Flight 2 of a marvellous tasting of unreleased wines from the coastal provinces of Tuscany. The tasting - Anteprima Vini della Costa Toscana - took place in the elegant setting of Villa Bottini, Lucca. All of the wines were from the difficult 2002 vintage.
Overall quality was excellent, with the caveat that these are barrel samples - there is still time for flavours to change and for improvements (or slips) to be made before they are released. It is important to realise that the wines are 'works in progress', often with volatile aromas and flavours that wont be present in the finished wines.
The wines were real blockbusting, crowd-pleasers, with high proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc dominating the flavours of Sangiovese. Wonderful stuff…
Intense, stewed plums and mulberries, creamy and sweet, mouthfilling flavours with a herbal, tangy undercurrent. Good balance with a long savoury, graphite finish. Delicious and impossible to spit. Very, very good.
Very deep purple/red.
Stewed, rich red fruit nose - still a bit raw but promising.
Mouthcoating,full bodied, incredibly intense, velvety wine with spicy wood flavours, ripe mulberries and cream. Lots of alcohol and good acidity with sublime balance. Long dry finish with fine tannins and savoury, herbal notes.
Deep even purple red.
Slightly raw, rasping nose with cyanide/apple pip aromas and sour forest fruits - promising!
Full bodied and creamy, an easy wine with lovely layers of sour acids, forest fruits, cream and leafy, bitter oak.
Long, tangy, intense - wonderful!
Alcoholic, stewed, concentrated nose.
Very full bodied but slightly more austere than the previous wines, with a great, inky concentration of sweet, ripe black fruits. Beautiful integration of graphite/bitter oak and tangy acidity.
Very long and big, a bit more serious but it needs time to develop.
Intense herbal, charred oak and forest fruit nose - still unknit, but wow!
Full bodied and very dry with grippy tannins. Smoky, spicy oak, with some pure cassis/redcurrant fruit. Lovely long savoury finish with slightly sour acids.
Needs lots of time, but very good.
Unsurprisingly (even though I must have been just about the first person through the door on the first day of tasting), this superTuscan legend was all gone by the time I got to it. Luckily a glass was surreptitiously passed to me when no-one else was looking:
Dusty garnet/red paling to rim [so different in colour I wondered if I was being palmed off with something else].
Intense, concentrated nose of leather, ink, graphite and stewed mulberries - layered and complex.
Medium bodied and elegant, with concentrated, sweet blackcurrant/forest fruit flavours, delicious, slightly sour acidity, and a herbal, savoury tang. Very fine tannins on a long, well balanced finish with a faint tang of well-integrated charred oak.
Very fine, layered and complex - it’s the first time I've tasted Sassacaia, but I can see what all the fuss is about.