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 Lovers Anteprima 2020

10 Apr 2020

(February 16, 2020) ... TUSCANY – The Chianti Lovers tasting is a fairly large tasting of wines (200+) from throughout the Tuscany area that do not qualify under the Classico designation.  This year we find wines from the 2019 vintage, but no further back than the 2017 (usually comprises the Riserva wines) – there is also a smattering of 2018 wines as well. All are DOCG wines, so the highest status offered by the region.

Chianti Lovers ListAs a rule I do not score unfinished wines (aka: barrel 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 derriere especially if the finished wine isn’t as I perceived it from barrel – so I have just stopped the practice all together. Instead I use a Good / Better / Best approach which has served me well over countless antiprime tastings in the past. For those looking for scored wines there are a number of finished wines scored at the very bottom.

Also see my report of the Consorzio Tutela Morellino di Scansano tasting (link found here) – held at the same time and place.

Chianti BannerGood Potential

Cantina Sorelli 2019 Chianti DOCG
Cantine Terredagoli 2017 Chianti DOCG Riserva
Castello di Oliveto 2019 Chianti DOCG
Castello di Oliveto 2017 Chianti DOCG Riserva
Castelvecchio in SanCasciano Val di Pesa 2019 Chianti DOCG
Colognole 2017 Chianti Rufina DOCG Reserva
Fattoria Betti 2019 Chianti Montalbano DOCG
Fattoria Il Muro 2019 Chianti DOCG
Fattoria L’Arco 2019 Chianti DOCG
Fattoria L’Arco 2019 Chianti DOCG “Principe del Sole”
Fattoria Petriolo 2019 Chianti DOCG Governo all’uso Toscano “Rene”
La Leccia 2019 Chianti DOCG
Montaioncino 2017 Chianti DOCG Riserva
Piazzano 2017 Chianti DOCG Riserva
Poggiotondo 2019 Chianti DOCG “Casentino”
Ruffino 2019 Chianti DOCG
Sensi 2017 Chianti DOCG Riserva
Tenuta Barbadoro 2019 Chianti DOCG
Tenuta Casabianca 2019 Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG
Tenuta di Artimino 2019 Chianti Montalbano DOCG
Usiglian del Vescovo 2018 Chianti Superiore DOCG
Valdarno Superiore 2019 Chianti DOCG
Valdarno Superiore 2017 Chianti DOCG Riserva

Better PotentialChianti Banner 2

Bindi Sergardi 2019 Chianti DOCG
Cantine Leonardo da Vinci 2019 Chianti DOCG
Castello di Gabbiano 2019 Chianti DOCG
Colognole 2018 Chianti Rufina DOCG
Famiglia Cecchi 2019 Chianti DOCG
Fattoria Petriolo 2019 Chianti DOCG
La Lupinella 2019 Chianti DOCG
Piazzano 2019 Chianti DOCG
Podere Volpaia Organic e Vegan Farm 2019 Chianti DOCG
Poggio Salvi 2019 Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG
P:oggio Salvi 2017 Chianti DOCG Riserva
Salcheto 2019 Chianti DOCG
Tenuta Piccini 2017 Chianti DOCG Riserva
Tenuta Scrafana 2019 Chianti DOCG
Villa Bibbiani 2019 Chianti Montalbano DOCG

Best Potential

Il Corniale 2018 Chianti Superiore DOCG



Scored (Finished) Wines …

Castello del Trebbio 2018 Chianti Superiore DOCG … (*** ½+)
Castello Sonnino 2019 Chianti Montespertoli DOCG … (*** ½+)
Colognole 2018 Chianti Superiore DOCG … (*** ½)
Fattoria Selvapiana 2018 Chianti Rufina DOCG … (*** ½)
Fattorie Giannozzi 2019 Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG … (*** ½)
Ruffino 2018 Chianti Superiore DOCG … (*** ½+)
Tenuta San Vito 2019 Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG … (*** ½)
Torre a Cona 2019 Chianti Colli Fiorentini DOCG … (*** ½)



Wakefield Wines Celsius Experiment

03 Apr 2020

(March 2020) ... I sat in on a tasting experiment with Justin Taylor of Wakefield Wines (Australia). The event was called “Celsius” and, as you can probably guess from the title, it had something to do with temperature.
Wakefield decided to create a program to talk about the proper temperature wine should be served at - by so doing they also had to prove that they were right. The only way to do so was by serving their own wine at an “off temperature”, and I don't care who you are, or how confident you feel, to purposefully “ruin” your own product takes a lot of guts.

“While we think everyone should enjoy wine however they like it, serving a wine at the optimum temperature unlocks a new level of appreciation for the nuances in aroma and flavour,” says Justin. “Winemakers putJustin Taylor - Wakefield a great deal of work into crafting and balancing the flavours of a wine, from when they pick the fruit through to the type of oak they use ... Serving a wine at the optimum temperature can help wine lovers fully realise these flavours right in the glass.”

I have long been a proponent that ‘reds can go into the fridge; if you prefer fresher, fruitier reds it is the easiest thing to do. White wines truly are a preference as to their serving temperature, but it is worth a few minutes of your time to try wines at a variety of temperatures.  

Wakefield WhiteAnd according to Justin variety matters: “Varietal is very important to the correct serving temperature. What it comes down to is the weight and body of a wine. Lighter whites, like Clare Valley Riesling or Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris, can be served much colder, at around 6°C, than a Chardonnay which we recommend being served at 12°C. The two are very different in weight and as such, should be served at different temperatures. For the reds, it’s a similar scenario. Pinot Noir, which is typically light and aromatic, should be served around 12°C, whereas our Wakefield Estate Shiraz and Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is best enjoyed around 16°C.”

While it took an Australian ruining his wine to prove something to me I already practiced, preached and suspected it was nice to be reminded ... and proven right; and I like to be right, just ask my wife.

The verdict on the Wakefield wines tasted …

Wakefield 2018 Chardonnay ($16.95 – LCBO #711556)Wakefield Red
Subtle butterscotch with good acid backing (rare in an Australian Chardonnay) – plenty of nice fruit with apple, pear and simple peach notes.  (*** ½+)
From my personal point of view, I liked mine chilled; the “proper” way is supposed to be warmer – but I like to see/feel fruit more than I like oak – this is one you ought to try at home and share your opinion [also check out the Two Guys debating the issue on the podcast].

Wakefield 2018 Shiraz ($18.95 - #943787)
Mainly American oak used in the making of this wine so there is lots of vanilla, dark fruit, dark berries and good spice; the tannins are non-aggressive and show finesse and elegance, not just power and alcohol.  (****)
This one definitely benefitted from its slight chill, the fruit absolutely pops and makes for a more enjoyable wine.

Wakefield 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 - #744235)
Aged in 100% French oak and loaded with dark fruit, cedar, cinnamon and powerful tannins … this is the wine that made Wakefield famous – store this one a few years or decant upon opening.  (*** ½)
I could see the benefits of a chill with the Cab, but the wine was not showing its best in either glass on this day – and for the signature wine of Wakefield I expect better (and I have had better – so I give them a pass on this wine).


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