2009 Le Difese, 3rd wine of Sassicaia

Well if you wanted to try Sassicaia without having to break the bank, then this wine is definitely for you.  Le Difese is actually the third wine from the infamous Tenuta San Guido estate, made of 70% Cabernet, and 30% Sangiovese.  The wine is absolutely delightful on its own and can accompany a wide array of food including the usual Italian delicacies of pizza, pasta, or risotto, but don’t be afraid to try it with some spicy jerk chicken or just an old-fashioned burger grilled on the Weber.  You will be pleasantly surprised   There are velvety tannins of cherries and blueberries with slight herbal undertones and is classic Supertuscan in every sense.  Le Difese is an extremely elegant wine which is yummy now, but can certainly keep for at least 5 years.  At a really affordable price, you will struggle to find an Italian red of this quality for any less, especially from such a heralded estate as Sassicaia.  This in my opinion is highly underrated and thankfully winemaker Sebastiano Rosa has made an outsanding wine in 2009 which everyone can drink.  Hopefully it stays relatively cheap, but as more and more people find out how good it is, I doubt it will.  The second wine Guidalberto is also worth a try but costs almost double, while the big daddy, Sass, trades close to 10 times more in price depending on vintage.  Leave the Sassicaia for the investment.  This is one to drink everyday. Buy it by the case load.  Available in the UK at Jeroboams, for about 15£ per bottle, and in the US for about 30$ per bottle at a few retailers, (try Zachys in NY).

My rating 92pts.

I have been very busy lately, but  have not stopped finding exciting wines to try.  I have found some real gems, extraordinary nebbiolos, cotes du rhone, and alsace pinot gris all come to mind.   New posts and reviews coming shortly…Stay tuned

2005 Domaine Caillot Bourgogne Blanc “Les Herbeaux”

I haven’t posted a review in a while, and I apologize. Nonetheless after sipping on this wonderful white from Burgundy, I felt compelled to share my thoughts on this gorgeous 2005 Chardonnay.

This is classic white Burgundy but at a reasonable price. Domaine Caillot is located in the village of Meursault, notorious for its luscious, sumptuous Chardonnay. This wine does benefit from some bottle age being a 2005  and the Caillot Bourgogne Blanc does not disappoint.  I’ve heard that good white wine can take on more character with some age, and have even been suggested to decant some age worthy whites.  This Caillot 2005 Bourgogne Blanc has creamy, smoky texture, with coffee bean aromas and apricots and honey on the tongue.  The wine melts in your mouth and if tasted blind could be mistaken for high-end Meursault.  In fact let’s just call it “Meursault in Disguise.”  This is definitely white Burgundy and Old World Chardonnay in its element.  Not too oaky or monstrous like some Chards from Australia and California. This is 100% Burgundy and divine.   I am not a big white wine drinker, but that might change after trying this.   You can find Caillot’s Bourgogne Blanc for a mere 12-15£ in the UK  (try Bordeaux Index) and 20-30$ in the US.  my rating 90pts

1997 Terrabianca Campaccio

This has always been of my favorite Italian wines, and was one of the first wines that I was introduced to years ago before I knew anything at all about wine. It is a classic in SuperTuscan style, blending 70% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.  I was fortunate to be given a bottle of the 1997 vintage from a friend, and it did not disappoint.  Thanks Spike. Its best years might be behind it, but the wine still has lovely floral aromas and undertones with a silky finesse in the taste.  It is wonderful to drink a nice wine with some bottle age on it as the tannin has now disappeared, but the palate is still fruity with a hints of raisin and espresso.   What is remarkable is for a wine of such quality recent vintages of Terrabianca Campaccio are still very affordable. It can be found for about 20£ in the UK and $30-40 in the US depending on state.  Unfortunately not many retailers in the UK sell it, but try Great Western Wines.  It is widely available in the US.   my rating 90pts

2008 Terredora Aglianico

If you are a looking for a nice alternative Italian red wine to the more popular and overly marketed Tuscan and Piedmont wines then this one might be for you. There is much more to Italian wine than Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, Chianti or Supertuscan.  I have recently stumbled upon the wines of Southern Italy of which there is some seriously good wine being made.  What is even more fantastic is the wines are not expensive at all. Sure there are some that are, but for the most part the region represents very good value in reds and whites.

One of Campania’s most popular red varietals, Aglianico, is a wonderful black grape which actually originated in Greece.  This 2008 Aglianico from Terrodora is absolutely splendid, and a classic example of the varietal to try.  Think dark, bubbly strawberries and mocha in the glass.  Soft, elegant, and not too much alcohol or over ripeness.  In one word, yummy.  And at only 10£/$16 a bottle you will struggle to find an Italian red of this quality at this price.  In fact I’ve had wines much more expensive that aren’t nearly as good.  The reserve version of Aglianico, called Taurasi should also be sought out.  Terredora’s 2004 Taurasi is supposed to be a real jewel of a wine, but costs a little more.  I haven’t actually tried any YET,  but I am sure Taurasi is called the Barolo of the South for a good reason.   The whites are also worth a try. My reviews to follow in due course. my rating of 2008 Terredora Aglianico,  92 pts. If you see it buy it by the caseload, in fact I just did.   It will pair very well with a grilled ribeye steak or just a plain old fashioned burger. BREAK OUT THE  WEBER BBQ!!!! WHO CARES IF IT IS WINTER. MINE IS ALWAYS READY TO GO!..Terredora’s wines are available in the UK at Jeroboams and Uncorked.  And in case you  are a wine advocate follower, they like it too:


Wine Advocate # 189
Jun 2010
Antonio Galloni 90 Drink: 2010 – 2014 $12-$15 (18)
The estate’s 2008 Aglianico is a gem of a wine. Wild cherries, dark raspberries, spices, leather and licorice come together beautifully in this medium-bodied red. Floral notes waft out from the glass on the finish. There is nothing fussy here, just a flat out delicious bottle of unoaked Aglianico readers are sure to enjoy. Even better, this is a terrific value. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2014. These new releases from Terredora are among the most impressive I tasted. From top to bottom these are serious wines readers will not want to miss. The 2009 whites, all of which are aged in steel, reflect the rich, generous style of the vintage, while the 2004 Taurasis are simply off the charts.

2007 La Massa

This 2007 La Massa is solid Tuscan blend of 70% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a very nice red, rustic in style, and will probably get better in the bottle.  It is not overly fruity, smooth and Bordeauxesque in the nose.  The wine almost reminds me of one of the Cru Bourgeois from the Medoc.  This is due to the owner, Giampaolo Motta’s fascination with Bordeaux which makes La Massa a true undervalued wine in Italy.  I have to admit though that the 2006 La Massa which I reviewed  a while back here is still more impressive:


The 2007 vintage marks the first vintage where proprietor has eliminated Sangiovese from his top wine Giorgio Primo, and use only his best Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot for it.  All the Sangiovese now goes into the second wine La Massa and thus more La Massa and less Giorgio Primo.  Giorgio Primo review to follow, but it is a wine to definitely look out for as it no doubt will get more expensive.  You can still find it for about 50-75$ a bottle, but not for long.

The 2007 La Massa is a lovely wine, but not as good as the 2006 so if you can still find some ’06 at a reasonable price definitely grab it.  La Massa is widely available for only about 15£ in the UK and $20-25 per bottle in the US.  Try Decorum Vintners in London and Sokolin in New York. my rating 89pts, drink from 2011-2015

Antonio Galloni from Wine Advocate:

Wine Advocate # 184
Aug 2009
Antonio Galloni 91 Drink: 2009 – 2017 $22-$30 (28)
The 2007 La Massa reveals unusual harmony and grace. This expansive, generous La Massa offers plenty of perfumed red fruit, licorice, new leather and spices in a seamless, opulent style. The wine’s balance and sheer class are impeccable. In 2007 La Massa is 70% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon that spent 12 months in oak, 10% new. La Massa remains one of the top relative values in Tuscany. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2017.

2006 Mas d’en Gil Priorat Coma Vella

Happy New Year!  I have tried some wonderful wines over this holiday season of which I will be sharing my thoughts and reviews with you over the next coming weeks. I bought a  parcel of Spanish wines recently from a Christie’s auction, and have discovered some real gems most notably from Ribera del Duero and Priorat.  This Priorat, Coma Vella is a gorgeous blend of predominantly Grenache, Cabernet, Carignan and Syrah. While Grenache is the major focus here, the Cabernet smoothly bounces off the glass much like a Napa Cab Blend does, but softer.  This is a superb, big and luscious red from Spain, and should be sought out.  The Priorat wines don’t have much of a following, which is a shame.  As Grenache is such a big component of most Priorats, I would say they are kind of like the Chateauneuf du Pape of Spain?  I love Chateauneuf du Pape, and it looks like I will enjoy Priorat as well. my rating 92 pts. Coma Vella is available in the UK at Waitrose for about 23£ per bottle.  In the US you can find it for about 40-50$ per bottle.

link to winery website:   http://www.masdengil.com/

1997 Podere Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione


 (Alongside the magnificent Il Carbonaione is another one of my Supertuscan favorites, Terrabianca Campaccio, but review on that wine to follow in due course.  I put that bottle in the photo for size comparison to the double magnum.

I was fortunate to buy a Double Magnum of this gorgeous Super Tuscan at a Christies auction a couple of years back for a very affordable sum of 65£.  Bear in mind a double magnum is 3 liters so 4 bottles, also known as a Jeroboam.  Big bottles are tons of fun and actually keep the wine better provided the bottle is stored properly.  This one has been in my Eurocave for about 3 years, and was bought from a pristine cellar.   Well I finally decided to crack open this beauty with my family up in snowy, Newcastle a few weeks ago.  We had it with traditional Caribbean cuisine: Jerk, Brown Stew and Curry chicken with Rice and Gungo Peas.   It actually went very well and would’ve been fine on its own.  Il Carbonaione is made from an ancient clone of Sangiovese known as Lamole which is unique to the hills of Greve in Chianti.  The wine is luscious, and surprisingly still bursting with fruit even after 13 years in bottle.  It could easily be kept for another 5 years or longer, but was absolutely delicious now.  Hints of cherry and cloves on the nose and smooth velvety tannins.  You can find more recent vintages of this wine for about 30£ in the UK and between $50-60 in the US.   It is not what I would consider an inexpensive wine by no means, but compared to the likes of other big name SuperTuscans like Sassicaia, Tignaello, Solaia, and Ornellaia, it looks like very good value.  These retail for 2 and 3 times more per bottle.  If you are looking for a special Italian red wine to share this holiday season, without spending a fortune well Il Carbonaione might not be a bad choice.  My rating  94pts.    Antonio Galloni from Wine Advocate also likes it:

In the Cellar # 0708
Jul 2008
Antonio Galloni 93 Drink: 2008 – 2017 $49-$70
The estate’s 1997 Carbonaione is sweet, ripe and full-bodied, but with plenty of supporting structure underneath. Complex notes of tobacco, leather, sweet herbs and spices have developed in bottle, rounding out this soft-textured, caressing Carbonaione. As is often the case with wines from warm vintages, provenance is especially critical. Impeccably stored bottles have as much as another decade of prime drinking ahead of them. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2017.



2008 Altesino Rosso di Altesino

From this stellar Brunello producer, comes this lovely 2008 Rosso di Altesino wine which is perfect as an everyday red.  It is made with about 75% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet.  Luscious fruit on the palate with hints of cinnamon and cherry on the nose. This is an extremely affordable quaffer which will leave you wanting for more.  Spaghetti Bolognese anyone?   Widely available in the US for only $15-20 a bottle and in the UK at Bordeaux Index for under 10£  per bottle.  Highly recommended.  Buy this by the case load.  My rating 89 pts.



2007 Meo-Camuzet Marsannay

I have never really been a big fan of red burgundy, but have decided recently to give it another chance.  I just want to make sure that I am not missing something special.  In the past if I was going to buy a Pinot Noir, I would look to the big new world Pinots from Central Otago in New Zealand or the big muscular reds from Oregon and California.   For the most part red burgundy that I’ve tried has reminded me of that awful cough syrup you were forced to take as a child, like Robitussin in the US.  I don’t know why but that has been the impression I’ve always had.

Now let’s turn to this simple red burgundy from Meo-Camuzet’s production in Marsannay.  Let’s make no mistake, good red burgundy is not cheap.  This one sells for 25£/40$ a bottle, and this is actually considered decent value in relative terms.  I was actually pleasantly surprised with the strawberry aroma and smooth aftertaste.  The wine is not too light, but could be bigger for my palate.  Decent color, subtle rich tones and fruity.  I am pleased with the taste, and am curious to try more red burgundy from different regions.  I bought this particular wine from Uncorked in London. (Thanks Zoe. )Burgundy is a very complicated area, which is another reason why I have stayed away.   I am still not convinced but wanting for more. Surely there must be a bigger style Pinot Noir from Red Burgundy which can stand up to the likes of Felton Road, Amisfield, and Mount Edward from New Zealand.  I still prefer these for the moment…Stay tuned though as more to follow on this subject… My rating 87pts..

Allen Meadows:

An earthy red berry fruit nose introduces round, rich, supple and relatively forward flavors that possess enough depth to be interesting on the acceptably long and delicious finish. Drink 2010+.

85-87 points, Allen Meadows, burghound.com, Jan 2009

Link: http://www.meo-camuzet.com/pages/fiches.php?lang=en&vin=marsannay