Notes from an al fresco luncheon tasting featuring Italian wines.

While the good weather lasts we have been gathering a small group of serious wine fans (thought of calling us the ‘X-travagant Winos’ but Keith Richards got there first) to eat a simple lunch and taste some not so simple wines.

2018 Triennes Rosé – this very dry Rosé was near the top of a big tasting of such wines a couple of years ago. You know that is has some decent winemaking talent as it is owned by Burgundy’s Domaine Dujac. Cinsault, Grenache, merlot and syrah, the wine has a strawberry nose, good middle ground fruit and a smooth medium length finish.

Then we headed into the more serious wines accompanied by a jambon persille I had made, along with an endive salad.

2010 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico – very nice nose of red fruit and herbs with a faint floral element. Smooth entry, well balanced acidity, got increasingly floral with air and drank very well. Was delighted to find that I had a half case of this that I haven’t touched yet (I tend to look for maturity in wines, if not always in wine tasting companions).

2012 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Ovello – a very fruit driven nose with dark cherry and perhaps a little strawberry. Some warmth in the mouth and a very traditional presentation, quite ready to drink with a medium length fairly soft finish.

2001 Tua Rita Giusto di Notri – a dark wine with sweet cabernet nose with some vanilla and black currant. Interesting impression of celery/greenness on palate and some mint. The wine seemed quite youthful for the age and has a future. A cab/merlot IGT wine.

2006 Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino – dark with pure garnet edges, and a nose of roasted fruit with some mushroom hints. On palate it is still reasonably tannic and had some nice cherry/herbal flavours, medium to long slightly warm finish. Good wine with time left to go.

1988 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia – I have been a big fan of this wine since I first tasted the 1979 (I still have one bottle in the cellar) and I have empty bottles of 14 different vintages as I have done three vertical events with it. Cabernet and some cab franc, these wines seem to be long lived, and with the exception of the very highly rated and ridiculously priced 1985, which ironically shows almost no sense of place, they are generally not international in style but do show as Italian wines and as being Tuscan. The nose on this was the best I can recall – not so much cab like as a ringer for a good Northern Rhone, with aromas of tar and blackberry. Still dark in colour, with a light edge, the wine was full bodied, well balanced, spicy and delightful with a lengthy finish.
Quite frankly, I prefer this vintage to the highly touted 1985 (prices are c. $400 vs c. $2000) and would be tempted to swap my remaining stock of 85s at those values!