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Bordeaux, Tuscany

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Tuscany



With its silver green olive trees, rolling carpeted hills and rows of pencil thin cypresses, the Tuscan landscape is truly beautiful. 

It's a province that's held a steady stream of tourists smitten since the Middle Ages.  And with a legacy of influence, power, ambition and art, both Florence and Sienna, still draw them in by the thousands to this day. 

Red or white?
The warm scrubby Mediterranean landscape favours reds, with savoury Sangiovese playing the starring role. 

White wine production is minimal due to the heat. There's the local Vernaccia di San Gimignano, as well as some Trebbiano and Vermentino.

Styles
The best Sangiovese strikes a very agreeable sleek, sappy, and savoury balance of bright red cherry and pomegranate fruit. Flavours go deeper and darker depending on where it's grown and what other varieties it's blended with. 

International varieties like Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon and Merlot make some exceptional, powerful wines on the gravelly Tuscan coastal plains of Maremma. 

Key areas to look for are Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Bolgheri. 

Grapes
Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet
Vernaccia, Vermentino, Trebbiano, Chardonnay

Favourite Producers
Isole e Olena, Querciabella, Montevertine, Monteraponi, San Giusto a Rentennano, Biondi Santi, Poggerino (Chianti)
Il Marroneto, San Filippo, Valdicava, Siro Pacenti, Pian dell'Orino, Stella di Campalto, Scopetone (Brunello)

 



Bordeaux



Maritime Bordeaux in the west of France is a large producer of quality wines. Although saying that there's a large gap between the top few who produce ultra-premium wines with hefty price tags (Lafite, Margaux, Y'Quem, Petrus….) and the rest of the field.

The Left Bank with its gravelly composition of soils is more suited to Cabernet Sauvignon while the Right Bank is made up more of clay and this is where Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate (as they are earlier ripens and don't mind getting their feet wet). In the middle, the Entre Du Meurs provides a slew of whites and reds made for early drinking.

On the right bank outside of St Emilion and Pomerol, there are a lot of well-priced merlots made that are more for early consumption. These come from the satellite Bordeaux regions.
The English built up a thirst for the better Bordeaux reds which they have coined 'clarets'. These are often tucked away for a while in their cellars to age and drunk with a few years under their belts. But not all Bordeaux is built for aging, so choose wisely.

Styles
For whites, there are the crisp and easily quaffed whites from Entre De Meurs, or the more ambitious oak-aged Semillion Sauvignon blends from Pessac Legonan. The queen of dessert wines, Sauternes can also call Bordeaux home. French oak maturation is a common thread amongst the elite reds, whites and sweet wines.

Grapes

White:Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot

Some of the most highly rated recent vintages are 2005, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2018.

Favourite Producers
Montrose, Pichon Lalande, Poitevin, D'Yquem, Coutet,
 


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  1. Monteguelfo Chianti DOCG 2020
    Monteguelfo Chianti DOCG 2020
    Wow! This was such a wonderful surprise and terrific value Chianti from the estates of Andrea Cecchi. Made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Colorino, the wine does not see any oak and has a tradiotional leaning and plenty of character, particularly for a wine at this price. The Cecchi family has 125 years of winemaking history and have some excellent vineyards at their disposal.

    It's a wonderfully vibrant & fresh expression of sangiovese that retains its fleshy and soft fruits throughout with a pillowy texture. Hints of black cherry and wild forest fruits with a touch of leather and some savoury dried herbs.
    2019
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
  2. Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico 2018 375ml
    Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico 2018 375ml
    Antinori is a name synonymous with wine in Italy, the equivalent of the royal family of wine in the country. Intimately involved in the wine industry of Italy since 1385, initially in Tuscany, but in more recent years their influence has grown seeing them involved in wine-making projects across the country.

    They were instrumental in the renaissance of Chianti and their portfolio of wines includes some stellar names such as Tignanello - the Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc blend that was most influential in the Super Tuscan movement, Solaia - the Cabernet dominant blend also from the Tignanello Estate and, of course, the beautiful Peppoli Chianti Classico. PWS

    The 2018 Chianti Classico Pèppoli is gracious and beautifully perfumed. Crushed red berry fruit, spice, blood orange, mint and orange zest give this silky Chianti Classico lovely flavor depth. I would prefer to drink it over the next few years. ANTONIO GALLONI, Vinous
    2018
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
  3. Fontaleoni Chianti DOCG 2019
    Fontaleoni Chianti DOCG 2019
    The 2019 Chianti Colli Senesi is a fresh, fruity red to drink now and over the next few years. Sweet red cherry fruit and floral notes are nicely lifted in this mid-weight, perfumed Chianti Colli Senesi. Best of all, the 2019 is a terrific value. ANTONIO GALLONI

    Red fruited, spicy and attractively perfumed. As with the previous vintage this is a Chianti that is all about uncomplicated pleasure and it is built for enjoyment and to be consumed with food. Cherry and aniseed notes, somewhat gritty tannins and a faintly bitter twist of cherry pith on the finish all adding a little more interest and making me really want some salumi and to be sitting in the sunshine somewhere in Tuscany. Not sure what to say here, this wine seems to always deliver on quality verse hip pocket damage in a serious way. Outstanding value. ROSCOE
    2019
    Cannaiolo, sangiovese
    Italy
    495
    Special Price $22.00 Regular Price $25.00 As low as $21.00
  4. Pandolfa Federico Sangiovese 2019
    Pandolfa Federico Sangiovese 2019
    There's a crunch to the air that you breathe at the highest point of the Pandolfa vineyards, some 300m above the gorgeous 17th century es-tate now owned by Marco Cirese and his wife Alice. It's easy to spot the Adriatic through the hilly terrain of Predappio which no doubt plays its part in the coolness of that breeze and the unique character of the wines from up here.

    The winery is a packed with stainless tanks, with some barrels tucked away in a dark corner. Most are large Slavonian 'Botti' but there are a few barriques. Thankfully here at Pandolfa they've worked hard to allow the fruit to do the talking, and we are all the better off for it.

    Mid-weight and airy crunchy fruit that sizzles along nicely. No oak or other artifact to encumber the lively and fresh palate. Juicy fruits and easy to slide into. PWS
    2019
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
  5. Fontaleoni Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2019
    Fontaleoni Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2019
    The 2019 Vernaccia di S. Gimignano is an absolutely delicious, every day white. Apricot, tangerine oil, mint, chamomile and yellow flowers all grace this tasty, supple Vernaccia from Fontaleoni. ANTONIO GALLONI

    Bright and somewhat crunchy with a direct line of fresh apple like acidity. Plenty to enjoy here with all the usual elements you would want from Vernaccia of this quality, apple fruit, lemon oil and white flowers along with just enough texture to provide a little tactile interest. Clean and clear cut and something I will be drinking a lot of as the weather starts to warm up again. ROSCOE
    2019
    Vernaccia
    Italy
    495
  6. Camporsino Chianti DOCG 2018
    Camporsino Chianti DOCG 2018
    It would be pretty hard to find a Chianti at this price and this quality anywhere in the market. It offers dark cherries, violets and leather all bundled up in a tight and delicious little package. There are tannins here (to be expected) but they are quite soft and while the palate is on the lighter side overall it delivers pure drinking pleasure in its red cherry, spice flecked palate. This is refreshing in both in price and quality. PWS
    2017
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
  7. Querciabella Mongrana 2017
    Querciabella Mongrana 2017

    Querciabella has been on a roll over the last few years. I can’t say enough good things about these wines, all of which merit your serious consideration. Querciabella doesn’t make a big deal about the fact that their vineyards are now biodynamically farmed, but then again they don’t have to? The wines speak for themselves.....  ANTONIO GALLONI

    This remarkable estate is the life-long passion of Sebastiano Cossia Costiglioni and before him his father, Guiseppe, who planted the first vines at the estate as a hobby in the early 1970's. Giacomo Tacchis and Guido di Santi were bought on in the formative years as winemaking consultants and directed the estate to biodynamics.

    Today the estate's technical direction is overseen by another of Italy's greatest winemaking talents in Luca Currado of famed Piemontese producer, Vietti, while day-to-day running of the estate's vineyards and winemaking is handled by a passionate team led by Dales D'Allesandro and Manfred Ing. New investment in the cellars over the past years will also continue to push the quality of the wines to new levels and maintain Querciabella at the top of the Chianti tree.

    Raised in concrete to retain varietal character and freshness the name of the game here is drinkability and Mongrana delivers that in spades with its cohort of plump, juicy, red and dark fruit characters, lovely perfume and gently giving tannins. It's built to over deliver on character while remaining fresh and inviting, it's most at home on the table with food, family and friends. This is a perennial favourite with us for its sheer deliciousness and the 2017 is no exception. A Little darker than last year's iteration but also with a dollop more lip-smacking fruit. Great little wine. ROSCOE

    2017
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
  8. Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    60% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Côt
    The Coteaux du Quercy AOC is one of France smallest wine region with only 400 hectares and less than 20 growers. It lies between Cahors & Gaillac. After the Phylloxera, the Quercy, once 50 000 hectares was almost destroyed. Roger Gisbert and his brave mates started their appellation from scratch. With high draining slopes of white clay and limestone soils, Cabernet Franc was chosen to blend with the Merlot, and off course the Cot (aka. Malbec) replanted on the rocky soils. The grapes are harvested and sorted, then fallow slow and gentle traditional fermentation.
    2016
    Cabernet Franc, Merlot
    France
    356
  9. Balio di Zola Balitore Sangiovese di Romagna 2018
    Balio di Zola Balitore Sangiovese di Romagna 2018
    Red berries, cherries and exotic spice on the nose. Nuanced, scented nose combines raspberry, redcurrant, tobacco, leather and a mineral component. Suave, juicy and complex, with harmonious acidity giving shape and freshness to the wine's concentrated red plum, tobacco and herbal flavors. This subtly intense midweight is still tightly coiled today. Finishes savory and minerally, with substantial but polished tannins and lingering perfume. Very impressive Sangiovese di Romagna. www.vinous.com
    2018
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
  10. Querciabella Chianti Classico 2018 375ml
    Querciabella Chianti Classico 2018 375ml
    The 2018 Chianti Classico is classy, polished and exceptionally beautiful. Like so many wines in 2018, the Chianti Classico is aromatic and gracious in feel, more finesse than power. Silky tannins wrap around a core of bright Sangiovese fruit. From start to finish, the 2018 is all class. ANTONIO GALLONI

    This remarkable estate is the life-long passion of Sebastiano Cossia Costiglioni and before him his father, Guiseppe, who planted the first vines at the estate as a hobby in the early 1970's. Giacomo Tacchis and Guido di Santi were bought on in the formative years as winemaking consultants and directed the estate to biodynamics.

    Today the estate's technical direction is overseen by another of Italy's greatest winemaking talents in Luca Currado of famed Piemontese producer, Vietti, while day-to-day running of the estate's vineyards and winemaking is handled by a passionate team led by Dales D'Allesandro and Manfred Ing. New investment in the cellars over the past years will also continue to push the quality of the wines to new levels and maintain Querciabella at the top of the Chianti tree. PWS
    2018
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
  11. Isole E Olena Chianti Classico 2018
    Isole E Olena Chianti Classico 2018
    Besides a healthy dose of Canaiolo Nero, proprietor Paolo De Marchi blends in a dash of Syrah to give backbone, especially in lighter vintages - he believes it to be less invasive than other international varieties. Fragrantly expressive, enticing notes of aromatic herbs, rose, fennel, clove and fresh forest floor greet the nose. While wonderfully medium in weight, this packs a lot in, especially tangy blackcurrant. Chalky tannins are subtly assertive and will carry the wine through the midterm. DECANTER
    2018
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
    Special Price $45.00 Regular Price $53.00
  12. Senejac 2018
    Senejac 2018
    36 Bottles available at time of offer

    The 2018 Sénéjac has an attractive bouquet of blackberry and raspberry fruits, touches of graphite and pressed flowers. I admire the precision of this Haut-Médoc. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, well-judged new oak (25%) and a touch of dark chocolate toward the finish. This has real panache and class and comes highly recommended. NEAL MARTIN
    2018
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  13. Chateau La Vieille Cure 2017- 375ml
    Chateau La Vieille Cure 2017- 375ml

    Fronsac

     74% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    An utterly delicious red with crushed berries, cappuccino and hints of black olives. Medium-bodied, compact and very soft. Really creamy texture. A blend of 75% merlot, 22% cabernet franc and 3% cabernet sauvignon. Hard not to drink now. So do it! JAMES SUCKLING

    The 2017 La Vieille Cure is deep, fleshy and delicious. In 2017, La Vieille Cure is a bit less dense than it often is, but it still packs a pretty serious punch. Dark red cherry, plum, cinnamon, chocolate and floral notes shape this racy, inviting Fronsac. ANTONIO GALLONI

    The 2017 Vieille Cure has a tightly-packed black cherry and cassis scented bouquet that feels as if it could be more intense once in bottle. The palate is medium-bodied with a candied, pastille-like opening: blackcurrant, crème de cassis and vanilla, lower in acidity than its Fronsac peers but smooth as silk towards the finish. NEAL MARTIN

     

    2017
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  14. Mazeris Canon-Fronsac 2016
    Mazeris Canon-Fronsac 2016
    Shows ripeness and power on the nose with ripe dark berries and volcanic salt. Full body, soft and rich tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Drink in 2022. (91) JAMES SUCKLING

    One of the best things agbout the Bordeaux 2016 vintage was the stregth of the satellite appelations - this Canon Fronsac is a freat example - situated on the right bank but with a lot of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon you could easly see this as more left bak in style - it is everything a good claret should be dense dark with chewy tannis and cool clean fruit - absoultly delicous and a great price. ALEX WILCOX


    2016
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  15. Vecchie Terre di Montefili Chianti Classico 2018
    Vecchie Terre di Montefili Chianti Classico 2018
    The 2018 Chianti Classico is fabulous. Rich, deep and wonderfully expansive, the 2018 is captivating from the very first taste. A rush of blue/blackish fruit, spice, new leather, licorice and dark spice saturates the palate. In 2018, the Chianti Classico is deep and especially concentrated, but it all works so well. Readers will find a wine of uncommon power, intensity and richness. The 2018 is a big wine, there is no question about it. ANTONIO GALLONI
    2018
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
  16. Talenti Rosso di Montalcino 2019
    Talenti Rosso di Montalcino 2019
    The 2019 Rossos give an exciting preview of how the upcoming Brunellos may fare. Some examples like this have nothing to complain about in terms of quality and complexity. It's super-pale in the glass - suggestive of the relatively high position of the estate in Sant'Angelo in Colle - with bright red currant aromas and pomegranate flavour, both completed by black pepper complexity and a smoky finish. The palate is almost full, while chewy and sweet, grainy tannins lend perfect balance with refreshing acidity and a broad, cherry kernel finish typical of Sangiovese. Great definition. ALDO FIORDELLI, www.decanter.com
    2019
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
  17. Felsina Chianti Classico 2018
    Felsina Chianti Classico 2018
    With a staggering 18+ tre biccherie awards to their name, Fattoria di Felsina is not only one of the greatest producers of Chianti Classico in the zone, but can also lay claim to being one of the greatest estates in Italy.

    Located on the southern boundary of the Chianti Classico zone at Beradegna, Felsina is run by the thoughtful, Giuseppe Mazzocolin, and together with consultant oenologist Franco Bernabei, he has guided the estate masterfully through the massive changes that have taken place in Tuscany in the last 30 years, always mindful of only making changes he thought would further the quality of the wines without obliterating the regional nuance.

    The 2018 Chianti Classico Berardenga is endowed with so much class. In 2018, the Classico is a bit more restrained than it can be. That mid-weight sense of structure, though, gives the wine quite a bit of early appeal. Even so, I would cellar the 2018 for a few years, as all the elements haven't fully come together just yet. Dark cherry, game, smoke, licorice and earthy notes are a reminder we are in Castelnuovo Berardenga, even if the 2018 has less weight and overt power than Fèlsina fans are used to seeing. ANTONIO GALLONI, Vinous.com
    2018
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
  18. Felsina Chianti Classico 2019
    Felsina Chianti Classico 2019
    The 2019 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a classic wine for the year. Bright, perfumed and light on its feet, the 2019 Chianti Classico Berardenga is so wonderfully expressive. There is a feeling of vibrancy to the 2019 that is hugely appealing. A wine of energy more than power. Crushed red berry fruit, cinnamon linger in a gorgeous Chianti Classico that is more about transparency than power. ANTONIO GALLONI

    A beautiful, creamy red with cherry and chocolate character. Hints of dried earth. It's medium-to full-bodied with creamy tannins and a long, flavorful finish. shows firmness and tension. Very drinkable now, but will improve beautifully with age JAMES SUCKLING
    2019
    sangiovese
    Italy
    495
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