Tuscan Snips has quickly become one of my most popular series of articles. What are they? Well, exactly what they sound like. Snips, snippets in time – usually of a wine I’ve reviewed before or an estate which I have covered extensively. One of my regular Twitter followers, Javier Serrat, is to be credited with the suggestion and I thank him! Tuscan Snips Volume 6 published a few months ago. Let’s get started with this installment.
At this point, there are few platitudes remaining in my arsenal to bestow upon the wines of Campochiarenti. When you have excellent terroir and a determined, passionate winemaker, things find a way of succeeding. Daniele Rosti is on a major roll. From his 2014 Vernaccia release, to his recent Library Wines, the estate is firing on all cylinders. There are plenty of data points on my site. So now that expectations are high, is Rosti resting on laurels? No, he’s clearing the hurdle!
The 2019 Campochiarenti Vernaccia di San Gimignano is the best Vernaccia from the property that I have tasted. Medium golden color in the glass, the wine bursts with perfumed aromas of white peaches, citrus, pineapple and gardenia. On the palate, the first thing you notice is the body of the wine. This is viscous without being heavy. It retains remarkable freshness and balance throughout. The primary fruit flavors of peach, lemon and tropical fruit are backed by crisp acidity and dusty trace minerals. It has it all and seems poised to age gracefully. A decade removed from the wonderful 2009, I can’t wait to watch this wine evolve. Bravo! 95 points. Find this wine.
Recently I’ve also tasted two intriguing whites that are perfect for lighter Summer fare or patio sipping. The first was recently mentioned, though not reviewed, in my last Newsletter. The latter, will be featured in a column I’m writing for Wine365.com Check them both out!
Tenuta Vallocaia first appeared on my radar during my Vino Nobile coverage. I also spotlighted their new Rosato in the last Tuscan Snips. Today I’m bringing you their latest release from 2019, the Gemella Sauvignon Blanc.
Almost clear in the glass, the wine strikes a beautiful bouquet of lemon grass, hay, citrus and guava notes. On the palate, the shaley, dusty minerals run like a laser through the lemon and pineapple flavors. This is bright, fresh and distinctive. Really lovely and yet another vestige of the excellence that is the 2019 vintage. 92 points. Available in the EU and directly from the winery.
Following up on Gemella, we will take a trip down south with a wonderful white from Campania. Villa Matilde lies between Rome and Naples along the Campanian coastline. Founded in the 1960s by Francesco Avallone, the winery is now primarily run by his son Salvatore and daughter Maria. The property consists of 3 distinct estate vineyards totaling approximately 300 acres of vines. The vineyards benefit from two dramatic aspects of terroir.
The 2018 Villa Matilde Falerno del Massico is 100% stainless steel produced and aged Falanghina. The 2018 is a deep straw color in the glass and upon opening is immediately expressive with aromas of white peaches, pineapple, citrus and lemon grass notes. Bright and crisp on the palate, the stone fruit, minerality and tropical notes echo the nose. Stays fresh through the finish where the zesty lemon peel notes round out this 100% Falanghina. Paired perfectly with Seafood Risotto. 90 points. Find this wine.
Departing from the whites, although I have discussed the next wine at length on my social media platforms, I have not put pen to paper on a full review here. With the exceptional 2016 still lurking in the back of my mind, I was very curious to see how its successor would compare. 2017 was a hotter vintage but any fears I had that this would negatively impact the wine were unfounded.
The 2017 Campochiarenti San Nicola Chianti Colli Senesi is predominantly Sangiovese with small portions of Colorino and Canaiolo rounding out the blend. Deep garnet with ruby highlights, the wine takes some time to unfold in the decanter which at the moment, is necessary. Dark berry notes mixing with violets, dark cocoa and spices on the nose are very attractive. On the palate, the cocoa notes lead to dark leaf tobacco and the black cherry flavors are ripe and concentrated. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a bit of heat from the vintage that you can sense. However, that is the smallest of nits to pick. An exceptional value and another case purchase recommendation. 92 points. Available directly from the winery. As an aside, 70% of this wine comprises the blend in the first release of Passione Divina.
In Tuscan Snips Volume 2, I discussed the 2016 version of the next wine. Not unlike Campochiarenti, Piaggia is a small family run estate and is on a major roll. Although their Carmignano Riserva routinely receives Tre Bicchieri recognition, their Cabernet Franc flies under the radar.
The 2011 Piaggia Poggio de’Colli is dark, opaque purple. The nose is exotically floral and intense with lavender, lilac and lily notes that are harmonious. On the palate, the crushed black plum and black berry fruit are pure and utterly amazing. The finesse is exceptional and the appeal of this wine is in the texture as much as the flavors. Honestly, it’s liquid velvet. Hints of licorice and roasted coffee notes round out the package. This is the 3rd time I’ve had this exceptional elixir and sadly, my last bottle. Buy the current vintages if you see them. 96 points. Find this wine.
Rounding out this installment of Tuscan Snips is a wine that’s become stand by favorite. I originally reviewed this wine in October of 2019 which was right after release. It impressed then, but I think it’s showing even better now.
The Poggio Valente vineyard was planted in 1970 and the 14 hectares of Sangiovese provide grapes that produce full bodied, luscious wines that rival the best Sangiovese from anywhere in Italy. Originally a Morellino di Scansano, that designation was dropped beginning with the wonderful 2013 vintage. Poggio Valente has always been a wonderful, age worthy Sangiovese, but the older this vineyard gets, the more compelling the wine seems to get.
The 2016 Fattoria Le Pupille Poggio Valente is 100% Sangiovese. Deep ruby in the glass, the aromas from the wine are effusive straight from the bottle. Tuscan herb, wild flowers, crushed cherry and cigar tobacco are wonderful to smell. On the palate, the wine is full bodied, with chalky tannins that have mellowed somewhat. In the mouth, the notes of black cherry, sweet pipe tobacco and spices are wonderfully fresh. This standouts as a bargain given the approximate $34 retail price. 94 points. Find this wine.
That concludes this installment of Tuscan Snips. Stay tuned for more new coverage coming shortly! Salute!