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More textural than the Fôrets, the 2020 Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux delivers notes of orange oil, fresh orchard fruit, clear honey and apple blossom, followed by a medium to full-bodied, fleshy and saline palate.
The Rioja red 2018 Lanzaga comes from a very wet year with more than 600 liters of rain, but it had a dry October, which helped to fight mildew. They harvested between the 8th of October and 1st of November. It's a blend from their 15 to 20 hectares of organically farmed vines, all head-pruned on slopes rich in clay and limestone, mixing red and white soils, some places with more sandstone, others with more marl, looking for complexity. It fermented in 6,000-liter concrete vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in 1,500- and 2,500-liter oak foudres and 225-liter barrels for 14 months. It's floral and expressive, subtle and cold. This could very well be the best value in the portfolio. The wine has gobsmacking subtleness and elegance combined with power, definition and precision. Superb! 24,568 bottles produced. It was bottled in May/June 2020.
The 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape features scents of caramelized cherries with hints of cinnamon and vanilla. It's medium to full-bodied, lush and seductive, with a silky, enveloping mouthfeel and a gentle, lingering finish.
Renzo Cotarella, managing director of Marchesi Antinori tells me that the 2018 vintage showed very different results in the inland and hilly Chianti Classico appellation compared to the flat, sea-facing Bolgheri appellation. This season saw some rain right before harvest. That extra humidity rolled right off the Chianti Classico hills and disappeared without effect, but it stuck around longer in the thicker, flatter soils of Guado al Tasso. For this reason, one of the estate's top wines, the Cabernet Franc-based Matarocchio, was not produced in 2018 for fear that the fruit would not offer the concentration required of a wine of that important stature. The best of that fruit was used in this wine instead. For that reason, the 2018 Bolgheri Superiore Guado al Tasso sees a little more Cabernet Franc (clocking in at about 22% of the blend) and less Merlot, with the rest being Cabernet Sauvignon, of course, (at about 60%).
The 2018 Rosso dei Notri (a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Sangiovese, with only 30% of the total seeing a brief four months in barrique) is a very fresh and tonic red that surprisingly comes from fruit harvested two weeks later than normal. And Merlot is not always happy to stay on the vines for longer than it has to. It's a fruit-forward wine that was aimed more at freshness instead of concentration, making it a good pair for a simple margherita pizza. You get terrific value here. Rating: 90+
The 2019 Old Vine Malbec comes from old ungrafted vineyards irrigated by traditional flood irrigation in the Uco Valley in Mendoza. It's a floral, juicy and varietal Malbec with nicely integrated oak and a lively palate with pungent flavors, vibrant acidity and fine and round tannins.
The Tedeschi 2018 Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso Capitel San Rocco is 35% Corvina, 35% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella and 10% other complementary grapes. The wine is aged in oak casks for 18 months (with 100,000 bottles made). The bouquet has hints of mesquite smoke and toasted spice that frame dark plum and dried cherry. It's a classic wine as far as Ripasso goes, executed with a very clean and fruit-forward style.
Sourced from the lieux-dits of Les Brusquières and Cabrières, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Prestige is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre and 5% other varieties. Tasted blind, it's a big, full-bodied, lush wine. Powered by bold cherry and stone fruit, it shows hints of pepper and clove complexity, plus vibrant citrus zest notes on the long, electric finish. Wow.
The 2019 Semillon is reminiscent of a white oak-aged Rioja, with grapes from Agrelo that fermented and matured in oak barrel for 15 months, 20% of them without topping up, which made the wine develop a veil of flor yeast. That made the wine unusually expressive and aromatic for the variety, yeasty and floral and with a light to medium-bodied palate, moderate alcohol and great freshness. It has a dry and serious finish, leaving a chalky sensation. Again, this is going to develop nicely in bottle. 3,000 bottles were filled in December 2020.
The Marchesi Antinori 2017 Tignanello (made with Sangiovese and smaller parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc) is a dark, exuberant and inviting wine. I tasted my sample after a double decanting and was pleased by the profound nature of the wine and the immediate openness of the aromas. There is a symphony of dark fruit with black cherry, plum, spice and sweet tobacco. I am particularly attracted by a distant hint of medicinal or menthol herb that I also discovered in other wines with fruit from the Tignanello estate in 2017. There's a drying mineral note of crushed chalk as well. The heat and dryness of the vintage has added to the aromatic intensity of the wine (yields were reduced by a third), but the mouthfeel is carefully crafted to maintain its softness and smoothness. Fruit comes from a 57-hectare section of the Tenuta Tignanello from a vineyard that is located 390 meters above sea level with Alberese limestone rock and soils of marine origin. The wine is fermented in conical oak tanks and is aged up to 16 months in a combination of mostly French and some Hungarian oak, both new and neutral. Some 300,000 bottles were released in April 2020 after one year of bottle age.
The textbook 2019 Chardonnay is elegant and subtle, seamless and integrated, with moderate alcohol and great freshness, finishing dry and very tasty. Vigil likes to have some flor in part of his wines, and it gives them a special complexity and tastiness. 2019 was a very healthy vintage, and the grapes achieved 13.5% alcohol while keeping very high acidity, which makes the palate vibrant and lively. It was produced with grapes from Gualtallary and that always adds extra freshness when picked at the right time. It matured in 500-liter oak barrels for nine months and there's always some flor in the élevage.
The current vintage of the red that is their first option to have with food is the 2016 Selección Especial, whose grapes are selected from terraced vineyards in the Montes Obarenes and the Sierra Cantabria, from vines averaging 35 years of age. It fermented in oak vats and matured in French oak barrels for 26 months, and it's kept in bottle for at least 18 months before it's sold. This is serious and has freshness and some restraint in the palate; it's much more expressive, floral and aromatic and with more-integrated oak than the wines from five+ years ago. It's a more elegant vintage than the 2015 and every bit as good, or a tad better. Winemaker Isaac Muga considers 2016 a very good harvest. It was bottled in April 2019. This is among the best vintages of Selección Especial
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P.S.: 🍷 Don`t drink and type...