Wednesday 11 May 2016

The Changing Face Of Casalferro - 1983-2013

This Supertuscan (I still love that name!) was concived in 1993 and then it was made out of 100% Sangiovese. Fast forward to the latest release - 2013 - and now it is 100% Merlot.

Well, it has been a slippery slope. As early as in 1997 some Merlot was added, according to the Baron himself it was about 5%. During the late 90´s and the early 2000´s it contained more Merlot, ca 20%, but in 2007 a complete shift was done and since then the Casalferro has been a 100% Merlot wine.

I was lucky to get invited by Wineworld, and got a chance to meet the ever so charming Baron Ricasoli. Here are the notes from one of the Swedish juror...

1993 Casalferro
From magnum. The four first vintages was presented in magnums, as it should be! The Baron himself seemed to think that the 93 had gone a bit to far. But not yours truly! The nose is big and a bit brawny with notes of dried plums, Christmas spices, old chocolate biscuits and leather. Given this blind I would have placed it in St Emilion or Pomerol. Very, very good. Actually caught some momentum with air. Fully mature, yes, but not in the least over the hill.
The taste is warm and friendly with everything blended together in a yummy mix. The finish is medium long, harmonious and uder friendly. Maybe a tad dry in the finish to be drinking on its own, but with the food it performed great. I wouldn´t mind having a stash of these magnums...
89p   (tasted 2016/05)

1997 Casalferro
From magnum. The 97 shows the treat of the vintage - broad, warm and forward. The nose is full of ripe black fruit, scorched earth, hot gravel and some chocolate. Broadshouldered, and maybe a tad so. It doesn´t have the charm of the 93, even though it got more muscles.
The taste is full bodied, warm and mature with ripe black cherries, sweet violets, chocolate mousse and dusty earth. The finish is long, warm and a tad clumsy. Very good but I prefer the 93.
88p   (tasted 2016/05)

2003 Casalferro
From magnum. From another hot vintage, this 13 year old wine displays a nose that is deep, warm and concentrated with notes of ripe plums, sugared coffee, tobacco and scorched earth. Very good but on the burly side of things.
The taste is big, warm and creamy with lots of ripe black cherries and notes of tapenade, sweet tobacco and hot, moist earth. The finish is long and sturdy with a warm ending. This is good in its warm appearance but still is the weakest link in this line up.
85p   (tasted 2016/05)

2005 Casalferro
From magnum. The second to last vintage with Sangiovese as the dominant part. And this is good! The nose is still young, focused and on fire with lovely notes of sweet red and black cherries, liquorice, rosemary and a lingering scent of expensive tobacco. Young but harmonious. This is goood.
The taste is young, seedy and nicely put together with notes of ripe cherries, hard cherry candy, raspberry liquorice and warm gravel. The finish is long, intense and with a nice dry finish. One just want to take another sip, and wait....I will!
91p   (tasted 2016/05)

2007 Casalferro
The first 100% Merlot vintage. It is a great debut. The nose is ripe, outgoing and focused with notes of ripe plums, dark chocolate, Christmas spices and a moist forest floor. Rich and rewarding. This is fine. A very, very good fruit.
The taste is large and luscious with fine notes of plume, rosehips, crushed rocks and black tea. The finish goes on for over a minute and shows a fine retrained warmth. This will need 4-6 years in the cellar and will be even better after that.
91p   (tasted 2016/05)

2010 Casalferro
Aaaaah! The 10 Casalferro is a head and shoulder above the rest. With its stunning nose, full of ripe black cherries, plum compotte, bay leaves and a touch of mint, it really delivers the goods. Very deep and utterly refined. Young of course, but oooh so fine.
The taste is young, tight and intense with notes of ripe cherries, tobacco, graphite and the finest herbs in the garden. The finish is long, long and complex. This is very, very fine. Let this rest in the cellar for 3-5 years and you will be richly rewarded. This I´m buying!
94p   (tasted 2016/05)

2013 Casalferro
The 20th anniversary vintage of Casalferro is no slouch, but it is till very primary and in fact, a touch difiicult to evaluate. The nose is big and almost fiery with notes of ripe blueberries, warm flowers, new leather and earth. A bit all over the place. But there is a good concentration here. Just wait.
The taste is tight and intense with notes of ripe plums, violets, matchbox and warm tiles. Very, very long. A fine warmth in the finish. Very, very good. The mouth feel is better than the nose today. Wait at least 4-6 years. This should turn out great.
90p   (tasted 2016/05)

My earlier Barone Ricasoli encounters:
Barone Ricasoli In The House
Barone Ricasoli - Beyond Zoning

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