WCC Tuscan Reds
@ Fort Orange Club, Albany
December 1, 1994

About 14 attendees. My fourth tasting with the "Wine Collectors Club."

Flights organized by me. *'ed wines brought by me, one for Bob F, and one each for RPI visitors David Sharma (U.S. Dept. of Transportation) and his assistant. My notes are skimpy because I had to answer so many questions about Italian wines.

Flight 1

1982 L. & P. Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva Villa Antinori -- 84
Mellow, caramel. Mature.

1985 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale -- 86
A little more fruit. Mildewy nose.
2nd day: Fully mature, round and mellow.

*1985 Felsina-Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva Vigneto Rancia -- 90-92
Tight, black cherry fruit. Not appreciated by most.
2nd day: Gorgeous, round. Structured lush chocolate and black cherry. Drink 2000-2010. 93 points.

1990 Contucci Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Pietra Rossa -- 90-91
[Brought by Dick L.] Soft, lush, rich, young. Unresolved fruit and acidity but balanced.
2nd day: I expected it to be better. It mellowed but didn't get better or come together. (89 points)

Flight 2

1988 Melini Coltri Vyd 1 vdt -- 90
Nice balance, long finish with good fruit/acid balance.
2nd day: Smoothed out and lovely. -- 91

*1985 L. & P. Antinori Tignanello vdt -- 92-94
Classic Bordeaux-style richness and structure. Still has lots of oaky vanilla. This is the first wine in the tasting that people really oooh and aaah over, though one or two liked the Vigneto Rancia. Clearly the cabernet flavors are more familiar, but the wine is also a cut above. Mold under capsule does not appear to have been a reason for concern.
2nd day: Actually more tight! May not peak until 2005. The best Tignanello so far?

1988 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino -- ?-83
Stinky nose, a little turned, but nice richness underneath.
2nd day: Tarry, not stinky. Better. -- 86

1987 Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Lago -- 88-?
[Brought by Frank F. Sold to him by Terry R.] A little caramel. Doesn't really come together. Not a good vintage.

Flight 3: Mature Brunellos

All mature and quite good. Really showing the finesse one expects of truly fine, aged wines. Broadly appreciated by the group. I think they found the first two flights interesting, but found it hard to judge the wines and how they might age. This flight gave them some very positive insights.

1974 Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino -- 88
[Brought by Larry S. Gift to him from Al Atkin.] Awful, stinking nose. Fully mature, and then some, but it has a mellow and appealing caramel fruit, yes fruit! Quite remarkable considering that this was considered a bad vintage and a bad estate at the time (since purchased and renamed Castello Banfi!).

1975 Barbi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva -- 90
Elegant coffee, tobacco, medium length.
Day 2: Fading slightly.

1975 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva -- 92
Mature coffee and tobacco. Absolutely delicious. Harmonious, clearly at its peak. Drink now - 1998.
Day 2: Has actually improved, showing slight more complexity. 93 points.

1978 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva -- 93
Similar to the `75 but more richness and licorice.
Day 2: Needs 2 - 3 more to really mellow out. Tastes of too much tannin after the `75. 92-93 points.

1978 Capanna-Cecione Brunello di Montalcino -- 92
[Brought by Bob S.] Tar and chocolate. More rustic than last 3, but excellent fruit and balance.
Day 2: Still quite young, drink though 2005.

Flight 4: Bordeaux Blends, Super Tuscans

Everyone impressed in previous flights with sangiovese as a noble grape, but these "Bordeaux heads" were clearly blown away by this flight, e.g. "Clearly all first-growth quality!"

*1988 Ludovico Antinori Ornellaia vdt -- 94-96
Great nose. Mellow and gorgeous. The softening effect of the merlot is quite evident. Has an amazing level of fruit extract. I think it will get better and better for the next 10 - 12 years and last twice that.

*1986 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia vdt -- 96
Knockout, stunning! More mature than the `85 but will last 20 years. Subtle and very, very appealing. Not with the `85 as one of the great wines of the century, maybe, but great nonetheless. Reminds me of the `83 Margaux with its richness and class.

*1985 L. & P. Antinori Solaia vdt -- 95-98
Really tight with sweet cherry and licorice, great structure and tons of tannin. Needs 20 years just to open up. Amazing. If we're making Bordeaux comparisons, then this one's Latour.


1977 Robertson's Rebello Valente Vintage Port (bottled 1979) -- 88
[Brought by Bob S.] Good, acidic plummy wine. Excellent acidity. Almost ready. Good balance, but doesn't have the weight or richness of a top producer's `77 (e.g. Graham's).




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