Friday, December 28, 2012

Quintarelli Amarone 2000

I've mentioned before the special place Amarone takes in my heart. Any chance to try Quintarelli should be cherished. The great man himself passed away this year, and the world is poorer for it.

Not as dark and broody as I was expecting.

Liquor-soaked raisins covered in chocolate with some meat behind it.

Awesome backwards and properly bitter. Intense sweet dried fruit mixed with plums and the most bitter of dark chocolate. Proper mole style. Chillies. Long. Powerful. Amazing. For such power to be so nuanced, for all that layered complexity to be so clear and pristinely structured is remarkable. 


Tasted 4 December 2012 at SWiG

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sassicaia Vertical

This was a treat. My boss was hosting a top flight Italian tasting and opened all the bottles at the office to make sure they were in good condition and give us a chance to try them. Sometimes it's not so bad being a wine-merchant.

Sassicaia 1988

I love 1988 as a vintage in a lot of places, particularly Champagne. Not had the chance to try many from Italy, so I was curious and not a little bit excited.

Lovely depth of colour still. Slightly paled with age.

Very cedar-y and leafy on the nose. Just underneath that is juicy cherry and cassis. Truffles.

Lovely, leathery and quite delicious. Texture is grainy and nuanced. Great length. Superb fruit purity, though I wish a touch more of the secondaries came through.


Sassicaia 1990

Bottle variation can be a blessing and a curse. This was a curse.

Darker but not by much.

Earthy, slightly animal nose. Of Brett? Should blow off. Doesn't blow off. 

Very tight. Something a touch off, sadly.

Can't rate.

Sassicaia 1999

Italy was blessed by some truly extraordinary vintages at the end of the last century and the beginning of this one. And with so much attention being paid to overhyped '97s, you could do worse than picking up some great '99s at pretty good prices. Not this, of course. This is stupidly expensive and never worth quite as much as you pay for it. 


Big, meaty, savoury nose of Parma ham and perfumed edges.

Palate is huge, juicy with cassis and cherries. Softening tannins but still with lovely grip and a touch of tactile bite. It gets leathery as it goes on, with great wood integration.


Sassicaia 2001

Another of those great Italian vintages. I would be very happy with a cellar full of '01s and '04s. 


Softer nose than 1999. Caramel notes and Ceps as well as dark forest fruits.

Beautifully integrated berry fruit that's wrapped tightly in cocoa and herbs. Forest floor. Soft right up until a bracing and gripping finish. 


All tasted 4 December 2012 at SWiG


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Monday, December 24, 2012

Barolo Granbussia Riserva Speciale 1978 Aldo Conterno

This was a bit of a genie out of the bottle wine. As you can see from my note, it absolutely astounded when first tried, but coming back to it shortly afterwards it was beginning to dumb down. Those first few moments, however, were magical.

Pale ruby and rust. Bright highlights. Very translucent.

Big, bursting nose of roasted cherries and oranges with cinnamon, wild forest, old wood (but not wet) and a lot of leather. Crunchy, piercing and brilliant.

Oh my god that's so fresh, elegant and youthful. Bright cherries in all shades - fresh and sour, stewed and sweet, dried and crunchy, with a tanned citrus acidity, brow-beaten leather, cedar and the sense of walking on crunchy dried pine needles in an autumn forest. Such a wonder of age and freshness. I'm speechless. The barest of sips and I could almost write a book about it.


Coming back to it and its age shows somewhat. Far more muted, earthy and secondary ***. The genie fled the bottle, perhaps, but still - quite the experience. 

Tasted at SWiG, 4 December 2012

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