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Fontodi’s wild ride

[fontodi]Fontodi 1995 Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany) — Dust and strawberry charcoal with a sharply exposed spine of tannin. Probably a few years past peak, but the lingering aromatics are as soil-driven as one could ever want. (11/16)

CC de Ville

Castello della Paneretta 2001 Chianti Classico (Tuscany) – So massively better than the 1999 Riservas (which are dead or dying) that I almost have to wonder if oak can be damaging. Oh, no. Couldn’t possibly be, could it?

Strawberry sharpness, with a lash of acidity and barky undertannins, yet perfectly cohesive. The fruit isn’t done maturing, yet I think the wine as a whole has gone about as far as it should; the structure has evaporated, leaving the shells and superstructures rather exposed, and I don’t believe further cellaring will improve the view. (12/11)


Castello della Paneretta 1999 Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany) – Ashen red fruit, wan and fading. Drink up a few years ago. (11/11)

Little loaf

Castello della Paneretta 1999 Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany) – Past maturity, but not so far that it lacks all interest. Sandy minerality, old roasted cherries turned very slightly spirituous, dust upon dust, and an intrusive burnt-honey quality that comes from the wood of which this wine always had just a little too much. (10/11)

Renzo cortex

da Renzo “Fattoria di Basciano” 1996 Chianti Rufina (Tuscany) – Old grape, gritty with earth and broken-down tar. Still quite structured, still very present, but just enough past its prime that the structure dominates. (10/11)

(Don’t) lay down Torselli

Torselli 2003 VinSanto del Chianti Classico (Tuscany) – 50 cl. I don’t, as a rule, drink much vin santo these days, and thinking about it for a while I realized that it was because so much of what I tasted was sort of tedious. Not bad, just much less interesting than sweet wines from elsewhere. Here, though, that tedium is coupled with another problem: the vintage, which tended to render sweet wines a little flabby and vapid. This is the case here. Sweet gold fruit, hacked off at the edges and without much of a start or finish. (8/11)

Red & grey

[bottle]San Felice 2003 “Il Grigio” Chianti Classico “Riserva” (Tuscany) – Some strawberry jam (with seeds) threatens to stick its neck out here, but mostly this is clumsy structure and fruit the wine doesn’t know what to do with, except step on with a heavy foot. Dull. (8/08)


Villa Rosa 2004 Chianti Classico (Tuscany) – It’s been a long time since I’ve smelled a Chianti like this: strawberry, game, a touch of herb and a little bit of earth. There’s plenty of dense structure, but it’s all nicely balanced with crisp yet persistent fruit. To drink now with the right food, perhaps, but I really think this wine would prefer a little time in the cellar. Classic Chianti, and immensely appealing to those of us who have almost forgotten what that’s like. (5/08)

Is it a castle or a villa?

Castell’in Villa 1995 Chianti Classico “Riserva” (Tuscany) – Dense. Strawberry and herbal dirt, with dense (actually, thoroughly solid) tannin. A bit hard, but long. Needs continued aging. (2/08)

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