A Tuscan wine list …

Before it all becomes too distant, a few — ignorant and purely subjective! — wine memories from our Tuscany trip, mostly local wines from around Castelnuovo Beradenga. Quite a few of these wines are available from good merchants in the UK and USA, so these notes aren’t just of idle interest. Do go and indulge! The stars — as in (*) — represent the number of bicchiere in the Gambero Rosso wine guide. One star is pretty good, and three is a classic.

  • Fèlsina, Beradenga Chianti Classico ’05 (*). Still a bit closed(?) but opens up nicely after a few hours. I can get this in Cambridge and maybe I’ll put a few bottles under the stairs for a while. (Felsina’s recent top wines are by all accounts amazing, but we didn’t splash out this trip. I was going to say that this is their entry level wine. But actually, you go round the back of their winery, and can get last year’s unbottled at 1.80 euro a litre into your plastic box, and that’s pretty good too!)
  • Fèlsina, Beradenga I Sistri ’05 (*). Their chardonnay: very different from New World chardonnays and indeed from French ones. But I thought the ’04 we had last year was better. This is just a bit too heavy perhaps with surprisingly little nose. (But I’ve bought another bottle here, just to check, you understand …)
  • Poggio Bonelli, Chianti Classico ’01 (later years get * or **). This was recommended by our local restaurant, and comes from just down the road. Inexpensive but perhaps the best Chianti we drank all month. The bottle age made it very rounded, almost unusually smooth for sangiovese, without losing character. Excellent!
  • San Felice, Chianti Classico ’05 (*). Rather undistinguished, I thought, though others thought it better of it. Maybe I was just getting picky.
  • San Felice, Il Grigio, Chianti Classico Riserva ’04 (*). Rather better but again I wasn’t particularly impressed.
  • San Felice, Pugnitello [’04 I think]. Now this was something else. “Rediscovered” old Tuscan grape-variety. Quite excellent. Purple, complex, very full in the mouth, but not overwhelming. Very drinkable!
  • Ricasoli, Castello di Brolio, Chianti Classico ’04 (***). Very good indeed. A quintessential “modern” Chianti. (I suppose you might say it was a bit “middle of the road”, but it has enough character and texture — and I bet will be terrific in a few years).
  • Dievole, La Vendemmia Chianti Classico ’05 (*). Gambero Rosso says “easy drinking”, and yes, it was. Good for a light meal.
  • Dievole, Broccato [’04 I think] (*). This is a sangiovese blend, much fuller bodied. I think the Gambero Rosso underestimated this. Excellent for a heavier Tuscan meal! (An honourable mention too, by the way, to Dievole’s Rosato, which is terrific hot-weather quaffing wine — which we’d have drunk more of if the weather had been better.)
  • Villa Arceno, Chianti Classico ’05 (*). This is the really local wine, which our restaurant gives you as their wine-by-the-glass. Nothing outstanding, but as-it-were essence of good-ordinary-Chianti.
  • Lornano, Commendator Enrico ’04 (**). Sangiovese/merlot which we usually drink at the Bottega di Lornano. Seriously good for accompanying Tuscan-style food.
  • Castello del Terriccio, Lupicaia ’04 (***). No. Philosophers aren’t paid that much. This was by courtesy of a very generous son-in-law! Even so young was sumptuous. Classic. Words fail. And in a few more years must be unbelievable. (Drank this at Bottega del 30, surely one of the best restaurants in the world, just a couple of miles away. Sigh.)

1 thought on “A Tuscan wine list …”

  1. In my view all wine is ‘drinkable’, but thank you for the list, I will note these and have a look at what can be found here in England.

    Vallicella’s blog is up and running again, by the way. He has a post on nominalism – I made some comments by email (his comments box being broken yet again) and recommended some of the posts such as the Parsons ones below). Best, Ocham the Nominalist.

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