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Emotionless grapes?

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Chianti Classico 2008, Castell’in Villa ($21.30, 00908228)
100% Sangiovese from the estate’s various vineyards. Aged 12 months in “traditional Tuscan casks,” which probably means large, multi-vintage barrels. 14% ABV.
Nose less fruity than some – dried wood, black cherry, hints of leather, terracotta, tobacco leaf, spice, alcohol – but blossoming as the wine breathed. Medium-bodied and fluid. There’s some sweet fruit on entry but it quickly retreats, forming a backdrop to the interplay of high acidity, fine if astringent tannins, alcoholic warmth and savoury flavours (tobacco, old wood, minerals) that linger fruitlessly through the finish.

On this showing, not quite up to the level of the 2008 from, say, Querciabella. Of course, neither is its price. Perhaps more to the point, it seems to lack the spark I recall from earlier vintages. The wine has got some good press (Wine Spectator rated it 92 points, for whatever that’s worth) but I find the comments of the owner, the charming if camera-shy Pincipessa Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa, more telling. According to Jamie Goode: “Of the 2008 vintage, she says that, ‘The grapes are correct but there is no emotion in them.'”

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Written by carswell

October 5, 2012 at 18:38

Posted in Tasting notes

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