Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Older Wine, And Why I Don't Automatically Discount "Bad" Vintages

On Christmas Day my in-laws prepared a bollito misto -- mixed boiled meats, served with a variety of rich sauces, including Salsa Verde and mayonnaise, and sotto'oli, vegetables packed in oil.

So I brought lighter, zestier wines, including a 2002 Chianti Classico I found in my cellar.

Now, 2002 is universally considered one of the worst vintages in living memory, and rightly so -- it was cold and wet throughout the summer, and continued thus though the harvest for most areas, including Chianti. Most winemakers eschewed vineyard selections, putting their best grapes into their base wines, and only the bravest tried to make Riserve.

But a difficult vintage doesn't necessarily mean all bad wines -- using just the best grapes a good winemaker can salvage something from the wreckage, and I had enjoyed other wines from the Fattoria La Loggia. So I decided to gamble.

Fattoria La Loggia Terra dei Cavalieri Chianti Classico 2002
Lot 1/2004
Deep black ruby with slight almandine reflections. Brambly on the nose, with tart (sour) berry fruit and some leaf tobacco mingled with hints of underbrush. Bracing. On the palate it's medium bodied, and brambly, with lively berry fruit acidity and clean greenish tannins with a dry green burr that flow into a clean greenish almost splintery finish. In a word, zesty, and it's a far cry from the smooth fruit-driven richness many seek in their wines. But I found it to be quite refreshing, and a perfect match for both our boiled meats, and the tortellini in broth that preceded them. Much better than a richer, smoother wine would have been.
2 stars, almost 3.

Bottom line: Just because the vintage was bad, doesn't mean the wine will be.

Want to know more about Fattoria La Loggia? Their Site.

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