On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Vini Ad Arte, Anteprima Romagna 2017: Good Better Best

24 Mar 2017

Continuing on with my “rule” of not scoring unfinished wines (aka: barrel samples), I present to you my impression of the Vini Ad Arte in Romagna:  

It is my third time in Romagna and it is here where Sangiovese is made away from the spotlight of Tuscany – a place where winemakers feel marginalized: because of their proximity to Tuscany they are not taken seriously.  In past years it has been a struggle to get through this tasting, with few wines really raising eyebrows.  It is a wine region struggling to find its identity within the already jam-packed wine world of Italy.  I am happy to report that I believe a corner has been turned, and if the 2015 reds are any indication of where this wine region is headed they are in for a very good ride indeed.

Vini Ad Arte 2017The wines tasted were the 2015 and 2016 Albana (whites) with the ’15s really standing heads and shoulders above the handful of ’16s on display … the red wine, as mentioned, is Sangiovese, and the formats were mainly from the Superiore and Riserva classification, here the ‘15s were the stars of the tasting with the ‘16s showing real promise as well. It’s an exciting time to be tasting Romagna reds.

As mentioned above I do not score unfinished wines, too much can go wrong between tank/barrel and bottle that can compromise or otherwise change the wine that I have I tried as a “sample” …  At Vini Ad Arte Romagna I was in the position as I was at all the Chianti tastings in Tuscany:  I got to taste a fair number of unfinished wines and rated them on their potential for the future (there were also a number of wines that were finished and ready, or already on the market) … below I will be rating the wines on future potential on a scale of Good – Better – Best ... below that are the wines that were indicated as being finished and thus have been given a score out of 5 stars.  This is the largest grouping of scored wines I have ever had from the Romagna tasting and there are also a few at the 4-star level and above that I have linked to a full review on the website (also the largest grouping of 4-star wines – exciting times indeed).

White Wines …

Good Potential

Fiorentini 2016 Romagna Albana “Cleonice”

Better Potential

Ballardini Riccardo 2016 Romagna Albana “Leggiadro”
Villa Bagnolo 2016 Romagna Albana “Bianco Bagnolo”

Scored (Finished) Wines …

Caviro 2015 Romagna Albana “Romio” … (*** ½)
Celli 2016 Romagna Albana “I Croppi” … (*** ½+)
Fattoria Zerbina 2015 Romagna Albana “Bianco di Cerapano” … (*** ½)
Fiorentini 2015 Romagna Albana “Cleonice” … (***)
Fratta Minore 2015 Romagna Albana … (*** ½)
Giovannini Giorgio e Jacopo 2015 Romagna Albana “Neblina” … (*** ½)
La Berta 2015 Romagna Albana “Olmatello” … (*** ½+)
Poderi dal Nespoli 2015 Romagna Albana “Campodora” … (*** ½)
Tenuta Masselina 2015 Romagna Albana “Masselina Albana” … (****)
Tre Monti 2016 Romagna Albana “Vigna Rocca” … (*** ½)
Trere’ 2016 Romagna Albana “Arlus” … (*** ½+)
Zavalloni Stefano 2015 Romagna Albana “Codronchio” … (*** ½+)

Red Wines …

Good Potential

Conde 2013 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva “Cru Raggio Brusa”
Piccolo Brunelli 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva “Dante 1872”
Piccolo Brunelli 2016 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva “Cesco 1938”
Tenuta Masselina 2016 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “138”

Better Potential

Villa Papiano 2016 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore

Best Potential

San Valentino 2016 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore

Scored (Finished) Wines …

Bartolini 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Oro” … (****)
Berti Stefano 2015 Romagna Sangiovese “Ravaldo” … (*** ½+)
Bissoni Raffaella 2013 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva … (*** ½+)
Ca Di Rico 2011 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Bioni – Pezzolo” … (*** ½)
Ca Di Sopra 2016 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Crepe” … (***+)
Calonga 2013 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Riserva “Michelangiolo” … (***)
Cantina Braschi di Enoica 2014 Romagna Sangiovese “Monte Sasso” … (*** ½)
Celli 2013 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva “Bron & Ruseval” … (***+)
Conde 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore … (****)
Costa Archi 2015 Romagna Sangiovese “Assiolo” … (*** ½+)
Country Resort (Tenuta de Stefenelli) 2013 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva “Armonia” … (*** ½)

Drei Dona’ 2015 Romagna Sangiovese “Notturno” … (*** ½+)
Enio Ottaviani 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Caciara” … (*** ½)
Fattoria Nicolucci di Nicolucci Alessandro 2016 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Tre Rocche” … (*** ½+)
Fattoria Zerbina 2013 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva “Pietramora” … (*** ½+)
Fattoria Zerbina 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Ceregio Rosso” … (*** ½)
Ferrucci Stefano 2014 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Riserva “Domus Caia” … (*** ½)
Ferrucci Stefano 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Centurione” … (*** ½+)
Le Rocche Malatestiane 2013 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Riserva “Il Mastino” … (*** ½)
Le Rocche Malatestiane 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Sigismondo” … (****+)
Le Rocche Malatestiane 2016 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “I Diavoli” … (*** ½)
Le Rocche Malatestiane 2016 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Tre Miracoli” … (*** ½)
Madonia Giovanna 2012 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva “Ombroso” … (*** ½+)
Madonia Giovanna 2013 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva – Vino Atto “Ombroso” … (*** ½+)

Pandolfa / Noella Ricci 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Godenza” … (*** ½)
Poderi dal Nespoli 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Prugneto” … (****)
Poderi Morini Alessandro 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Morale” … (*** ½)
San Valentino 2014 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Riserva “Conte di Covignano” … (*** ½+)
San Valentino 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Scabi” … (*** ½+)
Tenuta Casali 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Palazzina” … (*** ½+)
Tenuta La Viola 2013 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva “P. Honorii” … (*** ½)
Tenuta La Viola 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Il Colombarone” … (*** ½)
Tenuta La Viola 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “In Terra” … (***+)
Tenuta Uccellina di Amoroso Antonietta 2015 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Samore” … (*** ½)
Tre Monti 2014 Romagna Sangiovese Riserva “P. Honoril” .. (*** ½)
Tre Monti 2016 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore “Campo di Mezzo” … (****+)
Trere’ 2013 Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Riserva “Amarcord d’un Ross” … (***+)



Visit to La Braccesca (Antinori) in Italy

16 Mar 2017

Dinner and a tasting of four vintages of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva – Vigneto Santa Pia … all wines are aged in barrel for 18 months and 18 more in bottle:

Arrival at the estate ...


The Tasting Set-up ...


The Wines and How They Stack Up ...

2007 Vigneto Santa Pia
Aromas – Charcoal, smoke and ash
Palate – soft, big, frim, dark fruit: cassis, blackberry with graphite, smoke, and herbal notes; acidity is quite high and the tannins bite back

2008 Vigneto Santa Pia (my favourite)
Aromas – cassis, strawberry, balsamic and tobacco
Palate – lovely, fresh red fruit with tobacco and mineral; the tannins need taming but it does have a long elegant finish

2009 Vigneto Santa Pia
Aromas – coffee, licorice, strawberry but with a strange underlying note of turpentine
Palate – rich, full and spicy with notes of cassis, plum and black cherry; it also has a thick almost chewy finish

2010 Vigneto Santa Pia
Aromas – vanilla, cedar, with black and blue fruit
Palate – smoky, cherry, cassis, blackberry, big fruit but still needs to evolved because it is mildly aggressive with tannins and a good amount of acidity


Also tasted the 2011 Bramasole Syrah from the Cortona region for those who don’t believe Syrah and Italy belong together – think again ...

2011 Bramasole Syrah (Cortona)
- 12-14 months in a mix of 60% new French oak and 40% one year old oak -
cassis, raspberry and other dark fruits with white and black pepper;
fresh and just a beautiful bottle made from select parcels – (~50,000 bottles made) … Rating: ****+


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