2004 Antinori Chianti Classico Pèppoli, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+

Another in a series of 2004 Chianti Classicos.  This is also drinking quite well.  At peak or ever so slightly past but still with freshness and life.  Ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, dried cherries, sandalwood and dry tea.  On the palate, this has lively acidity.  Nice texture.  Lots of cherries with underlying spice.  Good finish.  Food friendly.  Drink in the next three to five years.  

2004 Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Chianti Rùfina Nipozzano Riserva, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

This bottle retailed for around $25 on release.  At age 14 years from vintage, it is drinking quite well.  It is certainly at peak (or just past) and won't get better from here, but what a nice experience.  Ruby/purple in color.  The nose has cherries, dried cherries, black cherries, dried tea leaves, slight spice and some dried leather.  On the palate, this has vibrant cherries fruit along with some dried cherries and forest floor notes.  No tannins left.  Some layering.  Moderate complexity.  Nice acidity.  Works well with pasta, pizza and medium bodied foods.  Drink up in the next few ye

2010 Fontodi Chianti Classico, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

As basic Chianti's go, this is one of the best.  It is also one of the most expensive at around $30.  It is drinking quite well right now but needs a bit of air still.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, tea leaves, dust and spice.  On the palate, this has a lovely texture.  Juicy black cherry fruit with underlying bits of damp forest floor.  A nice backbone of acidity.  Deep and complex, it unwinds in the glass.  Nice finish.  This works with a wide variety of foods.  Still about 3 to 5 years from peak I would think and it will be good for a while after that. 

2006 Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia Sassicaia, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+

Wow.  Great wine.  Pop and pour, this got better or at least kept opening up all night.  Purple in color with a ruby rim.  Gorgeous nose of cassis, cigar box, nutmeg, and cherries.  On the palate, this has great layering that unwinds in the glass.  Cherries, cassis, earth and tobacco.  A nice backbone of acidity helps it work well with foods.  Delicious but complex.  If still youthful, not too far from peak but at least a couple of decades of life left.  Long finish.  

2012 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

This was drinking quite well although it has years left.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is very nice with black cherries, cedar, chocolate and cigar box.  On the palate, this is youthful but ageing well.  Layers of cherries, black cherries and tobacco.  A nice back bone of acidity.  Good finish.  This can be drunk along but shines with food.  Obviously Italian food but really a wide variety.  Probably about 5 years from peak and should be there for 8 to 10.  

2010 Fontodi Chianti Classico Vigna del Sorbo, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

In later vintages, this carries the Gran Selezione designation.  This is one of, if not the top Chianti.  It is better than most Brunellos.  Of course, it costs more than most Brunellos too.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  What a great nose.  A bit smokey with cherries, macerated cherries, some forest floor/tea leaves and slight spice.  Still tight and tannic on the palate.  It opens in the glass to show cherries, spice and black cherries.  This needs time for sure, maybe another three to five and it will be good for a decade or maybe two after that.  This is a great wine that can equal

2011 Erta di Spinelli Varno Risala Toscana IGT

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

This was a new wine for me.  Apparently, in some vintages it will have some Petit Verdot or other international varietals but in 2011 it was 100% Sangiovese.  They really nailed it in this very good if not great vintage.  Purple in color.  The nose is cherries with some sandalwood and slight vanilla.  Clean and bright if still young.  More open on the palate, but at the same time, this is quite tannic.  A very structured wine.  It needs some time flesh out but it is very deep and yet elegant at the same time.  Cherries, macerated cherries and slight coffee notes on the palate.  Good acidity

2012 Pian Delle Vigne (Antinori) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Ferrovia, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

Pop and pour, this was pretty tight, so the wine was decanted which helped.  Still, it probably needs five more years but has a couple of decades of life left.  Drank side by side with the regular 1999 version of this wine.  Ruby in color with some purple, lighter than the 99.  The wine in general, however, is a much bigger wine.  The nose is gorgeous with cherries, black cherries, sandalwood and dry Earl Grey tea.  On the palate, this is tightly wound, but it already shows great layering and complexity.  A wonderful texture; slippery yet bold if that makes sense.  Great acidity.  Long fini

1999 Antinori Pian Delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1999
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

This was decanted for sediment and then drink over a few hours.  This was drunk side by side with the 2012 Riserva which was interesting and fun.  This is a deep ruby with some purple at the core in color.  Darker than the 2012.  It seems to at peak right now.  Not showing old age but certainly mature, tannins resolved and getting close to sliding downhill.  The nose is earthy with damp tea leaves, cherries and just a hint of sandalwood.  Complex and layered with funk, forest floor and cherries.  Very good acidity.  Worked very well with food.  Nice finish.  This was probably never an amazi

NV Sean Thackrey Pleiades XI Old Vines, USA, California, Wine Review

Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+

Sean Thackrey is one of the world's great winemakers who hangs out in Bolinas California.  This is basically a field blend of what doesn't make his top Cuvees.  Although it is non-vintage, each Cuvee carries a Roman Numeral designate.  This is XI, but the current release is XXV.  This wine is approximately 16 years old and was really made to be drunk in the first few years.  Sometime, however, wines hide in the cellar only to provide a pleasant surprise later on.  It was originally claimed to be a blend of Syrah, Petite Syrah, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Carignan, and Barbera, however, DNA testi

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