Thursday, March 9, 2023

Sangiovese day in London

Massive and very informative tasting organized by Hunt and Speller in London, this event brought together over 100 producers of sangiovese from Tuscany, of course, as well as Romagna, Umbria, Marche and Basilicata. We learn a lot from the booklet distributed to the participants as well as from a masterclass dedicated to sangiovese from the Romagna region.

Today there are over 65,000 hectares of sangiovese planted in Italy, about 10% of all vineyards in the country, and it is therefore by far the most popular variety. It is featured in 112 DOC and DOCG as well as 88 IGT (indicazione geografica tipica, roughly the equivalent of the French vin de pays).

Its history goes back a long way: first mentioned in the XVII century, the name means "the blood of Jupiter", and it is attributed to monks from Romagna. Recent DNA research proves sangiovese is a cross of Ciliegiolo, a Tuscan variety with which is now frequently blended, and the almost extinct Calabrese di Montenuovo.

While sangiovese is mostly known because of Chianti and Brunello, it is the only variety planted on both sides of Apennines, originally by monks. Quality wines mostly to be found on hills. It is in Romagna that we find the oldest vines of the country, sangiovese plants that are over 90 years old.

Originally and for a long time sold in bulk, in the 1970s some producers began began bottling, looking for quality and enjoyment and not just calories and nourishing.

Now there are about 6000 ha of sangiovese in Romagna, mostly on clay soil. Prices still quite low but edging up as quality and recognition improve.

Walkaround tasting

Isole e Olena

2020 Chianti  Classico
Fruity, can feel the alcohol. Score 88

Cepparello 2019 IGT
Olena's battleship, powerful wine still young, with a complex and long finish. Score 90

Interesting story that of Isole and Olena, recently sold to a larger group.

Castello di Vecchiomaggio

Chianti Classico Guado Alto 2021 
A wine to be drunk young, fruity and straightforward, like a Chianti of the good old times. Score 90

Chianti Classico Riserva 2021
A sublime chianti with elegance, finesse, length and yet a strong personality. Score 92

Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2020 Le Bolle
Ready, strong structure, complexity and length, a classic in the true sense of the word. Score 93


Poggio Cerrino 2017 Brunello
Structured, still hard sensations prevail, need time. Score 92

Poggio Cerrino 2015 Brunello
This vintage is ready now. Score 93


Brunello 2018
Balanced and ready. Score 88

Brunello Riserva 2016
Old vines, complex. Score 91

Brunello Riserva 2012
Balanced and ready, very complex. Score 93

Brunello 2007
At its peak. Score 92

Tenuta Buon Tempo

Brunello 2018
Native yeasts only, large wood vat and French oak for 3 years. Score 92

Brunello 2015 Riserva
Ready now, a full, elegant complex wine, one of the best I tasted today. Score 94


Chianti Rufina Riserva 2018 vecchie viti
A round wine, their entry product falls easily in the space of excellence. Score 92

Chianti Classico Tenuta Perano Rialzi 2018
Round, complex and long. Score 94

Brunello Castelgiocondo 2018
A harmonious wine, a top Brunello. Score 96

Brunello Ripe al Convento 2017 Riserva
The best today, this wine has it all, intensity, complexity, length, balance. Score 97


Brunello 2014
Round, smooth, elegant. Score 93

Cava d'Onice

Rosso di Montalcino 2020
Blend from 11 plots, large Slavonian vats. Score 88

Brunello 2018 Colombaio
Only half an hectare of young vines: need to wait for this one. Score 90

Brunello 2015 Riserva
Pronto, mineral, sapid. Score 94

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