2005 Isole e Olena Cepparello

This is rich and savory on the nose with gamey scents adding depth to the notes of straw, mineral, and floral tones that float above a nice bed of strawberry fruit. This has great sweetness yet remains transparent and ethereal on entry, with an elegance that extends across the palate.  The flavors are quite earthy and leathery with fine mineral tones, while the fruit remains astringent and red through the palate and onto the finish. The overall feel in the mouth is one of freshness and precision, with a nice spicy tone on the finale, which could be a bit longer. All in all a beautiful bottle of Sangiovese. 93pts

2006 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico

The nose here is a bit on the sweet side with notes of figs and milk chocolate floating above a bed of roasted plum and cherry fruits. On entry this shows lots of acid, but it is well-buffered by lots of sweet fruit. Notes of leather, limestone, and earth are all subsumed in bitter cherry fruit with lovely purity and unusual elegance across the mid-palate. The finish is a bit short with a gentle fade of bitter cherry and earth. A lovely and distinguished wine but the price is a bit steep. 91pts

2006 Geografico Montegiachi Chianti Classico Riserva

Sweet and smoky on the nose, like an old pipe, with touches of cocoa, dried spice, and earth surrounding very pure and light raspberry fruit. On entry this offers slightly chalky tannins, but they are balanced by sweet fruit, yielding a rather high-toned, light feel. The flavors are very fresh and full of crisp strawberry tones that are ultimately a bit simple but lusciously juicy on the palate and finish. This offers fine length and real finesse on the backend with hints of soil and game adding contours to the wonderfully bright fruit. An all-around winner of a style that is a bit unadorned but wonderfully proportioned. 91pts

2006 Monte Bernardi  Sa’etta Chianti Classico Riserva

This has quite an unusual nose with lots of smoky wood tones, lightly sweet nutty notes and hints of dried porcini and aromatic roots. Rich and smooth in the mouth, with an unusual black olive note up front that cuts through the dark fruit. This is fairly tannic with tannins that are a bit woody. The fruit is pretty sweet, and well into the blackberry end of the spectrum, but the tremendous minerality of the mid-palate cuts right through the sweetness. The tannins intrude on the finish, which has a bit too much sweet coffee cream tones that almost dominate the red currant fruits on the finale but this may but this just may need a year or three in the cellar to sort itself out. A wine that shows great promise. 90pts

2007 La Massa IGT

60% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet

Integrated sweet wood, smoke, tree bark, cocoa and tobacco tones add depth and complexity to the plummy fruit. This enters with a fair amount of weight and density with lots of sweet, dark, ripe fruits that have the sweet/sour edge of tamarind. The fruits are slightly stewy but still nice and fresh with good acidity and fine, ripe tannins. This finishes with a floral flourish and chewy tannins that help to offset the red currant fruit, tobacco and cocoa of the moderately long finish. A bit atypical but still complex and rich. 90pts

2005 Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico

Smoky and leathery on the nose with nuanced tones of campfire, roasted herbs, a touch of meat, and bitter cherry fruit.  On the palate this is nicely ripe and very well-integrated with red cherry fruit supported by good acids/mineral tones. There are lovely inner mouth perfumes of flowers and herbs. The tannns are ripe and add the juicy, ripe feel of this. The finish is a bit subtle and while there is a nice lingering finale of fruit and herb, it drops away a bit. A lovely bottle of Chianti. 90pts

2007 Acorn Sangiovese Alegria Vineyards RRV

Wood, wet earth, twizzler candy, some sandy and chalky soil tones all blend on the nose.  This starts out feeling quite soft but quickly gains the snap of good acidity and astringent tannins that help to frame the slightly dark, but still transparent black raspberry and cherry fruit. It’s a touch hot on the palate, and that serves to accentuate the spicy nature of the wine. The finish has a bit of wood tannin, and is a bit hot but offers nice purity to that wild raspberry fruit tone. There is a very nice vein of mineral and bitter almond skin running through the palate and on to the long finish. 89pts

2007 Sausal Sangiovese Alexander Valley Estate

This almost explodes from the glass with aromas of rust, wet rocks, stemmy wood, mint, and integrated wood spice sweetness and with a touch of vanilla accenting the red cherry fruit.  In the mouth this is rich, a bit soft but very broad on the palate. There’s a ton of sweet fruit, probably helped out by a bit of sweetness from the oak treatment, though the oak is very well integrated. It’s a pretty big wine with a round, lush mouthfeel that is much more fruit driven than the nose but even with all that fruit there is the telltale bitter almond note of Sangiovese cleaving it’s way through the fruit and emerging on the long, succulent and refreshing finish.  This is a wine for steaks or sausages, not pasta, and finishes a touch hot but is fun to drink. 89pts

2005 Nipozzano Chianti Classico Riserva

Floral on the nose with lots of jammy, yet transparent fruit, hints of asphalt and roasted vegetables add nice detail and interest. On the palate this has silky smooth tannins that add some volume in the mouth, but this is a classic, austere style of wine. It’s ripe, but still drying, particularly on the finish. The fruit however, is remarkably pure and totally Sangiovese. This screams for fatty, lightly flavored meats. A delightfully refreshing wine in this style, which will show much better with food than on its own. 88pts

2008 Caposaldo Chianti –  Composite cork

Nice, typical, cherry, astringent mineral, smoky soil tones and herbs on the nose.  Lovely entry, soft yet with freshness and integrated acids. Just a touch of soft tannin adds a bit of flesh to the mouth. The flavors are a bit subdued, but with lovely raspberry tones and just a hint of cherry. There is a nice acid/mineral grab on the mid-palate and a touch of fleshiness that leads to a lovely, slightly astringent, slightly almond-toned finale of pretty good length that ends with notes of spice and cherry fruit.  Really nice straight Chianti. 87pts


2005 Fonterutoli Chianti Classico

Smoke and tar on the nose with the bell pepper, leafy tones and black currant fruit of Cabernet Sauvignon over milky oak tones. Rich and smooth on entry with the added density and flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is well-integrated but obvious. There’s a touch of wood spice here, and some wood tannins that poke out on the finish, which is a bit short, but shows rich blackberry and black cherry fruit. A well-made wine, but not my style of Chianti. 87pts

2005 La Brancaia Chianti Classico

Muddy, plummy and sweet on the nose with a very ripe (unusually so for a 2005) and caramelly nose.  In the mouth this is very cherry-fruited with a little sweetness right up front, good depth across the palate with nicely balanced acids that pop on the finish. Overall this is pretty one-dimensional and will turn pretty acidic once the sweetness, probably from wood, fades. 85pts

2008 il Molino di Grace Il Volano  IGT Toscano 75% Sangiovese/ 25% Merlot Nomacorc

Smoky, smells like there’s a bit of oak here but the producer states only SS. A bit hot, lots of sweet, prune and choco notes from the Merlot are married to more typical leather, red fruit, herb, and astringent soil tones from the Sangio.  On entry this is slightly soft, decent acids kick in on the mid-palate, as do some minor tannins, all of which help to add a bit of needed flesh to the rich, soft, slightly anonymous fruit on the mid-palate that blends notes of both Merlot and Sangiovese but ultimately carries more of the prune character of the Merlot. The finish is short and clean, if a touch hot.  A good Pizza wine. 83pts

Super Sangiovese - Perfect for your dinner table.

2006 Geografico Montegiachi Chianti Classico Riserva
This has flavors that are very fresh and full of crisp strawberry tones that are ultimately a bit simple, but lusciously juicy on the palate and finish. This gains hints of soil and game on the finish, adding contours to the wonderfully bright fruit. An all-around winner of a style that is a bit unadorned, but wonderfully proportioned.

2005 Castell'In Villa Chianti Classico
Smoky and leathery on the nose, with nuanced tones of campfire, roasted herbs, a touch of meat, and bitter cherry fruit.  On the palate this is nicely ripe and very well-integrated with red cherry fruit supported by good acid/mineral tones, with a lovely, lingering inner mouth perfume of flowers and herbs.  A lovely bottle of Chianti.