Tuscan Snips

~ Montepulciano is home to a special wine in this version of Tuscan Snips  ~

Tuscan Snips is back for its 15th installment.  That in itself, is hard to believe.  “Snips” was an idea from one of my Twitter followers who suggested brief reviews of wineries or wines I’ve covered in detail previously.

It was a good idea then and I’ve continued the series.  This one, is a bit different.  Normally, Tuscan Snips contains a few non-Tuscan wines, but in this installment, we are 100% Tuscany. The interesting aspect in this article, is that we’re spanning most of Tuscany and touching on three different vintages. Andiamo!

~ Il Poggione History ~

I’ve long covered the excellent wines of Tenuta Il Poggione.  The last few articles were a Rosso 2019 and my recent Interview with Alessandro Bindocci.   The team here is incredibly talented and firing on all cylinders.  The latest Rosso release is no exception.

The 2022 Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino is a deep ruby in the glass.  What impresses right off that bat is the freshness and persistence of the aromatics.  Crushed berry, loads of floral notes and hints of soft spices are wonderful.  On the palate, it’s all you could ask for in Rosso.  Lots of fresh, juicy red cherry fruit turns sapid with fresh herb, iron and hints of toasted spice.  It’s beautiful and still a fairly priced wine.  93 points.   Find this wine.

Tuscan Snips

~ 2022 is another noteworthy vintage for Rosso di Montalcino ~

Villa Cerna and Villa Rosa have been on the Tuscan landscape for decades, yet few people regularly talk about these wines.  Even less realize they are jewels on the Famiglia Cecchi crown and prominent producers in Castellina.   Each estate is individually managed, farmed and distinctive.

The 2019 Villa Cerna Primocolle Chianti Classico is the latest release.   As fate would have it,  I’ve actually enjoyed this wine three times over the past few months.  Each time, it has impressed consistently.   A medium ruby in the glass, this almost all Sangiovese Chianti leans more to the savory side of the spectrum.  Morello cherry, tobacco leaf and dried herbs mark the nose.  On the palate, the wine is sapid and fresh.  Juicy cherry flavors are punctuated by minerality and dried herbs. Classically styled.  This is a work-horse Sangiovese (with dollops of Colorino & Canaiolo) and is the perfect foil for a large array of dished.  89 points.  Find this wine.

~ Primocolle is so named because the hill of Villa Cerna is the first landmark you see arriving in Castellina from the direction of Siena ~

A new entrant…..

So there we were; a group of us wandering Montepulciano after hours during the Rustic Tuscany Tour.  We had enjoyed a colossal lunch that day and as a result, none of us were very hungry. Some chose to stay in, but a few brave souls ventured out into the night.

Naturally, we waited until it began raining.  And rain it did.  Actually, it was more of a deluge. And as we ran down what may just have been the steepest street in Montepulciano, we came across a restaurant that wasn’t full.  My partner said, I know this place – all they serve is Sting’s wines, screw that.  But we went in anyway.  I was first in and last out after they told us we had to order food, not only drinks.  My partner was relieved, and so we dashed back into the downpour.  The street had now become a river so at this point, I think I heard Liam shout “any port in a storm!”…..  Luckily, it wasn’t long before we came across an excellent, albeit small, wine bar.  After draining a bottle of Montemercurio,  Liam wanted to introduce the group to Icario.  I am glad he did.

Tuscan Snips

~ A beautiful view from the terrace of the Icario Cellars ~

Icario farms 22 hectares of vineyards in Montepulciano that are arrayed in an amphitheater around the winery.  Although the winery is not certified organic,  holistic and organic practices are followed. The vineyards lie around 450 meters above sea level.  Icario’s Vino Nobile is 95% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet and spends 24 months in a combination of barrique and tonneaux.

The 2017 Icario Vino Nobile Vitaroccia Riserva is utterly amazing.  Deep ruby in the glass with garnet highlights, this defies the heaviness of the vintage and is fresh, juicy and lively.  On the nose, it is replete with dark, crushed cherry accented with toasted spices, sweet pipe tobacco and whiffs of fennel.  On the palate, the heaviness of the vintage that dots so many 2017s is absent here.  Wonderful fresh flavors of black fruits, pipe tobacco, baking spices and trace minerals are delicious.  We ordered some cicchetti from the bar and the wine sang even more.   Quite the revelation and I’m happy to say,  you can source directly from the winery.  They’re running a deal right now that includes free shipping.  94 points.

Tuscan Snips

~ This is among the top Vino Nobile I have ever enjoyed ~

Finally, an icon.  Whenever I come across Caparzo La Casa Brunello, I buy.  It’s that simple.  I buy without worry and you should too.

Caparzo has its etymology in the Latin phrase Caput Arsum, meaning Land Touched by the Sun.  Indeed, when Caparzo was established there were only 13 producers of Brunello.  They’ve been toiling in the verdant hills of Montalcino since the 1960s and when I caught up with proprietor Elisabetta Angelini at a tasting not long ago, I asked her to tell me why.  I thought I’d share her answer with you.

“Sometimes certain places attract your attention before you know why. This was true for Caparzo. Since I was a child I have dreamed of living in a place like this, immersed in the green,  far from the chaos of big cities, where time seems to have stopped.”

When I last tasted La Casa, it was indeed a dream.  Nothing has changed.   This single vineyard wine from a venerable estate is consistently excellent.  It far surpasses the green label Brunello by leaps and bounds and is one of the best wines from Montalcino when produced.

The 2016 Caparzo Brunello Vigna La Casa is a a deep garnet red in the glass.  The aromas have become more expressive than the last time I tried this wine.  Fresh cut flowers, tobacco leaf, baked spices and savory black cherry are potent.  In the mouth, the wine dances.  It’s nimble from place to  place and packs juicy wild berry flavors marked by sweet fennel, cured meat and Christmas Cake spices.  I just adore this and frankly, it’s well priced in comparison to its peers.  I stand by my previous rating.  97 points.  Find this wine at Enoteca di Piazza once released. Otherwise, Find this wine.

Tuscan Snips

~ The Vigna La Casa is always a great Brunello and this one is still singing ~

Here is an overhead shot of the La Casa…….

Tuscan Snips

~ A Ruby gem ~

Cheers – thanks for reading and stayed tuned for more new content coming shortly!

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