Wednesday 28 November 2012

Tasting 1997 Tuscany - The Third Flight

For the background to this tasting, look here.

On Saturday night we had 19 bottles of 1997 Tuscany to deal with. :-)
The third flight, the first one of this evening, was dedicated to Chianti. This was the most mature, in some cases overmature, of the flights. But there was very enjoyable bottles as well, especially the two that I had beforehand thought would shine.

All bottles decanted 30 minutes before the first pour. All tasted single blind.

1997 Chianti Classico Riserva O´Leandro, Cennatoio Intervineas
A deep, warm, mature nose with notes of cherry jam, licorice, muscovado sugar and some coffe aromas. Opulent, mature and ready for action. But not much depth.
The taste is fresher than the nose, still mature, but with a leaner cherry fruit and notes of licorice, violets, gravel and autumn leaves. Some dry tannins in the finish but all in all a passing wine. 95% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
83p   (tasted 2012/11)

1997 Chianti Classico Riserva Montegiachi, Cinughi de Pazzi
A fine, warm, mature nose with notes of dried black cherries, red currants, autumn leaves, coffe powder and a touch of coconut. A very fine maturity. This is holding its own.
The taste is tight, seedy and fine with notes of red cherries, almond paste, licorice, rosehips and balsa wood. A fine structure. A medium long, balanced finish. This has hit its peak and delivers a lot of enjoyment.
88p   (tasted 2012/11)

1997 Chianti Classico Riserva, Castello di Fonterutoli
Oh dear, Castello di Fonterutoli didn´t show itself from their best side in 1997, if these two bottles, this one and the Siepi (from the first flight) is any evidence. This also reminds me of an old Barolo, that on its own is not a bad feature, but we are talking about a 15 year old Tuscan wine here, not a 50 year old Barolo. The nose is full of old rosehips, wet undergrowth, muscovado sugar, old chocolate and a lot of warmth. Definitely old, but still, just, hanging in there.
The taste is dry, warm and mature with notes of dried cherries, frozen rasberries, licorice, sweet tobacco and old leather. Very soft and round in the finish, there is no grip here. Over the hill, but not far away... 90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.
70p   (tasted 2012/11)

1997 Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna di Fontalle, Machiavelli
A deep, finely tuned, mature nose with notes of red cherry jam, licorice, forest floor, gravel and a lovely rosehip sweetness. Deep and fine. This is fully mature and in charming time span. Very good.
The taste is tight, fresh and seedy with notes of red currants, dried cherries, tobacco, violet pastilles and forest floor. Dense and fine. The finish is medium long but ends with a sour/dry/sweet twist. This is drinking beautifully.
90p   (tasted 2012/11)

1997 Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio, Barone Ricasoli
A big, broad, sweet nose with lots of character and extract, with notes of red cherries, rasberries, vanilla powder, forest floor, milk chocolate and leather. Very deep. After some time in the glass there is a scent of a perfect autumn walk in a forest. Just lovely.
The taste is tight, intense, deep and with lots of sweet cherry fruit intermingled with notes of leather, dried rasberries, tobacco, autumn leaves and violets. Long, elegant and beautiful. The wine of the flight. Stunning! 100% Sangiovese.
93p   (tasted 2012/11)

1997 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia, Felsina
This perennial favourite of mine did show of this night, as it always do, even though the Castello di Brolio was marginally better this night. The nose is yummy and upfront with notes of chocolate covered cherries, licorice, violets, cold coffe and a lovely perfumed note. But under all that sweet fruit there is a firm structure. This has just reached perfect maturity.
The taste is lovingly firm with just the right amount of sweet fruit in the shape of black cherries and dried rasberries and some notes of almonds, gravel, licorice and autumn leaves. Very pure and fine. This should hold for 5+ years, at least. Same score as the Castello di Brolio, but when we voted for best wine in the flight, I voted for the Castello. 100% Sangiovese.
93p   (tasted 2012/11)

1997 Chianti Classico Riserva, Querciabella
A deep, warm, jammy nose with notes of cherry compote, dry tobacco, dried flowers and some rubbery notes. Fully mature but with a rather compressed structure, and it didn´t unfold with air.
The taste is very tight, seedy and a bit to dry. There is fruit there but doesn´t really match the dry tannins. The finish is medium long and very dry. With food it performed better but on it own this is hollow and dry. 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, 5% Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
68p   (tasted 2012/11)

1997 Chianti Classico Riserva, Villa Cafaggio
As with the Cortaccio, Villa Cafaggio has also produced a great Chianti. The nose soars from the glass with notes of sweet red and black cherries, dried flowers, chocolate, undergrowth and some leathery notes. Very, very fine. This is deep and still on the young side of things.
The taste is tight, focused and deep with notes cherry jam. licorice, autumn leaves, violets and balsa wood. The finish goes on for a minute and ends with a lovely dry twist. This could be cellared for 3-5 years more. Very, very fine. 100% Sangiovese.
90p   (tasted 2012/11)

And then it was time for the real Super Tuscans...flight four to follow.


  1. Guran i vinkällaren28 November 2012 at 18:08

    Of all the Riservas from 97 that I´ve drunk, the Castello di Brolio has performed near the top (more than 20 bot. tested - not so good in resent vintages) and not far behind Berardenga Rancia. Villa Cafaggio is for me more oldschool but always good - and need of 10 years+ in the cellar (from relese) and the 97 is a classic (9 bot. tested a few still in the cellar). Fonterutoli, hmm. I agree - I will skip all Chianti´s made in that style in the future. By the way - nice Tuscany tasting - have drunk most of the bottles - interesting to follow.

    1. Thanks! The Rancia is almost at the top in every vintage, but I guess it is a question of what style you prefer.
      But the best flight, and the best wines, is to follow...:-)