An Afternoon in Tuscany 2018 Sydney

The 2015 vintage presents consumers with a tremendous opportunity to acquire fine, cellar worthy wines without spending a fortune. In 2015, the warm growing season yielded rich, sumptuous Chianti Classicos with great depth and intensity. Vintages like 2015 tend to raise the quality of entry-level wines. That is exactly what has happened with the 2015 Chianti Classicos. The finest examples can be had for $25-30 a bottle and will drink well for twenty years or more. Smart consumers will to snap up the best of these wines by the case. ANTONIO GALLONI

The release of the 2015 wines from Tuscany has seen the premier region of Italian wine surge back into the consciousness of the consumer. Everywhere you look there are reds brimming with that great combination of depth and ripeness of fruit alongside freshness and energy. Coming off the back of a dismal vintage in 2014, these wines couldn’t be more welcome for those who farm this breathtakingly beautiful region or the consumers addicted to the (mainly) sangiovese-based reds that have made such a lasting palate imprint over the years. On sangiovese, I’ve been mulling over what makes this varietal tick and it’s not easy to characterise. At it’s roots it’s rustic and honest and capable of delivering warmth of fruit, structure as well a connection to it’s landscape that’s unmistakable. But it’s also able to be “buffed-up” to produce some truly fine and noble reds the equal of any in Italy. Brunello or some of the so-called Super Tuscans are a case in point. Importantly, no matter how aspirational the wines become, the best of the breed never completely lose their “Tuscanosity” – my own invented word which compresses all the smells and feeling of being in the Tuscan countryside. So, it’s kind of the Tuscan version of terroir although Italians call it Genus Loci. Damp autumn leaves, pine, wood smoke and earth combined with a wild rustic beauty should all somehow be present in the wines. As Denis Denutto would say: “it’s the vibe of the thing”!

The most internationally visible sub-zone – Chianti Classico – has been front-and-centre and emblematic of the strength of the vintage. From every village of the zone you’ll find some of the best wines produced in the last decade or more. This offer assembles a small but formidable group of producers that we think epitomise the sentiment. Think Felsina, Rocca di Montegrossi, Monsanto, Castellare, Poggio Scalette, Poggerino and Jurji Fiore & Figlli. This selection is clearly not exhaustive and is missing a few notables like Querciabella, Monteraponi, Fontodi, etc but it covers the light and shade of styling, blending and maturation preferences.

Outside Chianti Clasico the story is the same and from the southern reaches of the Maremma to the coastal zones stretching north toward Pisa there is no lack of brilliant quality wines. To represent this cohort, we’ve chosen a couple of producers whose exhaustive pursuit of quality is the equal of any in Tuscany and, while the words Brunello or Chianti or Vino Nobile don’t appear on the label, they are worthy. These producers (Duemani and Petrolo) prove that while the world gravitates towards the traditional strongholds of Tuscan wine, the spirit that saw this region’s winemakers set the catalyst to revolutionise an entire wine nation in the 1970s is still very much at play in the less well known sub-zones.

The 2015 vintage has delivered the backdrop to indulge our passion for this region’s wines at their very best. It’s time to buy!

Michael McNamara