~ The Entrance to Castello Poggio Alle Mura ~

It’s almost difficult to think of a place to start.  I’m trying to come up with a vintage in Tuscany that I think compares to 2006.  Frankly, I don’t think there is one.  2010 will likely eclipse it, eventually.  2004 is very, very close.  But to find a vintage across Tuscany that displays the vibrancy and richness of the fruit, while still retaining all the fresh ancillary aromatics, flavors and textures,  I think you have to go all the way back to 1990, maybe 1985.  Each vintage has its shortcomings and attributes, but if you have a cellar full of 2006’s,  I can’t imagine you being disappointed. Recently we uncorked a pair of 2006s with an eye toward checking in on the vintage. 

I’ve written about Cecchi Coevo a few times before but never had the opportunity to try the 2006.  This was the inaugural vintage of the wine and the first to receive the Tre Bicchieri award.  Subsequent vintages (2010 & 2011) both received Tre Bicchieri from Gambero Rosso. 

The 2006 Coevo, like all other vintages, is a contemporary blend of grapes from Cecchi’s estates in Maremma and Castellina in Chianti.  It is meant to capture the essence of the vintage across the whole of Tuscany, rather than one small commune.   The 2006 is a blend of Cabernet and Sangiovese from Cecchi’s Castellina estate, while the Merlot and Petit Verdot come from Maremma.  

In the glass, the 2006 is a deep, black plum color with lighter, Brunello like colors at the rim of the bowl.  In the glass, the wine speaks to Castellina, with lovely black plum, wild berry, sage, tobacco and earth notes easily noted on the nose and palate.  This is elegant and refined, with the texture smoothed out by the Merlot but in a way which allows the power of the vintage to shine through.  Great balance between the fruit, acids and tannins – which are finely knit but still noticeable without food.   This is wonderful and with plenty of life ahead.  95 points.   SRP about $65 upon release.  This bottle was acquired directly from the winery.

~ Coevo 2006 is a blend of:  50% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet, 20% Merlot, and 20% Petit Verdot ~

Castello Banfi has been a key player in Montalcino since their arrival in the late 1970’s.  Owners of one of the largest estates in Italy, despite its size, Castello Banfi spares no attention to detail.  That precision was on display front and center at a recent dinner I had with winemaker Rudy Buratti which will be featured next week.  But in the wake of that wonderful showing,  I had an urge to check in on Castello Banfi’s 2006 Brunello. 

We decanted the wine for 60 minutes and as you can see,  it’s a deep garnet red color.  The wine benefited greatly from the air time and threw off a slight sediment.  In the glass, the hallmark aromas abound.  Crushed ripe berry,  sweet pipe tobacco, flowers and Tuscan herbs are a delight to smell.  On the palate, the wine is meaty and full bodied.  A huge core of ripe berry fruit sits front and center as crushed stones, pipe tobacco, espresso and herbs are thrown in. Complex, powerful; a statement.  This has years of life ahead of it but with the decanting, is approachable now.  95 points.  About $55 upon release. 

~ An outstanding effort ~

Buon Fine Settimana!

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