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WTN: Recent Italian Wines


futronic
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2000 Castello d'Albola Chianti Classico

Tuscany, Italy

Medium ruby red to rim. Aromas of cherries, plum, brown sugar, and earth. Medium bodied with cherries and sour red fruit. Short finish, ~20s, slightly hot. 83 points (03/28/2004).

1997 Castelli del Grevepesa Chianti Classico L'Alberello di Lamole

Tuscany, Italy

Crystal clear ruby to slightly oranging rim. Aromas of cherries, strawberries, sliced red plums, orange peel, and finocchio frawns. Medium-bodied with cherry and red plum replays. Well integrated tannins and a moderate-short finish, ~20-25s. Slightly over the hill. Drink up. 86 points (04/16/2004).

1996 Frescobaldi Castello di Nipozzano Mormoreto

Tuscany, Italy

60 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc.

Deep garnet opaque colour to a ruby/ruddy rim. Aromas of blackberry, tar, varnish, toasted vanilla/oak, black licorice, kirsch, sweet red fruits, and a bit of herbaceousness. The nose seems more in line with a Chateauneuf-du-Pape than a Cab. Medium-bodied with sweet red fruits and a very prevalent green pepper/herbal note on the palate. Very present tannins, and I don't think they'll ever resolve. The fruit is falling apart too. A very drying finish with barnyard, glycerin, and bing cherry are met with more green pepper notes, about 30s in length. This wine is on the downhill slide and would likely have been better a couple years ago. 85 points (04/27/2004).

1997 Michele Satta Vigna Al Cavaliere

Tuscany, Italy

Opaque garnet/black colour. Aromas of grilled meat, smoke, pancetta, earth, empire apples, and herbs. Medium-full bodied with minerals, fresh figs, and leather. Short finish with apple notes, ~15s. Would have been better a couple years ago. 86 points (04/27/2004).

1998 Vignamaggio Obsession

Tuscany, Italy

Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah blend.

Opaque garnet/purple colour. Aromas of cinnamon, cola, plums, nutmeg, dark chocolate, maraschino cherry, and cassis. Medium-bodied with vanilla, black cherry, and mushroom. Short finish, ~15s. A non-descript expression of terrior in this wine. It could come from anywhere in the world. 85 points (04/27/2004).

1997 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco

Piemonte, Italy

Crystal clear ruby red to an oranging rim. Aromas of bright cherry, earth, mushroom. Simple, clean Barbaresco. Fresh, with cherries and candied orange peel. Short finish, ~ 20s. A definite food wine. 86 points (04/29/2004).

1999 Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico

Veneto, Italy

Tasted over two nights.

First night, straight out of the bottle. Clean, ruby red/garnet colour. Fat, thick, slow legs. Evolving nose with aromas of cherries, espresso, mushrooms, sweet red fruits (sliced plums and raspberries), briar, mocha, glycerin, and balsamic. Medium-full bodied, showing a lot of restraint and mouth-searing tannins. Behind the wall of tannin there are hints of cherries, mushrooms, thyme, and cinnamon. Dry, tannic finish, about 30-40s. 86 points right now, mostly for the nose. (04/28/2004)

Second night. Decanted two hours the previous night, poured back into bottle and vacu-winned. Stored overnight in my cellar. Seemed to darken with air, becoming almost opqaue with purple tinges to the dark ruby/garnet colour. Aromas of Asian 5-spice, sweet red fruits (plums, cherries), glycerin, and vanilla. Medium-full bodied with sweet red fruits, white pepper, earth, and bannana. Moderate finish, about 30s, with allspice notes. This will be better in a few years, but never be a 90-point wine. 88 points (04/29/2004).

1997 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale Gold Label

Tuscany, Italy

Decanted ~ 30 minutes. Dark ruby red to rim. Aromas of vanilla, black cherries, black plums, earth, smoke, raspberries, and currant. Medium-bodied, fresh tasting, clean wine with cherries, a hint of spice and a bit of milk chocolate. Tannins are fully integrated. Short finish, ~15-20s, with spice and orange rind notes. Slightly disappointing; was expecting more. Drink now with food. 86 points (05/01/2004).

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Well nothing pushed your button here. That d'Albola is pretty weak stuff. I have to admit I think the the Produttori di Barbaresco regular wine is a pretty nice wine for the money - and true to both nebbiolo and the Barbaresco commune to boot - of course it sells for Euro 12 here, which helps appreciation quite a bit. I see the SuperTuscans did not fare well and at those prices a mid-80 score is a let down.

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Craig,

No, nothing really stood out here. They were all decent made wines, but nothing special.

The Produttori normale is a simple, clean wine which was not bad for the $25CAD I paid for it. The price has since jumped to $35CAD, and I have not surprisingly refused to buy more of it.

The Super Tuscans would have been better a couple years ago, and would likely have merited a high-80s score at that point.

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