Wine Talk

Snooth User: vino in love

Wine from Tuscany - Where is your taste?

Posted by vino in love, Feb 26, 2013.

I was wondering which Tuscan wines you prefer. Mainstream Brunello di Montalcino DOCG and Chiani DOCG or are you more into less known Tuscan wines like Montecucco DOC, Vino Nobile di Montalcino DOCG or Morellino di Scansano DOCG? I'm only focusing on Sangiovese-based wines here - not on Super Tuscans like (Bolgheri DOC or Sassicaia DOC).

Do you think there is a difference in taste between lets say a Brunello and a Montecucco? I

Recently I went to a Tuscan wine tasting where I discussed this topic with a few people and now I'm looking forward to read your opinions on this :)


Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 26, 2013.

I know GregT thinks Brunello is overpriced, but I think I do taste a difference between it and Chianti Classico and the surrounding areas.  I went to a tasting with GregT at VinItaly about 1 1/2 years ago that was heavy on Morellino di Scansano and I was not hugely impressed--but I have enjoyed some of Banti's wines, so I have a few of those.  That was also when I first met EricGuido--his teeth were purple from tasting all day, a not uncommon occurrence apparently.  And it was he who poured me a really tasty Vino Nobile di Montepulciano that made me think that, if I could get him to direct my purchases, I would have top quality Sangio at Chianti prices--this was a 2001 and it had years to go before it was at its peak, even though we drank it November 2012. 

So when it comes to Sangiovese I'm a true democrat, as Rick Blaine would have said.

Reply by vino in love, Feb 26, 2013.

Did you know that every Brunello can be labeled Chianti? But I agree with you that there is a difference in taste - mostly because of the different terrains

Especially Montecucco and Brunello show some differences. I hear you with Morellino. I'm not a huge fan either. Not sure why but they hardly impress me. 

Vino Nobile is a "hidden secret" in my opinion. Often it's underestimated because of it's more we--known brother Brunello. I agree with GregT that Brunello is overpriced. It seems to be that most Brunello gets exported anyways. Brunello is in high demand because of all these wine critics who praised them over decades. This high demand also explains the Brunellopoli scandal from 2008. I think consumers should also look at Montecucco and Vino Nobile because they often offer better quality for less money.

Reply by Tom Wandeloski, Feb 26, 2013.

About three weeks ago, I tasted and reviewed a good value Sangiovese -  2006 Antinori Chianti Classico Peppoli.

I served this wine with a locally made Italian sausage and puttanesca sauce over homemade pasta, yummy!

Reply by GregT, Feb 26, 2013.

Fox - Brunello IS overpriced. That said, it doesn't mean it's not good. Some of the better Sangiovese wines I've had have been Brunello.

But really, who's aging Chianti Classico, or Chianti from anywhere to compare? Fact is, if you have a few with say, 20 years on, they can be outstandingly good. I discovered that a few years ago and wish I had been smarter in my youth! The addition of Merlot or Cab or Syrah can make a Chianti interesting when young, but not necessarily better. I'm agnostic about adding other grapes - the wine is what matters in the final analysis and if the wine can be complex, interesting, good, and develop with time, I don't really care all that much about what it happens to be made of. It's why I never understood the uproar when people were accused of adding something else to Brunello. Who cares?  Was it better? If so, that's all that matters. And BTW, if you're adding "Bordeaux" grapes, I'm not sure anyplace actually does them better than Tuscany!

Some of the better values from Tuscany used to be the Rosso di Montalcino wines, although even those are getting pricey these days.

Don't know - we drink a lot of these wines and I'm going to a tasting of Chiantis next week - my goal is to explore the difference between the different zones. Every time I've done that, I've come away more confused than enlightened, but we soldier on.

BTW, just came home from tasting a few dozen Pinot Noirs from some top Sonoma producers. Many nice wines but as always, the best PNs were Syrah.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 26, 2013.

I want a writeup of those PNs. 

Chianti has been all over the map for me, but I assume it's my lack of knowledge. 

Reply by Mike Madaio, Feb 26, 2013.

When you talk about Chianti in general terms, you kinda have to generalize towards the traditional style of Chianti Classico, otherwise it is hard to pinpoint a style. I've had CCs that are bigger and more modern than most Brunellos, but those really aren't made in a way that would be considered the Chianti style, which I would consider to be bright red fruit, high acidity, and a hint of dirt. It's lovely when you can find it.

Big fan of Vino Nobile too - a fuller-bodied, softer style without breaking the bank. Rosso di Montepulciano can be great value too when you can find it - since the Montalcino Rosso are typicaly overpriced too these days.

I find that Morellinos often lack the signature acidity that makes Sangio such a great grape.



Reply by JonDerry, Feb 26, 2013.

I've been off the Tuscans of late but have enjoyed pretty much the full spectrum of wines over the years, though not much of the higher end super Tuscans, though I own a little mini-vertical of Sassicaia, I haven't tasted any yet. Always have thought Brunello to be very accessible since aging is encouraged, and a lot of it done for you by the producers, it's often a softer, elegant wine that doesn't impose itself on your palate with harshness, but quite the opposite I've found it to have a soothing quality with tasty subtle cherry and brush/earthy flavors to it, while also pairing well with food. If only I had some 10+ year old Brunello's in the cellar. Truth be told, I've been craving a lot of stuff I don't have lately.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 27, 2013.

I age CCR, and it's worth the time. I drink a fair amount of Sangiovese, it just works with what I eat, though a lot of it serves more as table wine than something to write home about. I think you can find good value in Brunello at times, great deals with rossos, though as GT points out some have gotten pricy, but the sheer mass of Chianti produced ensures that there are always great values. Vino Nobile is a bit of a hit or miss proposition with many producers opting for a bigger style in search of a market.

Trying to discern the regional differences found in Chianti is challenging to say the least. Besides some broad stroke ideas, like Colli Fiorentini and Rufina are lighter bodied than Classico there are no real over arching ideas that seem to work, primarily because the region is so hilly with vineyard all over the place, at elevation, on hillside, on flats, facing west, facing east, etc; and then of course there are the various styles of wine produced. For me it really is a region where producer trumps all, and one of the last really large regions where it's remains affordable to experiment and make mistakes.




Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 27, 2013.

Problem with the producer trumping all is that I can't keep all the names straight!  On the other hand, it's pretty easy to experiment when the basic wine seems to be sub-$18 and the better wines sub-$30, but I think I need a guide if I'm going to go nuts storing affordable Chianti.  For some reason, I feel like I routinely do well with Brunellos that are $30-$40.  Although I am a bit put off by the press about the 2007s, only because they sound like they are too international.

I agree with Mike that the Morellinos can taste kind of flat, but I also find that some Chiantis can just be too acidic, esp for drinking on their own.  Since I usually open wine before the food hits the table, that tends to make an impression--I like a decent amount of acid in my wines, but like everything I want it in balance. 

EricGuido brought that really nice Vino Nobile to the dinner that GdP missed (funny how having GregT there meant that there was still plenty of conversation), but EG pointed out that subsequent vintages of the same wine got bigger and clumsier as the next generation tried to increase their "international" sales. That bottle was just starting to hum at 12 years of age and 2 hours out of the bottle. 

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