As in France, many Italian wine regions, such as Tuscany, experienced ideal climatic conditions in 2016. During my last (2017) trip to the region, I tasted many impressive wines from this remarkable (2016) vintage. Deeply coloured reds bursting with ripe flavours and refreshing/balancing acidity. Even more impressive is the structure that assures great aging potential. Elegant, balanced terroir wines, which merit a spot in your cellar, as they should
improve over the next 15 to 20 years. At Les Conseillers du Vin we decided to taste a selection of reputed producers to confirm the high quality level and aging potential of this outstanding Tuscan vintage.
As usual a group of 15 experienced tasters analysed 8 Tuscan reds in the usual blind tasting format. At this point we must keep in mind three important factors: 1-climatic conditions were ideal if not perfect in most appellations/areas of Tuscany. 2-cool nights assured freshness (acidity) and balance. 3-With great structure (tannins), wines from this vintage should age gracefully for a very long period, depending on the appellation, anywhere between 10 to 30+ years.
Results: To establish the order of preference of the tasting panel, 3 points were awarded for a first place vote, 2 pts for a 2nd place vote and 1pt for a 3rd place vote.
There was a clear cut winner in this tasting: the group’s favourite wine was a Bordeaux blend from Castelli di Bolgheri with 20 pts. Coming in tied for second spot with 13 pts were Poggio di Guardia and Tignanello both labelled IGT Toscana. Just behind with 12 pts were Luce from Frescobaldi (IGT Toscana) and Magari from Ca’ Marcanda (Bolgheri). The grape composition of these wines can be seen in the descriptions below. Surprisingly the two lowest scoring wines were both 100% Sangiovese and also labeled IGT Toscana : Rosso Tos from Podere Giodo di Bianca Ferrini (4 pts) and Cepparello from Isole & Olena (2 pts). Most of the wines showed great aging potential. So be patient with these wines, a minimum of ten years in your cellar will be necessary to soften the tannins and add complexity. My top three wines were: 1-Podere San Cristoforo, Maremma, 2-Magari, Ca’ Marcanda 3-Poggio di Guardia IGT Toscana. See my tasting notes below.
The wines : Order of blind tasting:
1-Castelli di Bolgheri, Bolgheri (Group score: 20 pts) 92,25$
The preferred wine of the tasting! Deeply coloured, superb nose of ripe field berries with a hint of minerality and some oak. Rich and structured with lively acidity, obvious but ripe tannins for long term aging (5 to 15 years). Blend of Cab Sauv (70%), Cab Franc (15%) and Merlot (15%). My rating: 92/100
2-Rosse Tos, IGT Toscana Podere Giodo di Bianca Ferrini (Group score: 4 pts) 63,75$
Pale colour, the lightest of the tasting. Reminiscent of an older more traditional style. Medium weight/body, in a more elegant, easy drinking style. The nose displays some jammy red fruit with a slight animal scent. 100% Sangiovese. My rating: 89/100
3-Tignanello, IGT Toscana, Antinori (Group Score: 13 pts) 121,25$
A model of consistency, (the 2016) Tignanello is a charmer. Lovely nose displaying ripe fruit, black licorice and pepper with a hint of vegetal (Cabernet). Great balance, elegance, freshness, with good extract and structure for long term aging (5 to 15 years). Blend of Sangiovese (80%) and Cab Sauv (20%). My rating: 92/100
4-Cepparello, IGT Toscana Isole & Olena (Group score: 2 pts) 106$
Finished last in the tasting with only 2 points. A classic, more austere, expression of Sangiovese. The Sangiovese aficionado will enjoy this solid effort. High acid, firm tannins with a solid structure for long term aging (10 to 20 years). 100% Sangiovese My rating: 91/100
5-Magari, Bolgheri Ca’ Marcanda (Group score: 12 pts) 83,25$
This Bordeaux blend is deeply coloured, with hints of ripe field berries, black licorice, forest floor with some vegetal overtones. A very well structured red, with fresh acidity and good extract. Perfectly balanced with excellent aging potential (5 to 15 years). Bordeaux blend of Merlot (50%) Cab Sauv (25%) and Cab Franc (25%). My rating: 93/100
6-Luce IGT Toscana Frescobaldi (Group score : 12 pts) 120,25$
Colour is quite pronounced. The youthful nose displays new oak, graphite with some fruit. A full bodied wine with solid/firm tannins, great extract and excellent potential (10 to 20 years). Hint of volatile acidity. A bit on the firm side. Blend of Merlot (55%) and Sangiovese (45%). My rating: 91/100
7-Podere San Cristoforo, Maremma (Group score: 7 pts) 64,25$
My favourite wine but not by much! Petit Verdot is a blending grape (in Bordeaux), It usually produces dark coloured wines with high acid and firm tannins. Traditionally used in small amounts to beef up Bordeaux reds. Dark berries, graphite and floral hints. Solid structure and good extract for long term aging (5 to 15 years). 100% Petit Verdot! My rating: 94/100
8-Poggio di Guardia IGT Toscana (Group score: 13 pts) 63$
This young new domaine is located near Radda in Chianti at very high altitude (700m) to maintain freshness in these global warming times. The wine is fresh and firm, reminiscent of classically styled Tuscan reds. The nose displays some ripe berry fruit, black licorice and graphite. Firm tannins and high acidity for long term aging (5 to 15 years). Blend of Merlot (50%), Cab Franc (30%) and Rebo (20%) (cross of Teroldego and Merlot). Should be available at SAQ.com April 30th and in stores May 7th. My rating: 92+/100
Photo: Poggio di Guardia