Sunday, January 22, 2017

Wine Reviews: Goodies from Tuscany

It’s been a while since I’ve focused on Italy in my tasting reports, but I’ve received a bunch of Tuscan reds over the past few months, so here we go.

Included are three wines from Tenuta Degli Dei, a father-son partnership between Roberto and Tommaso Cavalli. Their family farm in Chianti had been used for raising horses until 2000, when they began making wine. The 2011s from Tenuta di Arceno really impressed me with their structure, depth, and age-worthiness. A few other wines are included as well.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.  
2013 Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico Riserva - Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
SRP: $25
Bright ruby color. Aromas of juicy black cherries, tart red currants, tar, smoky herbs and black tea, a lot of spicy tobacco. Full-bodied (14.5%) with moderate tannic structure and bright acidity that keeps it fresh. Dark cherries and juicy plums combine with roasted chestnut, tar, charcoal and loamy soil. Full, juicy but structured, this could use a solid decant or a few years. 90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. (88 points)

2010 Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico Strada al Sasso Riserva - Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
SRP: $35
Deep ruby color. Bright but rich aromas of red and black currants and cherries, rose petals, cocoa powder, rosemary and potting soil. Serious grip to the tannins, moderate acidity keeps it fresh, the fruit (currants and black cherries) concentrated but delicious. Lots of complex earth, charcoal, sweet herbs, black tea. Bold and rich but it is balanced and elegant. This wine has so much time ahead; don’t fret about burying some bottles and forgetting about them for five to ten years. 100% Sangiovese. (90 points)

2011 Tenuta di Arceno Valadorna di Arcanum - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
SRP: $80
Deep purple color. Rich and concentrated nose of dark currants and plums, violets, coffee, scorched earth, vanilla, all of it deep but inviting. Full-bodied with fleshy tannins and moderate-to-fresh acidity, serious structure but not too dense. Black cherries, blueberries and cassis mix with charcoal, violets, coffee, eucalyptus, fennel and fallen leaves. Plush yet structured, velvety yet clean and fresh. Lots of life ahead.  60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, aged 12 months in 80% new French oak. (91 points)
2011 Tenuta di Arceno Arcanum - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
SRP: $100
Deep purple color. Rich, exotic aromatics of blackberries, black cherries and currants, the fruit comes in waves, backed up by clove, cinnamon, violets and dark chocolate, but also some black olive and charcoal. Full-bodied, hard-line tannic structure, but some medium acid helps balance it out. Rich with plum, blackberry and cassis, juicy by concentrated, and I get a complex mix of non-fruit elements: mint, chewing tobacco, dark chocolate, clove, birch root and black olive. Hedonistic flavors but serious depth and structure. 5-10 years should do wonders for this beauty. A blend of 77% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot, aged 12 months in 80% new French oak. (93 points)

2013 Tenuta degli Dei Chianti Classico - Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
SRP: $24
Vibrant purple color. Juicy black cherry and raspberry aromas, along with spicy tobacco, eucalyptus, birch root and pepper — a cool combo for sure. Medium-bodied with vibrant acidity and some quite serious structure to the tannins. Black cherries and red and black plum fruit, showing tartness but a good amount of richness. Lots of secondary notes of pepper and tobacco, fallen leaves and tree bark. I like the complexity of flavors and balance of structure and freshness; seems like it could improve with a few years, easily. 100% Sangiovese. (88 points)   

2013 Tenuta degli Dei Le Redini Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
SRP: $30
Vibrant light purple color. The aromas are bright and juicy with lots of red currants, roses, tobacco and eucalyptus. Full-bodied with moderately firm tannins, moderate acidity. The fruit is quite concentrated, red and black currants, but there’s a freshness to this wine that is very attractive. Notes of coffee, eucalyptus, black tea, finishes bright and full of herbs and smoke. Really opens up after a few hours; even though this is the less expensive bottling, it’s still deserving of a few years in the cellar, or a long decant now. 90% Merlot, 10% Alicante, aged 12 months in oak. (90 points)

2012 Tenuta degli Dei Cavalli Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
SRP: $60
Medium purple color. Juicy red currants, some blueberry as well, along with cedar shavings, violets, light roast coffee. A velvety texture despite serious structure, balanced by some moderate acidity, the fruit is both tart but plush with juicy black cherry, currant, blueberry. Notes of smoky charcoal, grilled rosemary and oregano notes, cedar shavings and coffee woven in nicely. A bit dense and tannic, although the texture is quite balanced, this should be great in five to eight years. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdot, 15% Cabernet Franc, aged 18 months in barrel. (93 points)

2013 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG 
SRP: $25
Pretty rose/ruby color. Red currant and wild raspberry aromas, topped in rose petals, espresso and tar notes. Medium-bodied with dusty tannins and moderate to tangy acidity. Red and black currant fruit, tart and a bit tightly wound at this point, but still pretty. Notes of roasted herbs, coffee, anise and pipe tar fill out this blend of Sangiovese and 5% Merlot. I’d decant it and serve with a big Italian style family dinner. (87 points)  

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist. 

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