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Margaux 2009, Château Charmant ($42.25, 00868620)
Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) and Cabernet Franc (20%). Destemmed. Cold soak is followed by “traditional” vinification: Fermentation with selected yeasts (Davis 522) in concrete vats at 28 to 30ºC for about 21 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place in vats, after which the wine is transferred to oak barrels (25% new, 25% second fill, 50% second or third fill). 13.5% ABV.
Nose dominated by cassis and graphite. Plush and round on the palate. Dense, ripe fruit and a layer of sweet oak cushion the considerable tannic structure and acidity. Still quite primary. Broad and long, not so deep. Well made if modern in style. Probably fine with, say, a leg of lamb but, for now at least, a little heavy and cloying on its own. (Buy again? Probably not.)

IGT Toscana 2011, Guidalberto, Tenuta San Guido ($45.25, 10483384)
Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) and Merlot (40%). Fermented separately in in stainless steel tanks at 30 to 31ºC. Macerated 15 days. Spends 15 months in oak barrels, French and a few American. Bottle-aged an additional three months. 14% ABV.
Cherry, cassis, some background pencil lead and tobacco-ish herbs and a whack of spicy oak. Medium- to full-bodied. While ripe and radiant, the fruit is admirably restrained. The tannins are firm but sleek, not at all rebarbative. The acidity is fresh and energizing. Surprisingly, oak doesn’t dominate the clean, layered and persistent flavours. This elegant, balanced, beautifully proportioned wine is the best of the several vintages I’ve tasted and the only one potentially deserving of the oft-applied “baby Sassicaia” moniker. (Buy again? Yes.)

Both wines had been carafed for about six hours. On opening, the Guidalberto was reportedly tighter than a drum.

Written by carswell

October 31, 2013 at 20:42

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with , ,

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