WCC Tuscan Reds
at Café Capriccio in Albany, NY, (6/1/2006)

The WCC met for dinner at Café Capriccio in Albany, NY, in their private upstairs kitchen/dining room. The food is just marvelous here. We were able to work out terrific wine and food matches for each course. Below are my notes and scores followed by the group rankings. Most wines double decanted between 5 and 6pm. Tasting began at 7:30.

General comments:

1. For my palate, among the Brunellos, the 74 was a little past its prime and the 88s need a little more time. The 82 and 86 were at their peak, indicating an optimal drinking window around 20-25 years past the vintage.

2. The fact that the 86 non-riserva Brunello and the 86 Solaia did so well says one has to be careful of vintage generalizations, esp. soon after the vintage.

Flight 1
With Eggplant and Four Cheeses. One of my favorite dishes here for 20 years. The vibrancy of the simple fresh flavors is classic Italian.

1.1. 1995 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve
Gorgeous nose of earth and cherries. Delicious and ready. A lovely Sangiovese with a medium finish of appealing sour cherries. 91 points.

1.2. 1997 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino
Smoky nose of cherries and minerals. Beautiful, silky, long finish. Young but quite drinkable. Great with the eggplant. One of the surprises of the night. No one had heard of this producer before. 92 points. Tied for group 3rd WOTN.

Flight 2
With Wild Mushroom Risotto. A superb match with these mature Brunellos.

2.1. 1974 Castello Poggio Alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino
Beautiful nose of cherries, cocoa, and cardamom. Fully mature, maybe even past its prime, but a lovely wine with very good length. The cocoa and sour cherries linger on the finish. 94 points.
1 hour later: Fading fast. Drink up! 92 points.

2.2. 1986 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino
Spicy, minty, cherry nose with a cedar undertone. Mellow, gorgeous. Great harmony and balance. A big surprise given the vintage and the producer. 93 points.

2.3. 1982 Il Poggione (Roberto Franceschi) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Nose of minerals and chocolate. Rich, balanced, cherries and chocolate in the mouth. Great persistence. This is right at its peak and a beautiful Brunello! 94 points. 2nd group WOTN. My last bottle of this beauty. :(

2.4. 1983 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Tenuta Greppo
Cardboard nose. Nasty taste. Corked. NR

2.5. 1988 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Tenuta Greppo
Mild nose of minerals and mint. Mellow but sour in the mouth. 86 points. Tied for group 3rd WOTN.

2.6. 1988 Poggio Antico Brunello Riserva
Bright nose of cherries and spice. Still young, but a beautiful wine. Full in the mouth with very good length. 93 points. Tied for group 3rd WOTN.

Flight 3
With Brasato al Chianti (Chuck Shoulder of Beef Braised in Chianti, essentially Italian pot roast). This was an excellent choice with these cabernet-based wines.

3.1. 1985 Antinori Solaia
Medicinal, lacquer nose. Medicinal sour taste. Bad bottle. NR

3.2. 1986 Antinori Solaia
Gorgeous nose of currants and spice. Just a terrific wine. Ready, balanced and delicious. One of the surprises of the night. So harmonious. Must be at its peak. 93 points.

3.3. 1988 Antinori Solaia
Lots of sour cherry. So-so. Maybe it needs more time? 88 points.

3.4. 1988 Sassicaia
[Double decanted at 7am!] Red fruit and cedar nose. Stunning! Incredible length and persistence. Mint, licorice, and red fruit. A great wine! WOTN for me and the group. 96 points.

3.5. 1991 Sassicaia
Minerals and red fruit. Spicy and persistent. Nice stuff. 93 points.

3.6. 1992 Sassicaia
Sour cherry, green pepper. Finish is flat. Disappointing. 86 points.

WOTN Voting (3pts each person for #1, 2pts for #2, 1pt for #3)

1221988 Sassicaia
2141982 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
3(tie)71997 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino
3(tie)71988 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Tenuta Greppo
3(tie)71988 Poggio Antico Brunello Riserva
661991 Sassicaia
751986 Antinori Solaia
841986 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino
931988 Antinori Solaia
1011995 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve




All original content © Ken Vastola