Friday, February 18, 2005

Tuscan Wine Treasures

Our recently expanded tasting group decided to dive into Tuscany, with a focus on the Sangiovese grape, but someone cheated. No matter, the upstart did not take home the prize, and we all enjoyed a fabulous night of wine tasting. The wines, and the results, are as follows:

First Place: 2000 Flaccianello della Pieve (a Fontodi super Tuscan)
Two first place and three second place rankings. Also the most expensive at C$75. I was surprised that the Flaccianello won. I thought it would be too young, and it was the youngest wine tasted. Perhaps decanting it 2 ½ hours before the tasting softened it up just enough? Very Chianti, yet very well balanced and bursting forth with interesting aromas. I can't wait for this wine to improve.

Second Place: 1997 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico ‘Riserva’
More controversial – two first place one second place and two third place rankings. While the original acquisition cost was below C$50, current market prices are surely higher if you could find it! The Badia was very drinkable and very well balanced. This was the oldest wine in the group - as Lloyd said, this wine is the reason we build/buy wine cellars! I felt this wine was at its peak, so should be consumed soon, and I preferred the more rustic first and third place wines to this much more refined Chianti. Most of you disagreed with me!

Third Place: 1999 Ghiaie della Furba by Capezzana
One first, one second, and three third place rankings. Impossible to find, but I have purchased other vintages for ~C$50. Not a pure sangiovese, but we loved it so we forgive you Chris. Despite its ranking, I think this was the real value winner. Definitely the most complex nose! Upon tasting, the tannins were still harsh, but the complexity …phenomenal! I think we all agreed that this wine was going to improve even further, and the price was amongst the lowest. It would be interesting to taste the Ghiaie vs. the Flaccianello in about five years!

Fourth Place: 1999 Tenute Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva
Ranked fourth by all. In the $40s, I think. This is a wine that I have enjoyed in the past, is often on restaurant menus, and it is a reliably good Chianti. However, the competition was just a touch more complex and interesting. On the value spectrum it was probably the cheapest of the five.

Fifth Place: 1999 Poggio Rosso Chianti Classico Riserva by San Felice
Ranked fifth by all. C$54 at SAQ. The Poggio Rosso fails the value test being more expensive and less appealing than the others.

I think this tasting was influenced by the fact that some wines were decanted earlier than others, and the wines were served at different temperatures. I think this may have influenced the score, especially the Ghiaie which was served warmer and had little air time. Something to think about for the next tasting.