A new wine in the range, the 2016 Chianti Rufina Vigneto Erchi is off the charts. The purest essence of Sangiovese emerges from a wine that combines power with translucent finesse. Bright acids and citrus accents perk up the red Sangiovese fruit. Initially a bit austere, the 2016 gains volume with time in the glass. The Erchi emerges from a relatively new parcel for the state planted with cuttings from Bucerchiale. Compared to that wine, the Erchi has a much more red-fruited profile and also appears to handle aging in French oak better. The 2016 is a stellar debut. Don't miss it.
The 2017 Pinot Noir Krafuss from Alois Lageder is stunning, taking the ripeness of the vintage in stride. It shows a gorgeous bouquet of rose petals, fresh strawberry, sweet almond paste and a dusting of confectioner’s spice. Silky textures coast across a feminine frame with mineral-laced red fruits and a slight twang of cherry pits, as pretty violet florals amass toward the finale. There’s a bitter pinch of nervous acidity that keeps the mouth watering with hints of sour citrus and savory herbs tugging at the senses. Wow, what a beautiful and balanced wine. The Krafuss is matured for eighteen months in barrels ranging from 225 to 500 liters, and even as I write this, it continues to gain further depths.
This is sleek and well-defined, offering black cherry, blackberry, tar, iron and tobacco flavors shaped by vivid acidity. The tannins are dense, yet overall this is balanced, lingering on the complex, spicy finish. Sangiovese, Colorino, Canaiolo and Merlot. Best from 2021 through 2036. 10,000 cases made, 2,500 cases imported.
Alfredo Currado made Vietti’s first-ever single-cru Barolo in 1961 from Rocche di Castiglione, a long tongue of vines that extends from the edge of Castiglione Falletto toward the border of Monforte d’Alba on a southeast facing slope. Currado’s son and Vietti’s current winemaker, Luca, calls Rocche “stronger than the stupid,” meaning it is hard to make a bad wine from the cru. That was never a possibility in 2016, a growing season that Luca considers the best in his 33 harvests, with everything happening just as it should: rain at opportune moments, no significant hail, and a beautiful September with hot days and cold nights. The wine’s red-cherry flavors are vibrant and juicy, picking up notes of orange peel and fresh tobacco with time in the glass. Its tannins are formidable yet cool, adding to its sense of freshness, and the precise red-berry flavors continue to gain energy and vibrancy even five days after the bottle was opened. A portrait in balance and equilibrium, this 2016 is a monumental achievement.
The 2018 Chianti Classico is a very pretty, enticing wine. Crushed flowers, sweet red cherry, pipe tobacco, cedar and mint all grace this exquisite, ethereal Chianti Classico from Coltibuono. All the elements simply fall into place effortlessly. Silky tannins round things out in style. This is such a beguiling Chianti Classico.
A mild winter was followed by a rainy spring, giving great water reserves for the summer. The growing season was without extremes, the grapes reaching ripeness after three days of rain in the middle of September. 'All the grapes were perfect,' said Filippo Contini Bonacossi. Indeed, 2016 is one of the best recent vintages in Tuscany. This wine, crimson and dark, is full of concentration and extract without losing grace. Fresh bramble fruits dominated by raspberry are joined by violet, leafy notes and liquorice. The tannins are grainy and masculine, yet precise on the finish. Refreshing and balanced, this is the wine representative of the estate's postmodern winemaking: the first to be officially organic and partially aged in large oak vessels. A great Carmignano.
The 2016 Chianti Rufina Vigneto Bucerchiale is a dark, brooding wine. Swaths of tannin make a first impression. Gradually, black cherry, plum, lavender, cloves, leather and menthol start to emerge. This potent, massively tannic Chianti Rufina is going to need a number of years to come around. There is plenty of depth, but the elements are totally put together. The 2016 finishes with tremendous substance and gravitas. I expect the 2016 will always remain a brute.