Episode 71 – 4th August 2021
A pair of stylish Tuscan Beauties
2019 Poggio alla Gazze dell’Ornellaia, Tuscany, Italy (£270.00 for 6 bottles (£45.00 each), www.goedhuis.com; £45.50, www.hedonism.co.uk).
I love the control that winemaker Olga Fusari manages to imbue in this wine. The 2018 was my favourite vintage to date, and then along comes this superlative 2019, and she shows an entirely different side to this wine. While the 2018 was lush and expansive, balanced by a dash of keen acidity on the finish, this 2019 is a racy, energetic, vinous contortionist on the palate. Made from 78% Sauvignon Blanc, 16% Vermentino and 6% Verdicchio, with half of the blend seeing oak, and a quarter of the overall mix being treated to new barrels, this is a complex and intricately assembled creation. While this oak treatment, in less experienced hands, could result in a disastrous outcome, Olga’s gentle handling means that it adds drama, faint patisserie notes and slightly more volume of flavour on the mid-palate. There was a 6% Viognier addition in the 2018 vintage and in 2019 there is none and this has certainly changed the character of this wine. This is one of the noblest and most fascinating white wines in Italy, and no matter who you drink it with you will be assured of gasps of amazement and wonder. The 2019 vintage of Poggio alle Gazze is a shockingly brilliant wine, and given it is a Sauvignon Blanc-based white, I like the way the balance in this vintage has resulted in a more linear feel overall as this seems to suit the recipe perfectly. The restraint, freshness and acidity are all incredible, and while this is a slimmer model than the lusty 2018, I absolutely love it, and in 2019 it is a genuine rival for all other Italian whites from every corner of this beautiful country!
2017 Chianti Classico Riserva, Tenuta di Arceno, Tuscany, Italy (£26.95, www.kwmwine.com; £27.00, www.thesipster.co.uk).
Tenuta di Arceno is located in the southernmost commune of Chianti Classico region of Tuscany – Castelnuovo Berardenga. Bordered by the ancient walled town of San Gusmè, this estate makes three Chiantis and three IGT Toscana wines, and I have very much enjoyed their kindly, entry-level, Merlot-dominant Bordeaux blend, il fauno, in the past. Having said this, my featured wine is a cut above, and if there is one bottle to get you in the mood for the rest of the portfolio at this estate, then this is it!
While I am very keen on this classy red wine, it is not what I call a ‘firework wine’. There is nothing showy, explosive or shocking about this creation – thank goodness. By contrast to so many freakshow Tuscan wines found on this famous region’s catwalk, Tenuta di Arceno’s portfolio is measured, calm and sophisticated. With a medium-bodied chassis, admirable control throughout the experience, a surprising amount of juiciness and completely controlled oak, this is a treat for the senses. If only more Chiantis could capture the grace and resonance of this wine. If you are a little disillusioned with the musculature, forestry and astringency found in hosts of wines that seem to garner much admiration and also nose-bleed scores from some of the world’s wine, commentators then find solace here.