A Bumpy Road Indeed
Elio Grasso - Monforte
I've had a bit of a difficult time over the years with the wines of Elio Grasso, finding them excellent in the late 1980s-1990s, then less attractive through the early 2000s when the style, or perhaps it was just the weather at these warm vineyards, seems to have changed. The wines seem to have recently taken on a more elegant feel to them with a decidedly fresher palate profile.
Tends to have more sandy in soil, and is cooler than Casa Mate
Jammy fruit on the nose with a prune edge to the strawberry jam aromas that picks up subtly sweet and herbal rose petal note and a hint of cooked beetroot with some air. Broad with some tannin showing up before the acidity kicks in, this is a touch on the soft side full of ripe if slightly dull cherry fruit and packing considerable tannin. The tannin really clamps down on the finish and it's a bit on the dry side. Powerful but without finesse, though it does have a lovely core of limestone backed wild cherry fruit. 91pts
Spicy nose with deep earth, leather, tar and cherries in alcohol aromas. This is rather more classic than the Chiniera with incipient fungi and first floor aromas. Rich and round with riper tannins than the Chiniera, this has a lovely core of fruit, lightly spicy yet very aromatic in the mouth with tar, soil, and herb nuances framing the bitter cherry fruits. Really finely structured and balanced with excellent length, This has some palate staining depth of flavor and while it is a touch on the rich, soft side reflecting the vintage it is really finely crafted. 93pts
Lots of fine wild raspberry and strawberry aromas framed with some sweet vanilla and smoky cedary notes and a touch of fennel and rosehips greet the nose. Opulent and lush on the palate, this is packed with rich red fruits framed with a hint of coffee bean and some gentle herbal nuances. The oak is remarkably well integrated on the palate but does become more obvious on the finish with a drying center back of tongue quality to the tannins. Slightly chewy red cherry fruits on the palate, with some light mint and spice notes on the backend that drive the moderately long licorice laced finish that is cut short by the wood tannins, this is awfully good but the load of wood tannins is slightly troubling. 92pts
A little tight and herbal on the nose with lovely small cherry fruit, that really explodes on the nose showing a macerated edge and lovely leather and clay accents, with a slight hint of carob on the nose that grows in intensity, Fine acids greet the palate, with tannins showing a touch of roundness supporting lovely strawberry and tobacco laced fruit with wild bitter cherry notes. This is lovely with raspberry tinged fruit still very young but in an in-between phase. There’s lots of licorice on the backend and through the long finish, which shows some beet root. There’s lovely richness here with ripe tannins lending attractive tension to the elegant and long palate. No rush to drink this. 92pts