Tuscan Snips

~ The Campanile in Montepulciano was the backdrop for Tuscan Snips ~

Tuscan Snips is back!

Miraculously, it’s been almost a year since the last installment of Tuscan Snips was published.  That is probably both ill advised and hard to imagine.  So in the wake of what I’m terming my “damp January”, I’ve accumulated a few wonderful wines to tell you about.

Damp January for me is highly restrictive.  It’s not a total abstinence – but rather an experiment of sorts to see what the greatly reduced consumption of alcohol may impart.   Therefore, as a result, when I *do* go the Cellar you can bet I’m coming back with top shelf.  Let’s get it!

Indeed, the first wine I’m going to tell you about is very special to me.   See, I love the wines from Baricci; a small, and I mean really small (read this), property perched on the northern side of the Montosoli hill.

2016 Baricci Brunello Riserva “Nello” :  The name of the wine is an omaggio to the current winemakers Grandfather, who founded the estate.   In the glass, this is a dark ruby color with a wonderful fade to copper at the rim.  It’s textbook Baricci.   Even though I decanted the bottle for 40 minutes or so, it didn’t need it.   Massive cherry, fennel, flower and dust aromas are easy to discern.  In the mouth, this is fresh and incredibly nimble.  Lively, juicy and mouthwatering with sapid flavors of cherry, anise, tobacco and tertiary tactile nuance of pulverized stones.  The tannins are so well integrated that you have no regret of opening this now.  A wow wine worthy of the name.  98 points.  Not imported.

Tuscan Snips

~ I wanted greatness, I got it ~

Coevo is a contemporary classic; a singular interpretation of each modern Tuscan vintage that harnesses the character of the Vendemmia across Tuscany.  Each year it is unique.  I’ve delved deeply into Coevo’s story before and in my latest piece, hazarded a guess about 2015.  A prediction that has come to fruition.

The 2015 Cecchi Coevo is a masterpiece.  Dark purple in the glass, I was planning to decant it.  Many previous vintages of Coevo have been tight on opening.  Not this one.  Black cherry, porcini, lavender, mint and leather stream from the glass and the juicy, viscous, fresh flavors follow the nose.  From start to finish this was strutting like a proud peacock. I was surprised at how easily expressive it was.  Don’t be fooled, the structure is there.  But like many other 2015s I’ve tasted recently,  this is delicious now.  This vintage is in an amazing drinking window which will last another decade.   95 points.  Find this wine.

Tuscan Snips

~ Coevo is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot and marries Maremma with Castellina ~

My readers have seen me sing the praises of Vermentino many a time.  And today,  I’m bringing you a new one that is a great value.   For reasons passing understanding,  the Pala winery remains under the radar.  This is good for you. But it’s head scratching as they are arguably the best winery on Sardinia.

I’ve written about their flagship Vermentino, Stellato, before.  It’s a fresh, delicious, herculean effort. But it’s $28.  Along that same vein, Pala has just introduced a new line of Vermentino and Cannonau. More reviews are coming but for now; Soprasole.

The 2022 Pala Soprasole is 100% Vermentino from a vineyard that is 35 years of age.  Fully produced in stainless steel, the wine transports to Sardinia through a myriad of flavors. Where its the pineapple and lemon of the tropics, the grapefruit and schist from the coastline, the salinity or the stars in the sky, Soprasole is unique.  The complexity of the flavors, aromas and textures belie its price point.  91 points.  About $16.  Find this wine.

Tuscan Snips

~ Soprasole (“Above the Sun”) is 100% Vermentino ~

With the addition of the Commune name to labels, Gran Selezione is still all the rage in Chianti Classico. The problem I have with many of them, is often the price.  They’re not cheap to begin with, but when they begin eclipsing the prices of Brunello, it’s a non-starter for me.  That’s what makes this next wine attractive.

The 2019 Castello di Bossi Gran Selezione is 100% Sangiovoese from Castelnuovo Berardenga.  Deep garnet in the glass with effusive aromas of wild cherry, blue flowers, toasted spices and notes of truffle that linger.  On the palate, the wine is medium to full bodied and as it opens, it adds viscosity.  Flavors follow the nose with moderate tannins.  This drinks well now with air but can clearly cellar 5-7 years with no risk. Castello di Bossi is an excellent, reliable producer across the spectrum.  93 points. Find this wine & Support Tuscan Vines.

Tuscan Snips

~ A Gran Selezione worthy of your attention ~

Finally, a masterpiece of epic proportions.  A wine whose greatness is expected.  Greatness on all levels – pureness of fruit, texture, length, and complexity.  A wine from a vintage of unrivaled excellence must be excellent.  This wine was much, much better.

The 2019 Antinori Solaia is a masterpiece.  There is simply no other way to say it.  Wines this young aren’t supposed to be supple, caressing and graceful.  They’re not supposed to be packed with juicy, fresh fruit and showing all sorts of complexity on both the nose and palate.  It needs a decade to come around, right?  Wrong!

A blackish purple color in the glass, the wine needs no more than 30 minutes of air to become compelling. I double decanted the wine for about that much time.  The concentration of color is off the charts. It stains the glass. It stains your teeth and tongue.   Notable aromas of black plum, black cherry, mint, cocoa powder, blue flowers, lavender and toasted spices are remarkably pure.

In the mouth, the fruit glides in waves across your palate.  Round, ripe, lustrous waves of velvety fruit – with only powdery, elegant tannins.  Juicy, fresh and long, one can only imagine the complexity which may arrive with years of careful cellaring.  But Christmas Cake notes, toasted spices, black licorice and ground espresso present now among those powdered tannins.

Upon first swallow, I looked toward the heavens and let out an audible sigh.  Was I relieved at how good it was given the cost?  Yes! Damn straight.  But I was also amazed and with the vast amount of Solaia I have been fortunate enough to taste, that in itself is amazing.  This is a no doubter. An absolute epic Solaia.  100 points.  Find this wine.

Tuscan Snips

~ Another 100 point gem ~

What a way to bring down the curtain on this installment of Tuscan Snips.  Stay tuned for additional coverage on Brunello 2018, more data points on new Pala releases and a feature on Talosa.


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