Monday, October 31, 2011

Wines of the Week - October 6th

There was a long list of things to like about being back in Italy in summer, but one pleasure I don't want to understate is the mark-up, or lack thereof, on wines in restaurants, especially for mature wines. In Australia and the USA, too often aged, premium wines tend to experience exponential mark-up, meaning that they are priced well beyond typical drinking for most of us. Not so in Italy, and all of these wines were enjoyed for around $100, or better.

Le Macchiole Paleo 1997

This Bolgheri Cabernet was awarded three glasses back in the 2001 edition of Gambero Rosso, and as its youthful attractiveness and potential has turned into mature realisation, its a very classy package. The nose still offers red fruit and black cherry, while the palate is a beautiful evolved mouthfull with some spicy characters joining the cherry, before finishing long and smooth with well integrated tannins.     

Tenuta Fontodi Flaccianello 2007

One of my favourite wines a decade ago, a series of triumphant vintages and high ratings pushed this wine into special occasion status. Considerably more affordable on its home turf, I took the opportunity to try this in Siena, suspecting that it may still be too young, but determined to see if it was worth the high prices and scores in the US. I wasn't disappointed, although its best days are undoubtedly ahead of it. This is a 100% Sangiovese Super-Tuscan, given at least 18 months of new French oak. Red and black fruit dominate, along with the oak, at this stage, but there are elements of coffee and chocolate already showing and fantastic mouthfeel and balance. Hope I get a chance to drink it again in three years time.

Rocca delle Macie Roccato 1999  

I mentioned this winery a couple of weeks ago when I talked about some of my favourite whites of the trip, and this was another excellent, very affordable wine - in this case awarded three glasses by Gambero Rosso back in their 2003 edition. It can be bought from the cellar door, almost as though it was the current release...wish that happened more often. This wine was a lovely mature blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet, drinking at its peak now. Made in a fairly international style, but still offering some clues as to the place of origin.  

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