Elisabetta and Sergio - the passion and soul behind Montenidoli - and I are old friends; in addition to doing their website, I am a frequent guest at their home and was one of the lucky few invited to taste back through their older Vernaccia a couple of years ago. If I had ever harbored any doubts about Vernaccia's capacity to age, that tasting laid them to rest, and this year at Vinitaly Elisabetta decided to present a number of older vintages. Of other wines, and they were just as impressive.
Canaiuolo Rosato di Toscana IGT 2008
Lively salmon with bright salmon reflections and rim paling to white. The bouquet is rich, with greenish raspberry fruit supported by underbrush and alcohol, with clean spice form grapes; nice balance and fair depth. On the palate it's rich, with powerful raspberry laced berry fruit that has some yellow plum accents, and is supported by lively acidity and clean light sweet tannins. Quite graceful, and will work very well as an aperitif, or with simple pasta dishes or risotti. Because of its rich fruit, it will also be nice with oriental dishes. Worth seeking out.
Vinbrusco Bianco di Toscana IGT 2005
This is a blend of Malvasia and Trebbiano, and is brilliant brassy gold with brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is rich, with fairly intense rather bitter white fruit that includes pear, and is supported by greenish bitter notes, mingled with warmth and alcohol, there's a lot going on with many facets, and it's quite interesting to sniff. On the palate it's full, with rich white fruit supported by savory minerality and some greenish tannins that flow into a very long bitter white berry fruit finish. It shows considerable depth and complexity, and is one of those wines that will distract you from what you're drinking it with. In other words, demanding, and it will richly reward those who listen to the tale it tells.
Vinbrusco Bianco di Toscana IGT 2000
This is from a considerably hotter vintage; it's brilliant brassy gold with lively apricot-laced brassy highlights. The bouquet is powerful, with rich tart butterscotch laced with some citric acidity and warmth, with hints of mint and pear that provide depth. It's clearly from a hot vintage, but displays grace and elegance. On the palate it's full and languid, with rich white berry fruit supported by bright slightly greenish acidity that flows into a clean bracing finish in which acidity is joined by tannic hints. Very pleasant, displaying considerable depth and power in a hotter vintage key, and though it does suffer the heat of the vintage slightly, is a testament to what carefully grown Tuscan whites can achieve.
Carato Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2005
This is Elisabetta's barrel fermented Vernaccia, and it's brassy gold with white rim and brilliant brassy reflections. The bouquet is fairly rich, with clean bright bitter almonds and hints of gunflint mingled with greenish accents and slight savory butterscotch; it's quick to write, but displays considerable depth and elegance. On the palate it's full and languid, with clean bracing gunflint minerality laced with warm white berry fruit and some tannins that reveal oaky butterscotch accents and flow into a warm languorous finish that lasts and lasts. Most impressive, and one of the finest barrel-fermented Venaccias I know of. Even staunch traditionalists who prefer steel will find things to think about.
Il Templare Bianco di Toscana IGT 2003
This is a blend of all the white varietals in the older vineyards, and is brilliant brassy gold with brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is rich, with greenish accents and gunflint supported by bright acidity and clean bitter white pear and spice; it's quite graceful and a pleasure to sniff, offering many facets. On the palate it's full and bright, with ample fairly rich white berry fruit supported by savory notes and a fair amount of languid minerality that flow into a clean peppery finish. Pleasant, though the richness reveals the heat of the summer, which has also reduced the acidity some, making the wine a little bit softer than it is in cooler vintages.
Il Tempare Bianco di Toscana IGT 1999
Brilliantgoldwith brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is rich, with greenish notes and vegetal accents mingled with bright acidity, and supported by minerality, gunflint, and some bitter white pear. Great depth and elegance. On the palate it's full and rich, with powerful gunflint laced white berry fruit with minerality and languorous fullness form glycerin that gains depth from savory acidity and flows into a clean savory finish. Quite nice, and superior to the 2003 because it has more acidity, which confers greater life and richness.
Vernaccia Tradizionale DOCG 2007
Lively brassy gold with brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with white floral accents mingled with savory spice and some bitter almonds, and warm alcohol as well. Quite a bit going on, in a deft, fairly muscular key. On the palate it's full and rather languid, with clean charged white fruit supported by deft acidity and by some warm slightly greenish accents with tannic underpinning that flow into a peppery finish with lasting acidity. It's ample, and charged, like a well muscled teen who is pleasant but hasn't yet learned finesse, and will drink quite well with hearty soups, rich pasta dishes, along the lines of a dried porcini risotto, and will also work well with white meats. Expect it to age nicely for at least 3-5 years.
Fiore Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2007
Lively greenish gold with brilliant brassy reflections. The bouquet is deft, with greenish accents and almond skins supported by alcoholic warmth and minerality; it's quite young, but already displays considerable depth. On the palate it's full, with rich, elegant white berry fruit supported by greenish accents and spice from grapes, and by clean rich white berry fruit acidity. Very nice, and though it is already quite drinkable, will reward those who can give it a few years before opening it. One of those wines one hates to pour out at a tasting.
Il Garrulo Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2006
Livelydusky cherry ruby with cherryrim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with warm berry fruit supported by brambly acidity and by warm spice, while there is also dusky underbrush and hints of stable straw. Pleasant, though not for lovers of smoother, softer fruit driven wines. On the palate it's medium bodied-full, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean fresh rather bitter berry fruit finish. Pleasant in a frankly traditional key, and will drink nicely with a variety of foods, from hearty pasta dishes through stews and roasts. If you like the style you will like it very much.
Montenidoli Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2006
Lively cherry ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is bright, with fresh berry fruit supported by brambles, clean spice, with some graphite shaving bitterness, jammy warmth, India ink, and a fair amount o alcohol. Still quite young. On the palate it's full and rich, with deft red berry fruit supported by bright sour berry fruit acidity and by smooth sweet tannins that flow into a warm rather tannic finish. Pleasant, in a slightly rustic key, and you have to like the style -- lovers of studied Merlot won't be happy with it. If you are of more robust tastes, it will drink quite well with succulent red meats and light stews.
Sono Montenidoli Rosso di Toscana IGT 2001
Deep pigeon blood ruby with black cherry rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with cherry plum fruit supported by balsamic warmth and deft cedar-laced spice. Beautiful depth and a delight to sniff. On the palate it's full and rich, with powerful cherry fruit supported by sour berry fruit acidity and by warm sweet tannins that flow into a clean bitter tannic finish. It's quick to write about, but elegant and has a great deal to say; if you're of traditional tastes you'll like it very much, all the more because time has begun to apply its polish, and even if you're more inclined to the international style you'll find muchto think about. Even more as it opens in the glass. Expect it to age nicely for many more years.
Almost Wordless Wednesday: Between Here And There - I took this shot during the Pelleginaggio Artusiano in the spring of 2011. The mirror is somewhere between Castrocaro Terme and Portico di Romagna (on the ...
4 years ago