from Angelo Gaja’s Bolgheri house, made from Vermentino (unoaked), Fiano (unoaked) and Viognier (hella-oaked and fatter than a wiener dog running a Shake Shack), grown in a vineyard overlooking Bibbona beach (hence the name Vistamare). Gosh, this is pretty, with bergamot, pear, and nectarines on the nose, it closes with piercing minerality and a touch of salinity, full but crisp. 12 bottles available, $85.98 +tax

Le Potazzine 2013 Brunello di Montalcino
Run by Gigliola Gorelli with her two daughters, Potazzine is rising like a rocket in Montalcino, far more manically famous in Europe than here, perhaps because of Gigliola’s focus on elegance as her North Star. She paints with brushes, not hammers, and this Burgundian Brunello is refined, divine and ready to dine (sorry, that just kind of happened). Soft licorice notes with herbs, rocks, flowers and a solid core of blueberries, great acidity, long finish. Drinking now but will age gracefully, not unlike a Gevrey-Chambertin. I concede that framing it as “Girl-Brunello” is weird and a bit reductive, but Potazzine really does offer a refreshing kind of feminine take on the category. A rare new idea from that old mountain. 95 points Vinous, 94 points Robert Parker, 12 bottles available, $122.98

Livio Sassetti Pertimali 2013 Brunello di Montalcino
The Sassetti family traces their Brunello roots back to the beginning of the 20th century, but the jewel in their crown remains the Pertimali vineyard on the famed hill of Montosoli (Altesino has a vineyard there too), north of the town. Montosoli Brunellos are civilized affairs, often featuring as many savoury notes as fruit. This 2013 follows suit with leather, mushroom and truffle supporting the black cherry and plum. Quite full for a north-side Brunello, with a warming finish full of baking spice and licorice. I forgot about these guys for a bit, I’m very glad to meet them again. 98 points James Suckling, 3 6-packs available, $94.98 +tax
Until next time, Happy Drinking!

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