GDP on Wine

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

Sangiovese PTP 2

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 5, 2009.

A follow up to the first tasting though with more of an Italian slant this time. I have to say that several of the Californian examples continue to really impress me. Some great wine is being made out there but they will never replace the classic Chianti Classico Riservas that Tuscany can offer. Still it's worth taking a look westward!

Flight 1 - Starting off easy

1 -2005 Cosentino Il Chiaretto California 87pts
2 - 2006 Ruffino Santedame Chianti Classico 87pts
3 - 2007 Flora Springs Napa Valley 89pts

Flight 2 - Let's step it up a bit

4 - 2004 Podere il Palazzino La Pieve Chianti Classico 89pts
5 - 2005 Ruffino Riserva Ducale Tan label 87pts
6 - 2006 Pope Valley Winery Napa Valley 90pts

Flight 3 - Now were talking

7 - 2004 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 94pts
8 - 2004 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva 83pts
9 - 2004 Castellare Chianti Classico Riserva 92pts

Flight 4 - Is more always better?

10 - 2005 Kuleto Estate Napa Valley 88pts
11 - 2004 Deerfield Sonoma 85pts
12 - 2006 The Midlife Crisis Winery Paso Robles 86pts

Flight 1

1 - 2005 Cosentino Il Chiaretto California 14.8% $18

A bit dusty and with a fair amount of earthy cocoa/choco notes over bright strawberry, black raspberry fruits lurking with nice notes of smoke and leather adding interest. Big and a touch sweet on entry with plenty of acidity from front to back and a touch of slightly austere tannins but ultimately chunky and a bit disjointed. Some attractive green herbal notes add depth to the wild strawberry fruits but there is a heavier load of wood here than the fruit wants to carry. Offers a moderately long finish dominated by grilled meat and licorice tones 87pts

2 - 2006 Ruffino Santedame Chianti Classico 13.5% $18

A bit woody on the nose yet fresh and precise with faint notes of tobacco, some sweet wood tones, cherry notes, with a dusty/steely closed wine overlay. Silky on entry and polished with a good core of dark wild berry fruit that has a lively edge of astringency. There are notes of mineral rich salad greens and a hint or beef blood adding complexity and while this is a touch fleshy it remains very mineral driven and finishes with a rare meaty core of sour cherry fruit. Lean and taut with good balance and a nice stony finish this is a bit simple but quite typical. 87pts

3 - 2007 Flora Springs Napa Valley 14.2% $15

A touch estery at first then turning floral and crisp smelling with mineral, herb and woodsy treebark tones. This really picks up a slightly brambly strawberry note on the nose that incorporates the fruit, leaves, and soil tones of picking wild strawberries. Silky and slinky in the mouth with good acids and plenty of tannins supporting pure, if easy, sweet strawberry/cherry fruits making this uncomplicated yet delightful. The moderately long finish is clean and offers a touch of herb as contrast to the strawberry fruit. Simple yet playful, this is fun to drink! 89pts

Flight 2

4 - 2004 Podere il Palazzino La Pieve Chianti Classico 14% $20

Espresso foam and a touch of baking spice offer hints of the oak here but the candied cherry cough syrup notes and a hint of lemon oil offer good balance. There is an underlying touch of earth funk that adds complexity and depth. Lovely balance in light-medium body package that had juicy acidity and soft tannins that barely intrude and let the lightly candied red cherry fruit shine. Feels very clean with a nice pure slightly unripe raspberry, iron mineral finish of moderate length. Nice precise feel, a lovely wine that is just a touch simple. 89pts

5 - 2005 Ruffino Riserva Ducale Tan label 14% $22

Soft on the nose with gentle notes of leather and earth, a touch of woodsy spice, a touch of violet a little smoke and some dark cherry tones. Big fruit up front backed by solid, integrated acidity with very polished tannins give this a round, pleasant mouthfeel, yet without not much complexity or depth, A bit diffuse on the mid-palate with nice flavors of raspberry/black raspberry, a touch of earth, mint and leather, but this has the feel of not trying hard enough but it’s still hard to fault it too much. 87pts

6 - 2006 Pope Valley Winery Napa Valley 14% $18

A bit of sulfur needs to resolve here but under that there are ample wood tones of butter, cinnamon sugar, burnt marshmallow, vanilla, mace and all-spice yet the rather intense fruit notes seem to balance these pretty well. There are hints of cured pork fat, tea, figs, floral, apricot, and tobacco that emerge with time. A whip of acid cuts through the round, fleshy feel in the mouth and the tannins build quite quickly but the black raspberry, mulberry and boysenberry flavors are deep and solid. This turns more black cherries on backend and finishes with fresh pomegranate, spice, and berry fruits that yield the stage back to the sweet wood tones on the finale. This is fun and fresh with good complexity coupled with a really attractive mouthfeel. It is certainly not Chianti and may lack some Sangiovese typicity but it’s pretty darn good in a big, spiced, modern idiom. 90pts

Flight 3

7 - 2004 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 14% $20

Intensely aromatic with a floral and salame tones then burnished sour cherry/strawberry fruit, very floral, smells decidedly funky, leathery, and slightly sour with a touch of cigar ash smokiness. With air earth, oystershell, mint, spice, dried orange peel, old wet leather, soil, and even a hint of truffle emerge on this effusive and complex nose. A brilliant nose. Bright acids and a touch of fat up front yield to a nice layer of astringent tannins that coat the mouth with silky, smoky, dried strawberry fruit. This offers an array of flavors running from soil notes, black tea, maduro tobacco, frutti di bosco preserve and old wood notes to beet root, ripe berry, and dried citron peel. Finishes with good length and an almost curranty red/bitter cherry fruits with great mineral and herb cut and a classic steely character. This is Classic Chianti and a huge value but it is a pure, delicate, traditional style of wine that will never bowl one over with power or extract. It just seduces you with complexity, depth and purity. 94pts

8 - 2004 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva 13.5% $30

Initially this offers typical damp earth, forest floor and floral, notes framing the slightly peachy raspberry coulis fruit with a hint of vanilla but with air this turns cola and rootbeer like with an emerging fungal note and gamy edge. Rich and round in the mouth with very finely polished tannins and tons of acid with a classic medium body with earthy, tobacco and almond tinged strawberry fruit. Kind of gentle but still classically styled but the moldy edge detracts from the wines. Tasted 3 times with consistent results. 83pts

9 - 2004 Castellare Chianti Classico Riserva 13.5% $35

A touch of funky brett greets the nose and is followed by earthy, tobacco, notes with lots of dried herb, leather and dried flowers. Certainly not a fruit driven nose as it develops further notes of limestone, rusts funghi, smoke, touch of oak, and a very mineral backdrop. Sour berry right up front with wonderfully ripe tannins and good acids offering lots of richness in the mouth with a seductive mouthfeel. The fruit is rich and forceful, almost concealing the austerity with layers of leather, earth, dried herb, with emerging bitter cherry/wild strawberry fruits and a touch of green anise and peach seed on the backend. There is that edge of brett entwined with the flavors but at this point it is well integrated. Very cleansing finish, a touch short with a sneaky return featuring hints of roasted nuts, salt, lingonberry and funghi. A very solid wine. 92pts

Flight 4

10 - 2005 Kuleto Estate Napa Valley 14.8% $20

A bit smoky and gamy with deep, dark, fruit backed up with notes of wood and herb. This turns more savory with an emerging olive brine note and gains a mineral/cigar ash edge. With a big, sweet and smooth entry, this begins deceptively then turns dark and muscular on the mid-palate with lovely rich fruit accented with an earthy, bitter cocoa streak of oaken spice. The finish is also dark and brooding with jammy fruits, a hint of vanilla, and linger spice tones. The wood tannins are significant at this stage yet this is so well balanced that it will reward cellaring. Youthful 88pts

11 - 2004 Deerfield Sonoma 14,6% $25

Heavy VA greets the nose followed by a jammy fruit quality and lots of fudgy, sweet, spiced toasted pecan, pecan pie notes. There is a touch of briar here and a bit of camphor that gives this a bit of a medicinal tone. Big on entry with big notes of dried strawberry and cherry fruits. Decidedly on the soft side with a silky mouthfeel, plenty of ripe tannins and adequate acidity. This is a bit hot; some nice gently austere tannins that really gain traction, short finish. Not bad wine just lacks distinction 85pts

12 - 2006 The Midlife Crisis Winery Paso Robles 16.6% $20

Offers an array of nutty, red-woody, hot spicy tones and a big dried figgy fruit note. There are interesting notes of tea, cola and dried beef adding complexity. Big sweet entry, then a bit chewy with lots of subtly jammy undertones, mulberry jam, some mulling spice, a touch of pie crust but with a gentle herbal note as well. A little licorice on the backend leads to the long fruit driven finish that is slightly medicinal/minty. A huge Sangiovese fruit bomb. 86pts


Reply by Mark Angelillo, Feb 6, 2009.

Another great roundup.

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