WorldWine Tasting Report


Tuscany 2011 - Superbe Wines in a Doomsday Setting

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February is our Tuscany month, and this for the eleventh time in the last 15 years. Again, we were able to taste about 250 wines in the "anteprima" called events that took place between Florence and Montalcino, and the results were in part extraordinarily good. Especially the fact that we invited about 50 wineries to send us their top wines which were not on show during the event for an exclusive ENO WorldWine tasting was worth the effort. Among those wines were absolute highlights like the 2008 Solaia, the wonderful Veneroso from Ghizzano, the Ornellaia, the Bramasole, the Nambrot and many more. Wines which, sticking to the official program, we would not have able to present to you.

As a result of this tasting marathon we are able to publish four "dream wines", something that does not happen all too often in our tasting reports. But this result also contrasts remarkably whith the sense of crisis which prevails in Tuscany and which will be in the centre of a estensive interview with Marchese Piero Antinori, to be published within the next days on ENO WorldWine.

Picture-book region without a future? Dark clouds are hanging above Siena and the surrounding winegrowing areas. (photos: E. Supp)

Suffering particularly from that crisis - economy-wise and quality-wise - seems the Tuscan prestige appellation Brunello di Montalcino. Not only that this wine, which cost not less than 25 Euros only some years ago, is now offered from around 10 Euros onwards even in the expensive tourist shops of Montalcino, the quality of the wines has not really been convincing for the fifth year in a row.

Of course, during the recent tastings we found a small number of very good wines, but it is also a fact that until 2001 the average rating of Brunello in our tastings was always markedly higher that the overall Tuscan average - since then it is considerably lower.

Even the 2006 vintage which officially was acclaimed as superb, made no exception to this general tendency. Although we had - due to the tight schedule - limited our tastings to wines from cellars which had fared very better than the others in the past, we had to take note of numer of oxidized, too old and insufficient wines which, not only in our opinion should never have received the official recognition as Brunello.

The cacophony of voices can no longer be drowned by the beauty of the countryside.

The local consorzio, in its official documents, brags about growing export numbers (+ 15 % in volume), but carefully hides the fact that this growth had to be paid by a considerable price decline. The reasons for this development are as quickly specified as they are difficult to be resolved: the insufficient product conception and typing, the awry appellation system, the lack of image building, horrible marketing. and, and, and.

This is why the tastings this year, in spite of the great number of amazing wines - from outside Montalcino - left us with a sour tast. There were, yes, many superb wines, but there was also plenty of mediocrity. There is only one thing for sure: Tuscany has yet to invent its future.

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ENO WorldWine's 33 top scorers

*****Marchesi Antinori Srl (Firenze) - Igt Toscana Solaia 2008
*****Fattoria Isole e Olena-SIA Alto Chianti (Barberino Val D'Elsa) - Toscana Igt Cepparello 2007
*****Poggio Bonelli Srl (Castelnuovo Berardenga) - Chianti Classico 2007 Riserva
*****Caparsa (Radda In Chianti) - Chianti Classico Doccio a Matteo 2007 Riserva
***** +Ornellaia Spa (Castagneto Carducci) - Bolgheri rosso Ornellaia 2007
*****Marchesi Antinori Srl (Firenze) - Igt Toscana Tignanello 2008
*****Marchesi Antinori Srl (Firenze) - Igt Toscana Tignanello 2007
*****Fontodi (Greve In Chianti) - Chianti Classico 2008
*****Caparsa (Radda In Chianti) - Chianti Classico DOCG Caparsino 2007 Riserva
*****Castello della Paneretta (Barberino Val D'Elsa) - Chianti Classico 2007 Riserva
*****Fontodi (Greve In Chianti) - Chianti Classico Vigna del Sorbo 2007 Riserva
*****Tenuta di Ghizzano (Peccioli) - Igt Toscana Veneroso 2007
*****Fattoria San Giusto a Rentennano (Gaiole In Chianti) - Toscana Igt Percarlo 2006
*****Basilica Cafaggio Srl - Villa Cafaggio (Greve In Chianti) - Igt Toscana Cortaccio 2006
*****Marchesi Antinori Srl (Firenze) - Igt Toscana Solaia 2007
*****Fattoria San Giusto a Rentennano (Gaiole In Chianti) - Chianti Classico Le Baroncole 2008 Riserva
*****SIA Felsina Spa - Fattoria di Felsina (Castelnuovo Berardenga) - Chianti Classico Vigneto Rancia 2008 Riserva
*****Badia a Coltibuono-Tenuta di Coltibuono srl (Gaiole In Chianti) - Chianti Classico 2007 Riserva
*****SIA Felsina Spa - Fattoria di Felsina (Castelnuovo Berardenga) - Toscana Igt Fontalloro 2007
*****Fattoria Vignavecchia (Radda In Chianti) - Chianti Classico 2007 Riserva
*****La Braccesca - Marchesi Antinori (Montepulciano) - Nobile di Montepulciano Santa Pia 2006
*****Pian dell'Orino (Montalcino) - Brunello di Montalcino 2006
*****Castello di Monsanto (Barberino Val D'Elsa) - Igt Toscana Nemo 2006
*****Tenuta di Ghizzano (Peccioli) - Igt Toscana Nambrot 2006
*****Cerbaiola - G. Salvioni (Montalcino) - Brunello di Montalcino 2006
*****Castiglion del Bosco srl (Montalcino) - Brunello di Montalcino Campo del Drago 2006
*****La Braccesca - Marchesi Antinori (Montepulciano) - Igt Toscana Syrah Bramasole 2006
*****Castello di Meleto - Viticola Toscana Spa (Gaiole In Chianti) - Chianti Classico 2008
*****Agricola Querciabella Sas (Greve In Chianti) - Igt Toscana Camartina 2008
*****Moris Farms Srl (Massa Marittima) - Morellino di Scansano 2007 Riserva
*****Tenuta Vitanza (Montalcino) - Brunello di Montalcino 2006
*****Capanna di Cencioni (Montalcino) - Brunello di Montalcino 2006
*****Luce della Vite Srl (Montalcino) - Brunello di Montalcino Brunello di Luce 2006
*****Ciacci Piccolomini D'Aragona (Montalcino) - Brunello di Montalcino 2006
*****Corte Pavone - R. Loacker (Montalcino) - Brunello di Montalcino 2006
*****Poggio Antico Srl (Montalcino) - Brunello di Montalcino Altero 2006
*****La Braccesca - Marchesi Antinori (Montepulciano) - Igt Toscana Syrah Bramasole 2007
*****Il Poggione - Propr. Francheschi (Montalcino) - Brunello di Montalcino Vigna Paganello 2005 Riserva


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