For the background to this tasting, look here.
In the second flight we were going to get familiar with Tuscan versions of Cabernet Sauvignon, in different styles and quantities.
This flight was equally impressive as the first flight, and maybe even more so, since there were not one bad, off or less good bottle in the line up.
All bottles decanted 45 minutes before the first pour. All tasted single blind.
All the cepage percentage below is from Andrea Zanfi´s book SuperTuscans.
1997 Sassicaia, Tenuta San Guido
A warm, deep and penetrating nose with lovely notes of red currants, wet earth, tobacco and some note of sweet green bell peppars. A fine, almost aristocratic structure. On its way to maturity but this is still young. Very, very fine.
The taste is tight, warm with opulent, sweet fruit and notes of red and black currants, tobacco, earth, leather and some pencil shavings. The tannins have been polished with the finest sandpaper. A long, balanced finish that goes on for over a minute. This is a stunner! 87p - baah! 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc.
94p (tasted 2012/11)
1997 Guado al Tasso, Marchesi Antinori
I had forgot that one of the tasters promised to bring this one, so this flight suddenly got even better! Thanks M! A deep, sweet, open nose with notes of black currants, pomegranates, warm spices, autumn leaves and a touch of coconut. This feels almost fully mature with its sweet, seductive, open style.
The taste is more tight than the nose leads on but this is for drinking now and the coming 5+ years. It has a fine sweetness to the taste with notes of black currants, tobacco, autumn leaves and some stable notes. Lovely to drink now. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc and Syrah.
92p (tasted 2012/11)
1997 Mormoreto, Marchesi de´Frescobaldi
A round, mature, warm nose with notes of sweet black cherries, rasberries, pipe tobacco and a warm Tuscan gravel road. Has a fine sweetness but is a tad to warm for my liking.
The taste is better with a tighter fruit and drier structure. Notes of tobacco, gravel, autumn leaves and violets. The finish is long and dry. Very good with the food. I would say that this is fully mature. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc.
90p (tasted 2012/11)
1997 Colleczione de Marchi, Isole e Olena
Aaaaah, this is the real thing! A gorgeous, elegant yet powerful nose with notes of sweet red and black currants, licorice, dark chocolate, expensive leather and the same gorgeous note of sweet green bell peppar as in the Sassicaia. But this is even more elegant and poised. Just gorgeous!
The taste is like the proverbial "iron fist in a velvet glove". We are talking about sweet hedonistic fruit paired with a tight backbone of finegrained tannins and a finish that goes on for two minutes. What density! This has just reached its peak I think, but will probably keep on this level for 5-10 years. I would drink this nectar any day of the week. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
97p (tasted 2012/11)
1997 Ornellaia, Tenuta dell´Ornellaia
A very good wine, but since Ornellaia is one of my favourite Super Tuscans, this was a bit of a let down. The nose is open, warm and fine with notes of red currants, dried rasberries, warm grass, tobacco and dried mushrooms. Very fine, open for business and really good. But it lacks the depth and complexity of Sassicaia, Colleczione de Marchi and Cortaccio.
The taste is better than the nose with added structure and nice notes of red and black currants, blueberry bushes, dark chocolate and balsa wood. A long, cool, fine finish. Again, the taste is better but I can´t see this turning into something really, really great. It was ages since I tasted the 97 Ornellaia, so I can´t say if this is a representative bottle. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc.
91p (tasted 2012/11)
1997 Summus, Castello Banfi
A deep, sweet, mature nose with notes of black currants, chocolate covered cherries, tobacco, old leather and some balsamic vinegar notes. A lovely maturity on this one, not a hard edge in sigth, just very enjoyable.
The taste is big, verging on brawny, but with sweet, fine fruit and notes on black cherries, coffe powder, autumn leaves and old leather. Not that big in the complexity department but very upfront, perfectly mature and yummy. 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Sangiovese and 20% Syrah.
89p (tasted 2012/11)
1997 Château Mouton Rothschild
This was the dark horse in the second flight, and it surprised us all with its charm and drinkability. The nose is fine, cool and deep with lovely notes of blueberries, black currants, gravel, tobacco and some butter cookies. Deep and fine. Not really mature yet, there is some hard corners that time need to polish of.
The taste is dense and sweet with notes of black currants, blueberry bushes, gravel, dry tobacco and some stable notes. The finish is long and dry. The tannins are really noticeable in the finish. This needs another 3-5 years in the cellar. Reminds me of the 1987 Mouton, never a great wine but a really easy going, drinkable one. 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.
91p (tasted 2012/11)
1997 Cortaccio, Villa Cafaggio
This perennial favourite of mine performed, as ever, great on this evening. The nose soars from the glass with intense notes of black cherries, black currants leaves, warm gravel, tobacco, licorice and expensive leather. Very deep and full of extract. Really, really fine. Hedonisticly good!
The taste is a stunning combination of sweetness and firmness, with gorgeous notes of red and black currants, rasberries, licorice, chocolate covered cherries, new leather and cold coffe. The finish is counted in minutes and this beauty is still on the young side of things. This has been a show stopper since birth and will continue to turn heads for 10+ years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
96p (tasted 2012/11)
And so ends the first evening with 1997 Tuscan wines. And both the gold and silver medal, in my book, goes to the two 100% cabernet wines - interesting...
Saturday brought 19 more bottles, all Sangiovese based. Flight Three and Four to follow.