Roundup: Tuscan Red
"If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings.'"
Dave Barry said that, according to a poster I saw in a sandwhich shop. The monthly Binny's wine manager meeting certainly wouldn't disprove the sentiment, but it is an example of how keeping humanity from its full potential can be both fun and interesting.
Continuing the tasting notes from the last Binny's Wine Blog post, let's take a look at some of the newest arrivals in the category of Tuscan red.
Masi is best known as a top-notch producer of Amarone and more from Valpolicella. Their relaltively recent purchase of the Poderi del Bello Ovile vineyards marks their expansion into Tuscany. They stick with the tradional grapes of the region (80% sangiovese) but the Masi thumbprint of plush, rich wines is apparent. Thie Bello Ovile is all about cherries dark, fresh cherry fruit underlined by darker herbaceous notes, and just a little dirt. This is a Tuscan value.
Right up front, this is what expensive wine smells like. The wood influence shows, but it isn't out of balance like a nice suit that fits well. Super complex on the palate. Blood, tart cherry, olive, weeds, cedar, meat... (and this is where I stop taking notes and just enjoy it.) Impressive.
Done in a classic Brunello style, which means this shows some character developed from age and isn't over the top. On the nose, it seems to be just at the point where the fresh, primary fruit is starting to settle down, allowing other complexities to shine through. Orange peel, cedar notes meet the soft berry fruit. Argiano has produced in an over-the-top style lately, this might show a return to a more traditional style.
More up-front, especially after tasting that Brunello. More plush, bright fruit like strawberry and cherry. Bigger grippy tannins run parallel to the herbal component. Very solid for twenty bucks.
Classy! A nose of dry cherry fruit balances with cedar and vanilla notes from the wood. Thick on the palate, and even bigger than the nose suggests, with dark plum, raspberry, good tannins, tobacco and saddle leather. Still quite primary, I'm betting this is only going to be better in five years, if anybody actually waits that long. I might consider myself a Castellare fanboy.