Thursday, April 02, 2009

An Overview of Badia A Coltibuono

Badia a Coltibuono, one of the historic estates of Chianti Classico, recently held a vintage presentation in Florence. I will be writing further about the estate shortly -- they will be presenting a Vertical at Vinitaly-- but wanted to give my impressions of the current vintage.

The wines:

Badia A Coltibuono Chianti Classico DOCG 2007
Lively ruby with pale rim fading to white. The bouquet is bright and fresh, with lively berry fruit -- cherry and some red currant -- supported by bramble and spice, with hints of gum Arabic and underbrush, and fresh acidity; with swishing the gum Arabic fades to reveal jammy accents. Pleasant, and very, very young, but then again it is a 2007. On the palate it's fresh, with lively cherry fruit supported by moderate brambly acidity and brambly tannins that flow into a clean scrappy tannic finish. Quite deft, a food wine that will work well with simple grilled meats, light stews, and also has the acidity necessary to work well with fried meats and vegetables. Expect it to go quickly.
2 stars

Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico DOCG 2006
Lively cherry ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is fresh, with cherry fruit and some savory spice, and underlying underbrush and hints of sea salt. Nice balance, and with more swishing hints of dried porcini mushrooms and sundried tomatoes also emerge. Pleasant to sniff. On the palate it's medium bodied, and smooth, with fresh berry fruit supported by moderate acidity and dusky bitterness that flows into a clean bitter tannic finish. It's rounder than the 07, and this is not just grater age -- the 07 is scrappier and more aggressive. The 06 is quite easy to drink -- the Italian that comes to mind is beverino, which is quaffable -- and it will work well with simple grilled meats or light stews. A second bottle will come in handy.
2 stars

Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2006
Lively cherry ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is fresh, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by berry fruit jam and some brandied cherries, as well as green spice from wood. Nice, though still displays the directness of youth, and is still developing. On the palate it's ample, with fresh cherry fruit supported by clean tannic spice and some sea salt, which leads into a clean fresh berry fruit finish. Pleasant, and though it needs another year or two to get its bearings, it will drink nicely with stews or roasts; it's one of those wines that probably won't stand out at a tasting, but that people will select it to drink with the meal that follows. Expect it to age nicely for up to a decade.
2 stars

Badia a Coltibuono Sangioveto IGT Toscana 2006
Deep cherry ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with brandied cherry fruit supported by underbrush and some cedar, with underlying peppery spice. On the palate it's ample, and smooth, with moderately rich berry fruit supported by slight acidity, and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a delicate cherry finish. Ruffiano (a street urchin) is the Italian word that comes to mind; it's quite approachable in a softer more international key, and if you like the style you may want to drink it by the glass. If you're more traditionally minded you'll prefer the Riserva.
2 stars

Badia a Coltibuono Vinsanto del Chianti Classico DOCG 2003
Tawny amber with apricot reflections. Delightful bouquet, with rich dried dates mingled with hints of figs, walnut rinds (in June, when they're green), sticky brown sugar, alcohol, and hints of oatmeal, supported by apricot acidity, while a fellow taster finds (correctly) cocoa powder.. In short, a great lot going on and an absolute delight to sniff. On the palate it's languorously full, with deft date and dried apricot fruit supported by dried apricot acidity and rich walnut skin bitterness that flow into a bitter walnut and dried fruit finish that lasts and lasts, with the sweetness gradually fading. Quite pleasant, and if you're not already a vinsanto fan it will convert you.

Bottom line: Pleasant, very approachable wines that will do a fine job of complementing what they're served with. For more information on Badia a Coltibuono, visit their site:

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