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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.

Report from : Chianti Classico Anteprima 2019

28 Feb 2019

(February 2019) - Tuscany ... 475 wines in total … of which just under half were Chianti Classico DOCG representing vintages from the newest, 2017, to only a few years old (2014) … these wines were tasted over the course of 2 days during the Chianti Classico Anteprima 2019; and this was by far the biggest tasting of the week.

Tasting all 65 of the newest, 2017 vintage wines, showed that the vintage had a certain juiciness to it, at least more than I had expected, and that was rather appealing and enjoyable – not sure the wines are meant for any long term aging but they certainly are enjoyable right out of the bottle, now.

The majority of the Chianti Classicos were from the elegant 2016 vintage, 29 wines were there to represent the hot (and what many perceive as perfect) 2015 vintage; while only 4 wines showcased the mean and lean 2014 and 6 for the equally uninspiring 2013.

Below is a list of the wines that truly represented, to me, the best of the Chianti Classico DOCG wines I tasted (in alphabetical order by producer / by star rating):

(All scoring is out of 5 stars)

Chianti Classico 2017 / 2016 / 2015 / 2014 / 2013 (DOCG) …


Three PLUS Stars …

Casanova di Bricciano 2016 Chianti Classico “Casanova”
Guidi 1929 2017 Chianti Classico “San Giorgio Allo Spadaio
La Lama 2013 Chianti Classico “Sottolaia”
La Montanina 2015 Chianti Classico
Vallepicciola 2016 Chianti Classico
Villa di Geggiano 2016 Chianti Classico

Three-and-a-Half Stars …Chianti Black Rooster

Borgo Casa Al Vento 2016 Chianti Classico “Aria”
Casale Dello Sparviero 2016 Chianti Classico
Castello di Bossi 2016 Chianti Classico
Castello di Volpaia 2017 Chianti Classico “Volpaia”
Collazzi 2017 Chianti Classico “Bastioni dei Collazzi”
Fattoria Cigliano di Sopra 2016 Chianti Classico
Fattoria di Valiano 2015 Chianti Classico “Poggio Teo”
Fattoria Poggiopiano 2016 Chianti Classico “La Tradizione”
Felsina 2017 Chianti Classico
Fontodi 2016 Chianti Classico
Il Poderino 2014 Chianti Classico “Bellostento”
L’Orcio a Ca’ Di Pesa 2016 Chianti Classico “Ca’ di Pesa”
Oliviera 2017 Chianti Classico
Panzanello 2017 Chianti Classico
Podere Cianfanelli 2016 Chianti Classico “Cianfanello”
Querciabella 2016 Chianti Classico
Rocca di Montegrossi 2017 Chianti Classico
Ruffino 2016 Chianti Classico “Santedame”
Santo Stefano 2016 Chianti Classico
Scheggiolla 2014 Chianti Classico
Terre di Perseto 2016 Chianti Classico “Albore”
Vignamaggio 2017 Chianti Classico “Terre di Prenzano”
Villa Vallacchio 2017 Chianti Classico

Three-and-a-Half PLUS Stars …

Bibbiano 2017 Chianti Classico
Borgo Scopeto 2016 Chianti Classico “Salcetino”
Canonica a Cerreto 2015 Chianti Classico
Castellare di Castellina 2017 Chianti Classico “Castellare”
Castello di Ama 2017 Chianti Classico “Ama”
Castello di Radda 2016 Chianti Classico
Castello Monterinaldi 2016 Chianti Classico
Castello Vicciomaggio 2017 Chianti Classico “Guado Alto”
Fattoria di Valiano 2016 Chianti Classico “Valiano”
Isole e Olena 2016 Chianti Classico
La Querce Seconda / Niccolo Bernabei 2016 Chianti Classico
La Sala 2016 Chianti Classico
Le Masse 2015 Chianti Classico
Nardi Viticoltori 2017 Chianti Classico
Podere Castellinuzza / Coccia Paolo 2016 Chianti Classico
Podere Il Palazzino 2015 Chianti Classico “Argenina”
Querceto di Castellina 2017 Chianti Classico “L’Aura”
Rodano 2016 Chianti Classico
Tolaini 2017 Chianti Classico “Vallenuova”

Four Stars …

Villa Trasqua 2016 Chianti Classico - (full review)


Plus the Good / Better / Best Potential …

As a rule I do not score unfinished wines (aka: barrel samples), I have learned that too much can go wrong between barrel and bottle that can compromise or otherwise change the wine … and if that happens my score from the sample can come back to bite me in the ass – so I have just stopped the practise all together.

Good …

Chianti SommelierBrancaia 2017 Chianti Classico
Castello di Gabbiano 2017 Chianti Classico
Castello di Monsanto 2017 Chianti Classico
Fattoria le Fonti 2016 Chianti Classico
La Montanina 2016 Chianti Classico
Monte Bernardi 2017 Chianti Classico “Retromarcia”
Monterotondo 2017 Chianti Classico “Vaggiolata”
Tenuta di Campomaggio 2017 Chianti Classico
Tenuta La Novella 2017 Chianti Classico “Casa di Colombo”

Better …

Badia a Coltibuono 2017 Chianti Classico
Cantina Ripoli 2017 Chianti Classico
Carpineta Fontalpino 2017 Chianti Classico “Dofana”
Fietri 2017 Chianti Classico
Isole e Olena 2017 Chianti Classico
Monteraponi 2017 Chianti Classico
Piemaggio 2015 Chianti Classico “Le Fioraie”
Ricasoli 2017 Chianti Classico “Brolio”
Vignavecchia 2016 Chianti Classico

Best …

Carpineta Fontalpino 2017 Chianti Classico “Montaperto



Anteprima Sagrantino 2015 : Good Better Best

19 Feb 2019


(February 18, 2019) ... MONTEFALCO – I am for the first time doing the Anteprima for Sagrantino – this is a tough wine that requires years of age to round out and come into its own, I have been at dinners this week where producers have opened wines from 2008 that are just starting to come around and one 2002 that was beautiful but still with acidity to blow the mind. It has been an eye-opening experience.

As a rule during these anteprima I do not score unfinished wines (aka: barrel / tank samples), too much can go wrong between barrel and bottle that can compromise or otherwise change the wine … if that happens that score from a barrel sample can come back to bite me in the ass if the finished wine isn’t as I perceived it from barrel – so I have just stopped the practise of giving final scores to these wines.

Here at the Sagrantino tasting it is a bit of a different story:  First the wines need 37 months before they can be released as official “Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG”, of which at least 12 months has to be in oak (and I have read at least 4 months in bottle) … 2015 was a beautiful vintage and everyone here is excited for these wines to hit shelves, the thing is, because of the tannins and acidity these wines need lots of time in both that wood and bottle, then an even further 7+ years in a cellar to really begin to appreciate these wines – some literature refers to these wines as “astringent” (harshly biting) and when young they definitely have a grip and grit that may be hard to get around.  That all said you feel every ounce of these wines on your tongue during the tasting (45 in total plus, 10 Passito: sweet wines), but the good ones really show through and have an elegance you can project forward …

The wines are broken down into three categories: Barrel sample, Bottle sample and Finished … so in keeping with my policy of scoring only “finished” wines I will treat the barrel and bottle as both unfinished wine and will be rating the wines on future potential on a scale of Good – Better – Best ... plus at the very bottom of the page are some fully scored finished wines and my ranking for Passito wines as well.

Good PotentialMontefalco Sign

Adanti 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino
Arnaldo Caprai 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino “Valdimaggio”
Colle Ciocco – Spacchetti 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino
Di Filippo 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino “Etnico”
Fattoria Colsanto 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino
Pardi 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino “Sacratino”
Tabarrini 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino “Colle alle Macchie”
Valdangius 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino “Fortunato”
Vignabaldo Group 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino

Better Potential

Bocale 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino
Ilaria Cocco 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino
Moretti Omero 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino
Perticaia 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino
Terre de Custodia 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino

Best Potential

Le Climate 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino “Donna Giulia”

Montefalco Sign 2Scored (Finished) Wines …

Lungarotti 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino … (*** ½)
Romanelli 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino … (****)
Romanelli 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino "Madeo" … (****+)
Scacciadiavoli 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino … (****)
Tenuta Bellafonte 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino “Collenottolo” … (*** ½)
Tenuta Rocca di Fabbri 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino … (*** ½)

Passito …

Made from 100% Sagratino left to dry out on mats for a minimum of 2 months, the grapes are pressed and left to ferment with the grape skins – if you can imagine it makes a particular type of “sweet” wine that has the strange dichotomy of coming across dry because of the tannin structure of the Sagrantino grape … but the balance is to keep the acidity within the wine. The wines also must be released a minimum of 37 months from December 1st of the vintage year. Of the 10 Passitos tried these were my top four – two with potential, two with scores:

Dionigi 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino Passito … Better Potential
Ilaria Cocco 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino Passito “Fontiola” … Good Potential

Terre de la Custodia 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino Passito “Melanto” … (*** ½+)
Valdangius 2015 Montefalco Sagrantino Passito “Angelina” … (*** ½)



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