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Italian wine was probably the largest section of the WS Grand Tour. Some excellent wines were poured and there were so many that I missed. Here are my notes:

1998 Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino Villa Poggio Salvi- A young, young wine in need of much aging. A beautiful complex fruit filled nose. Not showing much on the palate now. Some cherry and dusty notes. 90-91.

1997 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerratalto- WS recently gave this quasi reserve BdM 97 points. Parker only gave it 88. This was my favorite Italian. The essence of "Tipicita" as they call it in Italy. Classic Sangiovese nose of violets and cherry. Interesting rich black cherry, crushed grape skin and chocolate notes. A big full bodied wine with a long caressing finish. Needs time for the tannins to settle but drinking well now I thought. 95-96.

1999 Fesina Toscana Fontalloro- 100% Sangiovese Supertuscan. Smooth, integrated and elegant. 92-94.

1999 Fontodi Toscana Flaccianello- Another 100% Sangio Supertuscan. The nose was a little simple but the full bodied flavor made up for it. Luscious cherry and violet notes. This is only being poured in Chicago. 91.

2000 Castello di Fonterutoli Toscana Siepi- 50% Merlot and 50% Sangiovese. Bitter fruit with a mild tannic structure. Medium bodied. Disappointing based on my expectations and the WA score of 92. 89-90.

1999 Ornellaia Bolgheri Ornellaia- WS's wine of the year in 2001. This wine was not scheduled to be poured and will probably not be in Atlanta or LA. A huge improvement since the last time I had it a year ago. More open, richer and generous. Dry firm tannins, smoky cherry notes and a long finish. Left me wanting more. 93+.

2000 Terriccio Toscana Tassinaia- A spicy berry nose. Rich and mouthcoating with cherry notes. Not sure of the blend. Full bodied with firm tannins. 92-93.

1998 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto- Enoselsa raved about this wine. It had a sweet cherry nose. Multilayered wine. Medium bodied but it just kept flowing and flowing on the palate. Mushroom, currant and red fruit notes. 92-94.

1999 Marcarini Barolo Brunate- A wet earth nose. This full bodied wine had notes of cherry, spice and cedar. Dry tannins. Give it time. 92.

1998 Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Cannubi- The namesake winery for the region. This single vineyard bottle also needs time. A nose filled with dark chocolate and herbs. Full bodied with dried fruit notes and a dry but long finish. 91.

1999 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne- Will not be in Atlanta. Sweet candied fruit nose. Medium to full bodied with notes of berry and dark fruit. Caressing tannins and a long but dry finish. 91-93.

1999 Paolo Scavino Barolo Carobric- Will not be in Atlanta. A blend of grapes from their 3 vineyard areas. A coffee and blackberry nose. Wet earth and leather notes in this full bodied wine. Very young. 92+.

2000 Maculan Veneto Fratta- 54% Cabernet and 46% Merlot in this unfined and unfiltered wine. My wife was simply ecstatic to see and talk to the owner Fausto Maculan again (he was less happy to see me since I spilled wine all over his booth). A rich concentrated wine with sweet black fruit, chocolate and cassis notes. Nobody does it better in Breganze. 92+.

1997 Masi Amarone Vaio Armaron- One of the most interesting wines of the tasting. This will not be in LA but those in Atlanta should seek it out. A huge portlike nose. Massive structure in this full bodied wine. Bitter prune and blackberry notes. This wines screams to be paired with Osso Bucco. 92-93.

Those in Atlanta should make sure to try the 1999 Isole e Olena Cepparello which will only be poured there while the 2000 Argiano Solengo will only be in LA.

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Nice notes VM. I didn't taste nearly the number that I wanted to, but I have a couple of Italians to add:

1998 Pio Cesare Barolo Plummy, med body, lively. It exploded flavor in my mouth. Very enjoyable, even at this young age. Not too much tannin, probably has 8-10 years of life in it, but probably doesn't have much more than that. 91-92 points. WS gave this 92, RP much lower (I think 88)

2000 Morgante Nero D'Avola A Sicilian wine suggested by a friend of mine. My notes say "Nero is a great description" It's a huge almost black wine with powerful tannins. My impression was of black licorice wine. 14% alcohol. ?88-89 points?

1999 Luce della Vite Toscana Beautiful wine, showing well now. Chewy fine tannins, very acidic. Georgeous. Can age for years. 90pts?

2000 Gagliole Rosso Toscana 13.5% alc, a blend of Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc. I was shown this one because a friend who works for the importer knows I'm a bordeaux fan. This one reminded me of a medium bodied youngish left bank wine. i'm not sure about the aging potential. It was pleasing at the time. No rating, it was too late in the night to judge this kind of subtle wine. I remember thinking that you could taste the Franc, somewhat similar to the St Clement Orropas (which I very much enjoyed).

Lighten up, Francis.
Great notes! great wines! I have several of these (Giacosa, Sandrone, P Scavino, Pio Cesare, Macarini and the Masi - or at least a Masi - not sure if its the one that was served) and am glad you liked them (as well as you seemed to). I have many of these in 96 and 97 vintages as well and a few 95s. To date I have only opened some 97s - such as the Carobric (December). While the power and complexity was unmistakable - it drank very young and tannic and was not nearly giving all it had. I'm surprised that these wines - particualrly the barolos and the Flaccianello - were drinking well at all so young...

I spent my wad over on your "the best of the grand award" post so I will not repeat here. My scores for the wines we both tasted were within 1 point of each other with the following exceptions:

'98 Poggio Salvi. I gave it a 94 because of the richness of the fruit and approachability. Not typical but really tasty.

'99 Flaccianello. I gave it a 95. To me, not as structured as the 97 but again very forward a delicious. I am thinking this is becoming characteristic of the '99s.

'98 Bruno Giacosa Rocche dF. For me this wine is near perfect and I gave it a 99. Just a stunner.

'99 Sandrone La Vigne. I gave it a 96. More structured and backward than the neighboring Scavino and I plan on scoring a 6-pack of this on release.

'99 Scavino Carobric. I gave it a 95. Much more full bodied than the '98. Loved it.



"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese"

My impression, having had the '97 Flacianello on multiple occasions, is that it has a long life ahead of it with much upside potential. I would compare it to the 1988 Fontalloro which I have formed as my benchmark for how pure sangiovese that is aged on french oak progresses. The '97 Flacianello probably began life with better stuffing than did the '88 Fontalloro but it gives a good picture of the future potential. I am sitting on a half case, a mag and a 3.0 L bottle. I intend to open another in 2005.



"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese"
great tasting and nice notes!
Marcarini is a great Barolo for those who like earthy, aggressive, not easy to understand Nebbiolos, I had both Brunate and La Serra and the Brunate is the real thing.
'99 Fontalloro is among the few great Sangiovese of the last decade, I prefer it to the Flaccianello.
Like Eno I'd rate Giacosa Rocche quite higher than you, but it's just tastes, like the fact that myself and Baba do not have similar tastes and like very different wines, for example for me Siepi sucks, at least since '96, a dull, non distinguished, simple wine.
Interestingly enough, as I completed the cellar construction and re-racked the bottles, I discovered I have more Italian wines that I thought.

Any of you Italian wine freaks no about the '98 and '96 vintages of the Tassinaia? I bought a bottle of the '98 for $27 a few weeks back. I've since stumbled across a small load of the '96 vintage for $30 per.

Also, any notes on the Don Luigi '99 Molise Montepulciano would be greatly appreciated.

...gimme them babies, I love my babies...!
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I see that both WS and WA have rated a few of the Barolo from this thread within the last month. I found it interesting to compare their comments and scores to my notes on the wines posted back in May. Especially since the WA now uses Daniel Thomases for its Italian coverage and I am not familiar with his palate. Here are the scores:

1999 Marcarini Barolo Brunate
VM= 92
James Suckling= 93
Daniel Thomases= 86

1999 Paolo Scavino Carobric Barolo
VM= 92+
James Suckling= 93
Daniel Thomases= 92

1999 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne
VM= 91-93
James Suckling= 91
Daniel Thomases= 94

Not sure what to make of Mr. Thomases yet. I guess I just have to keep monitoring his scores.


[This message was edited by Vino Me on Nov 09, 2003 at 09:36 PM.]
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2000 Fonterutoli, Siepi, IGT

Tasted at an enoteca in the beautiful town of Montepulciano. Dark ruby red colour with a huge nose of plums, black cherry and cocoa. Full bodied, beautifully balanced wine with plum, black cherry, chocolate and cream flavours on a long finish. Excellent wine that is drinking very well now, but certainly won't fall apart anytime soon. 93 points.

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