A tasting in Lucca's Villa Bottini, hosted by the Consortium of Colline Lucchesi Wines. This was a splendid array of rich, dark wines from the 2000 vintage (opaque and purple!). I focussed mainly on wines from around Lucca - there were plenty of big names that I just didn't get round to (Sassicaia would have been nice!)
N.B. These were en primeur samples - not the final bottlings (many a slipů) The estimations of cellaring potential are pure guesswork and gut feeling - I really don't have the experience of young Italian wines for these figures to be any more than personal stabs in the dark - try them yourself and make your own mind up.
Plummy, alcoholic nose.
Rich and creamy with cassis fruit and excellent balance of acidity and firm tannins. Surprisingly open and attractive.
Drink in 1 to 5 years. Good
Rich nose of minerals and black fruit.
Rich and rounded flavours of black and red berry fruit, spicy new oak and a touch of leaf. Savoury and long, this is very good indeed but needs 3 to 5 years anyway.
Sweaty, meaty, plummy nose with a touch of fresh herbs.
More bite than the Cimas, with jammy raspberry/cassis flavours, plenty of acidity and quite furry tannins. Long and dry.
Good, needs 3 years?
Opaque purple/red - viscous.
Rich bouquet of cassis - this is a big wine!
Big rush of sweet berry fruit with an undercurrent of sour acids and a tang of bitter oak. Raspy and delicious. Good tannic grip and long.
Very good, need 4-5 years.
Juicy cherry/berry nose - attractive but still a bit dumb.
Full bodied with sweet plum and cassis fruit rounded out with a touch of coffee and oak. Much lighter than the preceding wines but good, with a bit of a bite. Decent dry finish. Another 3 years?
Full bodied and dry with some ripe plum fruit hidden under mouth-crinkling, furry tannins. Concentrated and long but it needs time to develop and I don't know if the fruit will outlive the tannins. Try again in 4 years.
Almost opaque purple/red.
Very attractive, inky nose of sour berries and herbs.
Closed on the palate but some juicy fruit. Medium bodied with quite high acidity and jammy, black cherry flavours coming through. Long, long. Very good. Leave for 5 years.
Almost opaque purple red [much too dark for Pinot Noir I thought].
This is a gorgeous, modern wine with a strawberry and cream nose, and a full-bodied mouthful of lush, soft black fruits and lightly charred oak. Juicy acidity and a long, integrated, herby finish.
Superb! Wow! Drinkable now but should develop over the next three years and beyond.
[I'm normally in the stinky-barnyard camp when it comes to Pinot but this could win me over]
Very deep purple/red.
Dumb on the nose, traces of black fruit.
This is a lurker, but if you coax it there is a medium to full-bodied mouthful of spicy, soft black fruits. Quite high acidity and a bite to the tannins. Long and dry on the finish with tobacco flavours coming through.
Good, but very different in style from the preceding wines and hard to assess. Needs time.
Deep, even purple/red. Viscous.
Lovely, restrained nose with suggestions of soft black fruits and cream.
Light to medium-bodied with juicy, jammy berry fruits, good acidity and mouthcoating, dry tannins.
Lighter than preceding wines but very well balanced. Needs another year or two (and food). Good.
Deep, even, purple/red.
Still a bit dumb on the nose, but very attractive with some earth, ripe berries and a touch of barnyard.
Medium to full-bodied, surprisingly open after the nose, with soft black fruits, cream, tobacco, oak and green leaves.
Well integrated, balanced and long with herbs on the finish.
Excellent stuff - you could drink it now but better in 2 to 3 years
Very strange indeed - possibly a corked sample or mistake?
Much paler and pinker with a slight haze and a raw, winekit, confectionery flavour. Must have been a dud?
Black/red, opaque to rim.
Big, throbbing, meaty, lurking nose of raspberries, herbs and oak - wow!
Very full bodied with thick, sweet, chewy cassis and raspberry fruits, integrated, spicy oak, rasping acidity and firm tannins. This is a beast - put me in mind of a big Cornas - and it needs a lot of time to develop.
Long, long, mouthcoating finish.
At least 5 to 6 years. A star!
Closed on the nose with some plum and oak flavours tucked away - you get the impression that this will turn out to be a big wine though.
Medium bodied but intense, with raspberries and inky, oaky notes, firm tannins, good balance and a fairly green, long, dry, herby finish.
Hard to assess at this stage but I think it will really shine in 4 or 5 years.
Closed nose, but some soft black fruits and dusty herbs.
Lush and full-bodied, with soft cassis and raspberry fruit, creamy, toasted oak, good acidity and rounded tannins. Beautiful! Coffee, herbs and leather on the superbly balanced finish.
Outstanding - needs another 1 to 5 years.
Inky, black fruit nose.
Soft and sweet with slightly confected black fruits, soft furry tannins and a lovely, long, savoury, dry finish. Good.
Rich, spicy nose of provencal herbs, cassis and plum.
Dense and full-bodied, with sweet black fruits, savoury, spicy oak and long furry tannins. Almost Australian!