Brett happens

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

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


    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.


      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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