Tuscan Snips

~ The famous landmark Abbey near Sant’Antimo ~

It’s hard to believe this is the ninth installment of Tuscan Snips!

What began almost one year ago with the publication of the original Tuscan Snips has grown into one of the more popular, ongoing series on my website.  I would like to personally thank one of my Twitter followers, Javier, who suggested this format.  He, among others, inspired. And given the season, a warm grazie is appropriate.

Most previous versions of Tuscan Snips included wines from many other regions in Italy.  This installment stays true to Tuscany.  It includes some updated reviews, some pre-releases and some newcomers.

Tuscan Snips Volume 9

There are many data points on this website for Famiglia Cecchi’s ground breaking Super Tuscan, Coevo.  However, there has never been a review of the finished, bottled 2015.  I first tasted a barrel sample of the vintage with Andrea Cecchi at The Beef Workshop.  It presented itself as a taught youngster then and little has changed in 2 years.   Realizing the scale of this wine, Cecchi has officially released it just last month. It’s been softening in the bottle for almost 3 years.

The 2015 Cecchi Coevo is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet and 10% Petit Verdot.   As usual, the Sangiovese and Merlot are sourced from Castellina while the Petit Verdot and Cabernet come Cecchi’s Val delle Rose property in Maremma.  Coevo is vinified in stainless steel and then aged for 18 months in barrique and tonneaux.

The wine was decanted for almost 2 hours.  Rip notes of black fruits, fresh fennel, blue flowers and toasted spices are nicely dileneated.  On the palate, the wine is sapid, juicy and wildly fresh with ripe, concentrated flavors of black plums, leather, vanilla and toasted tobacco.  It is large framed and tannic and even with the 2+ hours in the decanter, it showed its best with food. It needs a decade.  95 points. Find this wine.

Tuscan Snips

~ The 2015 was better with food and still very tight without. Give it a long decant or cellar for a decade or more. ~

~ The Tenuta Perano Cellars are meticulously cared for. The Frescobaldi team has made a significant investment in this property ~

The Tenuta Perano estate lies in Gaiole in Chianti just north of Siena and is owned by the Frescobaldi family.  The vineyards on the property form a natural amphitheater and are oriented to the South West.  Sitting at 500 meters above sea level, the stony vineyards benefit from ideal diurnal temperatures.  The Chianti Classico is predominantly Sangiovese with minor percentages of accompanying varietals.

The 2017 Tenuta Perano Chianti Classico is a deep violet color.  Coaxing aromas from the glass is effortless. Crushed cherry, bright floral notes, toasted spices and fresh fennel bulb are fairly complex.  On the palate, the freshness is the key. Mouthwatering flavors of wild berry, toasted tobacco and cured meat are lively and fresh. The warmth of the 17 vintage seems managed very well. Some almond and coffee notes appear on the finish.  Vinified in stainless steel and then barrique aged for a total of 24 months.  91 points. Find this wine.

Tuscan Snips Chianti

~ The Tenuta Perano is a very pretty Chianti Classico in 2017 ~

Artist turned winemaker Sandro Chia has always taken things to the limit. Emboldened by the phrase, anything worth doing is worth overdoing, his passion for art and wine have merged successfully. I have always enjoyed his wines; they are full of energy and even rambunctiousness.

Tuscan Snips Romitorio

~ Castello di Romitorio ~

I haven’t checked in on the Romitorio Brunello since the 2012 vintage and I can’t help thinking that I’m poorer for it.  Each time I try one of Sandro’s wines I am carried away.  Look at the textbook color of the wine below.  Deep ruby with violet highlights and an ever so slight copper rim at the edge of the bowl. The aromas are so classy.  Flowers, flowers and more flowers are joined by grilled meat, crushed cherry and sweet pipe tobacco. Flavors follow the nose in this masculine Brunello.  The texture is where it’s at. Rather tannic but oh so silky and powdery. Long and lustrous with ripe berry fruit tinged with licorice on the finish. Just love this.  96 points.  Find this wine.

Tuscan Snips Brunello

~ The 2015 Romitorio was tamed by these NY strips – but hold this one another 5 years. ~

The 1990 Cabreo il Borgo was one of the few 1990 wines I was able to find on the market when I first realized that wine was special.  Most of the rest were long gone.  It was such great QPR back then and I think I was thrilled to have a cache of 2 or 3 bottles. Maybe, maybe I paid $22 for it.

Tenute del Cabreo is one of the Folonari estates.  The estate is owns vineyards in Greve and Panzano but it’s the Sangiovese and Cabernet grown in Greve (45 hectares)  that provide the fruit for Cabreo Il Borgo.  As discussed in my tasting of Il Pareto with Giovanni Folonari, I have several vintages of this wine to taste.  Future vintages will be the subject of a deeper vertical tasting.

The 2012 Cabreo il Borgo is 30% Cabernet and 70% Sangiovese.   Deep ruby in the glass with violet highlights, this is the oldest vintage of Cabreo I have and it’s really behaving as a Sangiovese.  Spicy cherry notes dominate the aromas but cigar leaf tobacco and red plums assert themselves gently as well.  On the palate, this seems like a rustic Tignanello.  Not as round, not as polished.  The ripe cherry flavors are backed by toasted spice, vanilla, black plum and leather notes.  Again, leans to the rustic side.  Served alongside broccoli rabe with lots of toasted garlic and grilled sausages, this was very enjoyable.  I’m curious to taste subsequent vintages. 91 points. Find this wine.

~ Cabreo il Borgo is a wine that is very much under the radar ~

When I first taste the 2016 Val delle Rose Poggio al Leone in March of this year I wrote simply that “this is the best Poggio al Leone produced to date.”  I was right, but it didn’t last very long at all.   I’ve said repeatedly, this may be Cecchi’s best property.  With each wine I taste from there (Litorale, Aurelio, Poggio al Leone, Ciliegiolo)  I’m convinced further.

The 2017 Val delle Rose Morellino di Scansano Poggio al Leone Riserva is a single vineyard wine comprised of 90% Sangiovese and 10% other approved grapes.  Deep ruby to violet in color, the aromas are dynamic and boisterous! Bright aromas of crushed wild berry, Mediterranean herbs, lavender, leather and spices are complex and energetic.  In the mouth, the wine is fresh and lively. No sense of the heat from the vintage.  Juicy, fresh, forward and concentrated,  the wine is medium to full bodied with a core of black cherry fruit accented with vanilla, Christmas spices, warmed clay earth and dusty minerals.  It’s hard to imagine wanting more and an absolute steal around $21.  94 points.  Find this wine.

Tuscan Snips

~ This may be the best Morellino di Scansano I’ve ever had ~

So, while this Snips was relegated only to Tuscany, we did cover 7 different regions within Tuscany itself!  There are very nice values in this installment and they are all new releases with the exception of Cabreo.  Seek them out for your table this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving and Salute!

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