Thursday 29 May 2014

Barone Ricasoli - Beyond Zoning

I was invited to this interesting tasting by Wineworld.  Barone Ricasoli have been conducting a three years study at Castello di Brolio together with a group of researchers from various institutes. Baron Francesco Ricasoli was in Stockholm and he presented the wines below with enthusiasm and charm.
Read more here.

First we got to taste four different Sangiovese wines from the 2013 vintage. All have been aged in older barriques.
All four got the typical Sangiovese characteristics - so I won´t jot down them below - but showed very different characters and structures. I will try to describe the difference between them, which derives directly from the soil. The information of the soil types are from the material we got from the estate.

2013 Zona Macigno del Chianti, Arenarie
Very stony soil, silty-clayely texture (15% clay), low calcium carbonate, rich in potassium-bearing minerals. Well drained and moderate amount of available water (130-150 mm/m).
This wine is the lightest in colour and the lightest on the nose, although it showes a nice concentration and has some smoky notes on the nose that the others don´t have. The taste is elegant and with a fine salty note. The most withdrawn of the four.
88p   (tasted 2014/05)

2013 Zona Montemorello, Alberese
Very stony soil, loamy-clayely texture (30-33% clay), quite calcareous with a high active calcite content (80-120 g/Kg). Well drained with a moderate amount of available water (130-150 mm/m).
This one is a bit darker in colour than the previous one and has a beautiful floral note that the others don´t have. Very elegant. The taste is very red fruity and with the same floral note. Long and intense.
91p   (tasted 2014/05)

This will make a great read!
2013 Zona Depositi Marini
Gentle slopes, rather reddish,, loamy texture (25% clay), moderately calcareus, moderate gravel. Slow draining, moderate available water (130-150 mm/m).
A deeper, heavier nose with a definitely salty note - from the sea deposit soil? The mouth feel was that of a heavy wine with sweet tannins and a cherry bitterness in the end. The one I like the least, although it is a good wine.
87p   (tasted 2014/05)

2013 Zona Antiche Terrazze Fluviali
Slope quite steep, fine loamy texture (40% silt, 30% clay), moderately calcareous. Well drained, moderately available water (110-130 mm/m).
This is the most aristocratic of the four wines, a thoroughbred from start to finish. Very young of course but this would make a beautiful single vineyard wine in my view. According to Francesco Ricasoli the thought of making a single vineyard wine have been on the drawing table but for now these different soils goes into making a even better Castello di Brolio.
93p   (tasted 2014/05)

This was a really interesting tasting and it would have been fun toying with the glasses and trying to make my own perfect blend, but alas, the food was on its way in we got four new wines to taste, so the glasses had to be emptied.

2010 Brolio Riserva
The debut vintage of this Riserva offers up a big, warm, fruity nose with notes of cherry compote, dried flowers, dark chocolate and some vanilla pod aromas. A little in-your-face character but I really enjoy that in this wine.
The taste is young, tight and more finely tuned than the nose, with notes of ripe black cherries, violets, gravel and dark chocolate. A long, balanced finish with noticeable tannins. Give this baby 3-5 years. Very, very good.
90p   (tasted 2014/05)

2010 Casalferro
A upfront, warm, fine nose with notes of Christmas spices, black cherries, violet pastilles and sweet fennel. Very good. It has a very fine warmth to the fruit. Deep.
The taste is young, taut and warm with notes of black cherries, corinthians, orange peel and dark chocolate. There are some steady tannins in the long finish. Give this 4-6 years to mellow. !00 % Merlot since 2007.
91p   (tasted 2014/05)

2010 Colledilá
The first vintage of this "super" Sangiovese was 2007. The 2010 version shows a deep, concentrated, tight nose with notes of red and black cherries, rosemary, violets, dark chocolate and a Tuscan dirt road. Has a low keyed intensity. Very fine.
The taste is young and powerful with notes of black cherry compote, pickled cherries, dried flowers, tobacco and gravel. Aristocratic. Very, very good. This will surely be something else in 6-8 years time.
93p   (tasted 2014/05)

2010 Castello di Brolio
This wine is a long time favourite of mine, see a note on the 1997 here, and this vintage joined the ranks of great Castello di Brolio's. The nose is deep, refined and utterly gorgeous with notes of cool red cherry fruit, licorice, dried flowers, Zegna leather, violet pastilles and gravel. Light on its feet, yet packing some real power. Great!
The taste is young, intense, pure and elegant with beautiful cherry fruit and notes of rosemary, salted licorice, rosemary, violets and minerals. The finiish goes of for over a minute and ends with a bite from those finely grained tannins. For real pleasure, wait at least 6 years, but this baby is irresistible even today. For 36 Euro you get a world class wine - I will surely get some.
95p   (tasted 2014/05)

We then got the opportunity to try out the new vintages of some of the rest of Barone Ricasoli's portfolio.
2013 Chianti del Barone Ricasoli
A light, cool, fresh nose with notes of red cherries, licorice, sandelwood and some gravel. Nice and easy going.
The taste is light, pure and nice with good lingonberry and cherry fruit alongside some notes of licorice, gravel and tobacco ashes. Good.
83p   (tasted 2014/05)

2012 Terra del Brolio
The Terra del Brolio is made out of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, and is a stunner for the 11 Euro it costs. The nose is medium deep, warm and spicy with notes of black currants, black cherries, tobacco, gravel and a fine flowery aroma. Really good.
The taste is young, warm and taut with notes of red and black currants, tobacco, gravel and some chocolate. A fine mouth feel. A medium long, warm finish. Very, very good.
89p   (tasted 2014/05)

2012 Brolio Chianti Classico
The regular Chianti Classico displays a light, elegant nose with notes of cherry pips, licorice, tobacco, iron and violets. Very nice.
The taste is young and fresh with cool cherry fruit and notes of licorice, gravel and chocolate. A fine drinkability. Very good.
85p   (tasted 2014/05)

2011 Rocca Guicciarda Riserva
This usually is a good value Riserva and the 2011 is no exception. The nose is young and sprightly with notes of red cherries, salt licorice, veal stock, gravel and lavender soap. Cool and fine.
The taste is young, taut and rather elegant with notes of red cherries, sandelwood, rosemary and gravel. A cool character. Very good.
87p   (tasted 2014/05)

2006 Castello di Brolio Vin Santo
A big, deep, sweet nose with notes of saffron cake, salted almonds, rhubarb, dried fruits and some smoke. Very good. A hint of detergent (in a positive way). Deep and fine.
The taste is big, warm and concentrated with notes of dried apricots, blood orange juice, saffron and smoke. The finish goes on for over a minute. Very, very good.
90p   (tasted 2014/05)

We also tasted the 2012 Torricella - I really liked the quick taste of this Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc blend and will get back to it later - and 2013 Albia Rosé which striked me a young, light, fresh rosé that would work well as an aperitif.

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