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All wine, most of the time

Not Brunello and not Maremma

with 3 comments

Chianti Colli Senesi 2013, Le Ragnaie ($22.95, private import, 12 bottles/case)
The estate is located in the Montalcino hills and this would be a Brunello if the vineyard’s elevation weren’t so high (above 600 m). 100% Sangiovese from organically farmed 12-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Destemmed. Fermentation on the skins uses indigenous yeasts, takes place in temperature-controlled concrete tanks (maximum 28°C) and lasts 21 days. Matured 12 months in 250-litre Slavonian oak barrels, few if any of which I’m guessing are new. Lightly filtered. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Textbook nose of dusty sour cherry and plum with notes of iodine, graphite/slate, spice and dried rose. A medium-bodied mouthful of pure fruit, racy acidity, light, drying tannins and terracotta minerals. Long, clean finish with telltale bitter licorice, tobacco and leather notes. Like mainlining Sangiovese, albeit one with a Burgundian texture. Exceptional QPR. (Buy again? Done!)

Montecucco Sangiovese 2010, Cartacanta, Basile Agricola ($24.75, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Located in Maremma near the Tuscan coast southwest of Sienna, the appellation gained DOCG status in 2011 (the 2010’s a DOC). 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot from organically farmed vines. Manually harvested. Fermented in temperature-controlled (maximum 28°C) stainless steel tanks. Matured 12 months in French oak barrels, 24 months in the bottle. Unfiltered. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Candied mixed berries, herbs, ink and dried leaves. Richer, fruitier and less rustic than the Ragnaie. Nicely structured and well balanced. The dark minerally finish has a faintly bitter edge. Tastes a little primary at this point; though approachable now, will probably benefit from a couple of years in the cellar. Suave, food-friendly and fairly priced, this deserves to be on many restaurant lists. (Buy again? Sure.)

MWG October 23rd tasting: flight 3 of 6

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Written by carswell

November 19, 2015 at 12:50

3 Responses

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  1. Le Ragnaie : Bought a case following your review. Really interesting wine albeit different. I wouldn’t have guess a sangiovese, if tasted blind. The nose would have hint me in that direction but the fruit, the color, the body would have pointed me elsewhere. Like a pinot noir without the rasberry/strawberry nose and with a strong tannic structure.

    Not a typical 100 % sangiovese to me but bottom line is … it’s very good and cheap! Thanks

    Guillaume

    December 14, 2015 at 12:56

    • Thanks for the feedback, Guillaume. I opened a bottle of a couple of weeks ago and found it very Sangiovese-like (bitter cherry, terracotta, acid-bright and lightly if firmly tannic with a tobacco leaf finish — what else could it be if not Jove’s blood, I found myself thinking) though I concede it’s less dense and more ethereal than many (most?) wines made from the grape. In any case, am relieved to hear you like it.

      carswell

      January 6, 2016 at 13:57

  2. […] scream terroir and doesn’t deliver the kind of bang for the buck found in, say, the $23 La Ragnaie, it’s a decent enough weeknight Sangiovese and, hey, it runs less than $15 a bottle. (Buy […]


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