This classic Tuscan vintage of the 90’s, benefited from an ideal and uneventful growing season. The wines produced in 95 could easily be categorized as traditional. Very terroir oriented, the 95 Tuscan reds show elegance with good structure and great aging potential. At their peak, they should display finesse, freshness and complexity. Twenty years later, at Les Conseillers du Vin, we decided to revisit this 20 years old Tuscan vintage by tasting a selection of wines from reputed producers to verify the evolution of this excellent Tuscan vintage.
As usual a group of 16 experienced tasters analysed 7 Tuscan reds plus a mystery wine in the usual blind tasting format. At this point we must keep in mind two important factors: 1-winemaking techniques have dramatically changed since the mid 90’s. 2-grapes today are harvested much riper. Wines from the 80’s and early 90’s offered from the outset higher acidity and firmer tannins. Wines from that era tend to be fresher, leaner and often more elegant. But in some instances, some wines can be a bit thin, aggressive and austere.
Results: Is it time to crack open all remaining bottles of 95 Tuscan reds or should we leave some for future drinking? To establish the order of preference of the tasting panel, 3 points were awarded to a first place vote, 2 pts for a 2nd place vote and 1pt for a 3rd place vote.
Most of the participants agreed that the wines were at their peak, with two wines (1 & 7) showing more evolution. The group’s favourites were Roccato (20 pts), Sassicaia (17pts), Tenute Marchese (17pts) followed closely by Tignanello (15pts). There was no clear cut winner in this tasting, Proof of this, only one wine did not receive at least one 1st place vote : Summus. The most 1st place votes went to Tenute Marchese Chianti Classico Riserva with only four (4) tasters choosing it as their favourite. For many participants it was quite surprising to see Roccato coming on top, this may be explained by its more evolved and supple character. According to my tasting notes, Roccato seemed a bit too evolved. My top three wines were: 1-Tignanello, 2-Tenute Marchese 3-Château Phélan-Ségur followed closely by Sassicaia. See my tasting notes below.
The wines : Order of blind tasting:
1-Summus, Vino da Tavola, Castello Banfi (Group score: 1 pt)
Still deep colour. Forest floor earthy tones, evolved nose with some coffee. Fresh with lively acidity, tannins still a bit firm, but ready for drinking, will not get better. Slightly on the decline. Medium length, not much complexity, fairly easy drinking. Blend of Cab sauv, Sangiovese and Syrah. My rating: 88
2-Sassicaia, Bolgheri , Marchese Incisa della Rochetta (Group score: 17 pts)
Showing orange on the rim. Complex nose with forest floor, graphite and a hint of vegetal. In a more elegant style typical of Sassicaia. Good balance, still some potential (2 to 4 years). Bordeaux blend : 85% Cab Sauv with 15% Cab Franc. My rating: 90+
3-Tignanello, IGT Toscana, Antinori (Group Score: 15 pts)
My favourite wine of the tasting. Lovely evolved nose, still a bit of fruit. Great balance, elegance, freshness, mature mouthfeel. Medium bodied, should remain at its peak for a few (2 to 3) more years. Majority of Sangiovese (80%). My rating: 93
4-Tenute Marchesi Antinori, Chianti Classico Riserva (Group score: 17 pts)
Also from the Antinori family, in a similar style as Tignanello. Lovely complex evolved nose with some ripe fruit and forest floor scents. Refined ready to drink Chianti. Fresh, well balanced with good length. At its peak. My rating: 92
5-Vigorello, IGT Toscana, San Felice (Group score: 13 pts)
Typical traditional San Felice style: hints of mushrooms, forest floor with some vegetal overtones. Classic high acid with firm tannins. Well structured, with lots of character, a bit austere on the finish. Ready, and should stay like this for a few more years (2 to 3). Blend of Sangiovese, Cab Sauv and Merlot. My rating: 90
6-Château Phélan-Ségur 1995 St-Estèphe, Bordeaux (Group score : 11 pts)
Colour is quite evolved. Graphite, earthy character, showing evolution. Still some fruit and extract, but remains elegant and soft for this vintage. Good length with a slight bitter finish. Ready for drinking. My rating: 91
7-Roccato, IGT Toscana, Rocca delle Macie (Group score: 20 pts)
The group favourite, could be attributed to its evolution. Seemed the most evolved of the tasting. Orange rim. Nose is very evolved, showing a bit of oxidation with earthy forest floor scents. Very elegant, but seems to be thinning out! Soft and supple with a hint of bitterness on the finish. Medium length. 50-50% Sangiovese/Cab Sauv. My rating: 88
8-Sammarco, Vino da Tavola, Castello dei Rampolla (Group score: 8 pts)
Quite traditional, the Rampolla style produces wines with firm tannins and high acidity. The Sammarco is in fact quite true to the house style. This highly reputed producer does have a cult following. Deep colour (a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon). Graphite and forest floor nose. The finish is typically austere. Could probably continue to age, but will it soften? Needs to be re-tasted. My rating: 89+?