Friday, January 08, 2010

Belguardo Poggio Bronzone Vertical

A vertical tasting - tasting different vintages of the same wine - is one of my favourite wine tasting activities. Sometimes with vintage notes in hand, sometimes not (like tonight), I sip these mysteries and try to picture the weather of years past in a distant land...dilute (rains at harvest), green/vegetal (earlier harvest), raisiny (extreme heat)...wines typically give us hints to the climate in which they were raised. Except for tonight, where this "accidental" vertical of four Tuscan vintages gave nearly identically wonderful expressions of Sangiovese.

Accidental? Most of the verticals in my cellar are carefully assembled, but this was a funny discovery (or perhaps a sign of aging) - four different vintages of this wine from Mazzei's Belguardo Estate! Mazzei has been pushing the promise of the Tuscan Maremma for a few years now, and judging by tonight's wines the Maremma is more than promising.

Tonight's favourite was the 2001 Belguardo Poggio Bronzone - beautifully complex on the nose, with earthy, charcoal notes, some cocoa powder, liquorice, basil and old fruit as well. A carpet of velvety tannins carries crisp, minerally cherry fruit to the palate. Poised, a very nice finish, nearly perfect if the oak was more subdued. Score: 17.5+/20

A nose of minty cooked fruit and the 2004 Belguardo Poggio Bronzone nearly passed for the oldest. Terribly interesting, later adding notes of sour cherries, roses, and cooked sausages. Silky tannins and raisiny, cooked fruit awkwardly danced across the palate - kinda odd at first, but it developed nicely. Bottle variation? Wish I had another '04. Score: 16.5/20

The 2005 Belguardo Poggio Bronzone was a lovely wine, with flinty sweet black cherries, and tobacco notes - a touch spicy. Juicy, tart and lighter bodied than the others, with a very long smoky finish, even a touch nutty. Very well balanced...Score: 17/20

The 2006 Belguardo Poggio Bronzone, was an impetuous youth - big smokey and leathery aromas with a heavy dose of toasty oak, fleshed out with roses and dark berries. Tangy, earthy and very smokey, with a deceptively long, minerally, finish. A bit over-oaked, but otherwise showing many signs of greatness. Score: 17/20

A great flight of Sangiovese (more similar than different), I can only speculate on the subtleties of these vintages - the 05 seemed touch dilute (rain?), the '04 hot and raisiny (hot and dry?). It is noteworthy that all were 13.5% alcohol, not showing the trend I see in my cellar with wineries showing increasing alcohol in consecutive vintages.

While there was not a bad wine in the bunch, a lighter touch with the oak would be appreciated by this palate...

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