Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Big Fun - Magnums of Sassoalloro & Vieux Lazaret

What is the purpose of an oversized wine bottle? Your first thought might be that if you buy an over-sized bottle you would get a discount, but that is not the case for fine wines. So it's an ego thing, right? Possibly - opening a gigantic bottle of wine for a big event is impressive, and they look so darn good in the cellar. But there is a practical side to this largesse - larger wine bottles are more "age-worthy". So I've collected a few of these for future special occasions (i.e. one for each of my kids' "vintages"), but sometimes I just cannot wait...

Lloyd suggested I pick up a bottle of this 2004 Jacopo Biondi Santi Sassoalloro, a modestly priced "super-Tuscan" in a party friendly magnum. Deep, dark cherry red with big leathery and tobacco notes - rose petals, black currants, rosemary, ink, and cooked meat on the nose as well. Crisp, juicy fruit and big, earthy tannins with a long, luxurious, velvety finish. The only tragedy was opening this too early. A fantastic price for an age-worthy magnum - other super-Tuscan makers should be nervous.
cork. 13.5% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: C$57.60 (SAQ)

This wine won a CDP tasting in 2005 so I picked up a pair when the SAQ released it in a magnum format. The 2000 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Cuvée Exceptionnelle (Châteauneuf-du-Pape) sported a wonderful nose of "beef au jus" and cooked fruit, berries and white flowers, nuts, leather, white pepper, and damp forest undergrowth. On the palate were meaty tannins and slatey blackberries all held together by crisp acidity. Polished, with a silky smooth texture, it started simple but gained complexity over the evening - very smooth, very well done. May go a few more years, but nice today after a good decant.
cork. 13.5% alcohol
Score: 18/20
Price: C$81 (SAQ)


David said...

the chat du pape sounds great! thought I was going to pick up a Chateau le Nerthe yesterday for just $40 but someone grabbed the last bottle before me!

Joe said...

Hi David - I have tasted this Vieux Lazaret on multiple occasions and I have always been impressed. I cannot say the same for La Nerthe, although I really liked their white.

Anson said...

I tried the Sassoalloro at LCBO before and was really disappointed. I agree that it definitely needs more time in the cellar, but how long do you think?

Joe said...

Hi Anson - with this bottle I was thinking another five years at least, but that was a magnum sized bottle - for a 2004 in a regular bottle I would probably give it 2-3 more years. Were you disappointed with the '04 or a different vintage?