Wednesday Wines – Episode 201 – 2021 Bolgheri


The ‘Bolgheri Boys’, Federico Moccia, Riccardo Binda and Nelson Pari, hosted the finest event of its kind on earth this week and here are my favourite wines. While I am used to tasting various Bolgheri wines – Sassicaia, Ornellaia, and the like – in isolation, this brilliant tasting put them all in the same arena.

Here is a list of the wines on tasting – Aia Vecchia, Argentiera, Caccia al Piano, Camarcanda, Ca’Marcanda, Campo alla Sughera, Campo alle Comete, Campo al Mare, Castello di Bolgheri, Chiappini, Dario Di Vaira, Donne Fittipaldi, Fabio Motta, Giorgio Meletti Cavallari, Grattamacco, I Greppi, Tirreni, La Madonnina, Le Macchiole, Michele Satta, Mulini di Segalari, Orma, Ornellaia, Podere Il Castellaccio, Podere Prospero, Poggio al Tesoro, San Felice Bell’Aja, Tenuta Campo al Signore, Tenuta Guado al Tasso, Tenuta Meraviglia, Tenuta San Guido and Tenuta Sette Cieli. 

And my favourite eight are listed below in alphabetical order. These are all wines with impeccable balance, and so rather than looking for wines of a style, given that the blends and oak regimes vary, I sought out wines with intrinsic class and equilibrium with scores that put them in Gold Medal territory (18.5/20 and above).  

2021 Caccia Al Piano, Bolgheri Superiore (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Cabernet Franc; UK distributor Howard Ripley) looked bright, clean and energetic with more fruit on display than many at this tender age. Silky and elegant, this is a terrific Cabernets creature!

2021 Baia al Vento, Bolgheri Superiore (100% Merlot; UK distributor Vinissimo UK) was somewhat of an anomaly with its 100% Merlot make-up. There was plenty of spice and perfume here, and I loved the way it retained its postcode throughout rather than slipping into ‘French’ halfway through the experience. 

2021 Grattamacco, Bolgheri Superiore (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 15% Sangiovese; UK distributors Berry Bros. & Rudd, Justerini & Brooks, Decorum Vintners) retained a terrific purity and energy with more active tannins and a medium-weight frame throughout. Delicious and racy with less brawn than many.

2021 Ornellaia, Bolgheri Superiore (53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot; UK distributor MMD Ltd) was every bit as good as it should be and a little more. One of the most exciting aspects of this tasting was seeing Ornellaia and Sassicaia stand shoulder to shoulder with the others; they both looked glamorous and elegant in equal measure. Refined and with much of the impact and complexity right at the back of the experience, this is a glorious wine.

2021 Il Castellaccio, Bolgheri Superiore (100% Cabernet Franc; Not currently distributed in the UK) was sublime; well, the second bottle was – the first was corked, but no one spotted it! Refined, long, willowy and stunningly perfumed, it was fascinating to taste a 100% Cabernet Franc. I would definitely like to see this wine again, so if any UK importers are looking for a jewel – here it is.

2021 Sassicaia, Bolgheri Superiore (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc; UK distributor Armit Wines) is a wine I know well, and you can read detailed notes in last week’s Wednesday Wines article. It looked every bit as ravishing today!

2021 Le Macchiole, Bolgheri Rosso (50% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah; UK distributor Lea & Sandeman) was even more expressive and layered than I remember it. I have admired this wine for many years, and it never disappoints. Intense but not heavy, remarkably forward, and lush, this is a mightily alluring wine, and no hair is out of place!

2021 Tenuta Sette Cieli noi 4, Bolgheri Rosso (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc; UK distributor SWIG Wines Ltd) is another wine I know well having followed it from day one. There is a freshness and dynamism here that sets it apart from the rest, and this makes it unique and noteworthy. Gentle, sensual and ethereal, this is a modern wine built for sensitive palates, and it never fails to impress.