Lucky 13, that’s this installment of Tuscan Snips and it’s filled with exciting wines and new releases. Coming on the heels of Volume 12, today’s article is devoted 100% to Tuscan wines. Let’s get going!
One of Castellina in Chianti’s best producers is Gagliole. Yet, I always get the sense they run somewhat under the radar. I don’t know why that is, but it shouldn’t be the case. Across the board, the wines are excellent and they are widely available.
The 2019 Gagliole Chianti Classico Riserva is a special wine. It’s a brilliant, shimmering ruby in color that extends clear to the rim. High toned, floral, cherry and herbal notes are so attractive to smell. On the palate, this 100% Sangiovese is classy with vibrant sapidity, juicy red fruits, cigar tobacco and powdered clay notes. I love this and it shows the quality of the 2019 vintage. Drink now or cellar 3-5 years. 93 points. Find this wine.
Argiano was a stop on the 2022 Rustic Tuscany Tour. The grounds are immaculate, the cellars and aging caves a thing of beauty uprooted from the past and the wines amazing. We were tasted on the 2020 Solengo then. Recently, I tried the wine over the length of a meal and once again I’m very impressed.
We all know what a crazy and difficult year 2020 was. However, the one bright spot was that the vintage proved to be of fairly high quality. Recently the Campochiarenti Colli Senesi opened my eyes, and now comes one of Argiano’s flagship wines.
Created in 1995 by Giacomo Tachis, Solengo has undergone a lot of changes over the years. The 2020 Solengo is a deep violet color. An unspecified blend of Cabernet, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Sangiovese, it is unique. This wine is such a baby, having just been bottled in August. Still, it’s bold and expressive with black fruits, mint, hints of vanilla and green peppercorns on the nose and palate. Rich body, with elegance and wonderfully toasted oak accents. Plush and seductive. It’s one of the best Solengo I’ve ever tasted. I’ll also add that vis a vis other similar Super Tuscans, this one is quite the value. 97 points. Find this wine & Support Tuscan Vines.
I’ve been to some of the highest vineyards in Tuscany. But until the 2022 Rustic Tuscany Tour, I had never been to the highest. Now I have. Lamole di Lamole rests in the commune of Lamole, high atop the hills above Greve. And it is up there! We were in the vans traversing a strada brutta, dust trailing us like a cumulus cloud, the guests wondering if we would soon see the moon – or more realistically, snow. Each time we spied olive trees or vineyards, we thought we were there. But inevitably, another turn, another road and another climb. Finally, we hit the top of the mountain where the small hamlet of Lamole rests. Population, about 35.
Why is the winery called Lamole di Lamole? Upon its founding, they were the only winery in town. As a result, they were simply “Lamole”. This was the case for centuries until more wineries emerged. When those producers arrived, Lamole became “Lamole di Lamole” to differentiate themselves. Regardless, they were the first no the scene.
During the 2022 Rustic Tuscany Tour, we were in the vineyards with winemaker Andrea Daldin. He was speaking about the vineyards and told the group how the Romans even knew Lamole was a great place to grow wine grapes. Of course, he said, “everyone says that. But I can prove it.” He reached into his pocket and produced a bronze Roman coin in near mint condition that he found in the vineyards.
Lamole is so high, that the grapes take to ripening very slowly. Of all the places that we visited on the Rustic Tuscany Tour, every one was finished harvesting. Fermentation was done and the wines were moved out of steel for the most part. The day we were there, Lamole was just pressing!
The 2019 Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico “Maggiolo” is a medium ruby color with violet highlights. Floral notes, menthol and bright berry aromas fill the glass. On the palate, the cherry fruit is center stage with hints of mountain herb. Linear on the palate, like a laser of acidity wrapped in fruit. Maybe a bit more austere than I would like at first, but after 60 minutes or so, the fruit plumped up nicely. 85% Sangiovese with the balance to Cabernet and Merlot – but I have to be honest, it’s hard to tell right now. 89 points. Find this wine & Support Tuscan Vines.
I have to admit, I love Costanti and when I originally reviewed the next wine as part of my 2012 Brunello coverage, it was in a much better place. The 2012 Costanti Brunello is a gorgeous ruby color throughout. On the nose, there are huge “old wood” notes with balsamic undertones, hints of toasted spice and roasted nuts that compliment the dark cherry fruit. On the palate, this 11 year old Brunello is trending fast to secondary characteristics. Red and orange fruits are prominent with leather, cedar and mushroom notes. It’s advanced more than I would have expected. Given that I got both bottles at the same time, I’ll say the storage has been ideal. Who knows? 90 points.
Valeria Losi and her brother Riccardo are the driving forces behind the family’s wine estate. Valeria is captivating, charming and eager to welcome you to her property. As a result, Querciavalle is another repeat stop on the Rustic Tuscany Tour.
Named after a Monk who founded the local monastery in Pontignanello, the vineyards giving life to the next wine were once owned by the monastery. Now part of the Losi family holdings, they have chosen to use the historical name on the bottle.
The 2015 Losi Family San Brunone is a masterful blend of mainly Sangiovese and a small addition of Merlot. Deep ruby color in the glass, the aromas leap from the glass and scream Sangiovese. Black cherry fruit, tobacco and new leather are prominent. On the palate, this is full bodied and juicy. Fresh crushed cherry, plum, sandalwood, tobacco and leather are complex and persistent in waves across your palate. Long, fresh finish. This is one of the best discoveries I’ve made in years. 95 points. Available directly from the winery.
That will close this installment of Tuscan Snips. What do you think about this array of wines?