Back                                                                                                                                  February 7, 2009        

              Tuscan Sangiovese & Good Friends         

aka Frolicking in Philly

I recently took a trip back to my old college stomping grounds in Philadelphia, PA to visit two very close friends, Scott Mayer and Rafik Samuel. When we get together, we often plan a tasting of one sort or another and this time decided on Tuscan Sangiovese. Wines from the  three most prominent areas (Chianti Classico, Montepulciano and Montalcino) were tasted and we were joined by Rafik's friend Liza.

86+(?)   2006 Poliziano   Rosso di Montepulciano  $ 20
Rustic and young with sufficient fruit, but somewhat overshadowed by Tuscan earth and green oak. Bitterness is most prevalent in the finish. This is meant for hearty fare and hopefully it will improve in the next few years as it loses its youthful austerity.

87   2006 Casanova di Neri  Rosso di Montalcino  $ 25
Bears some similarity to the Rosso above, being youthfully austere with tannin and green oak showing. But its less earthy and more fruity nature make it more enjoyable at present. It would be interesting to revisit these two in 3 to 4 years.

91+   2002 Brolio  Chianti Classico   $ 25
Rich and silky with excellent red clay terroir supporting cherry/cassis fruit. Also shows thyme and bayleaf spice and smooth cedar. It's peak, but could still improve in the next couple of years.

86    2004 Dei   Vino Nobile di Montepulciano   $ 25
Sulfur, violets and stewed cherry in the nose. The red cherry fruit becomes more charming in the mouth, but this lacks structure and is a bit boring. Smooth and pleasant, but somewhat disappointing.

92+   2000 Frescobaldi   Brunello di Montalcino Castel Giocondo Riserva $ 65
Deep garnet color with some onion skin and a little clearing. Close to peak. High acidity propels pure tart black cherry with cedar in the bouquet and flavor. Impressive. Finish is less compelling with a little bitterness, but still very good. This is a light heavyweight (not a monster vintage) with excellent acidity and fruit. Drinks outstandingly well right now, but could continue to improve.

Final Impressions
Four of the five wines were true to form with the Dei being too non-descript to act as a good example of the VNDM appellation. The first two wines showed the power and youthful austerity that one would expect from a young Montepulciano or Montalcino based Sangiovese. They also showed rustic qualities (particularly the first wine) that are expected more in a Rosso than in a Vino Nobile or a Brunello. The two wines from Montalcino both showed a more ripe, flamboyant style of fruit that is typical of the area. The Chianti Classico was smooth and silky with dusty terroir, showing CC's more restrained style compared to the others. The company was particularly top notch and I hope we do this again soon!

P.S. Rafik and Liza, thanks for the Brunello contribution. It definitely lifted the tasting up a notch or two.