Tasting T2.11 Tuscany Red Wines

Tuscany is a region of Italy that is home to the cities of Florence and Sienna. Nestling between these famous cities is an area of wine production known as Chianti. This area is so connected with the English that it has been referred to as Chiantishire particularly since the mid ‘90’s when Tony Blair chose it as his preferred summer retreat.

Chianti is a red wine produced from the central region of Tuscany. It is the largest classified wine region in Italy and produces over 8 million cases a year. Sangiovese is the dominant grape of Chianti and since 1996 must be between 75% and 100% of the blend.

However Chianti is not the only notable red wine region in Tuscany, two others, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are also considered high quality wine areas and also consist of Sangiovese dominated blends. These three areas produce the wines that we will be tasting today.

A further group of wines often containing Sangiovese evolved since the 1970’s known as the Super Tuscans, these wines will be tasted in tasting T2.12.

Sangiovese derives its name from sanguis Jovis, which translates from the Latin as ‘the blood of Jupiter’. It is the most widespread grape in Tuscany.

When young, Sangiovese has fresh fruit flavours of strawberry with a touch of spice. A flavour profile of sour red cherries with some earthy aromas and notes of tea leaf. It accepts the oaky flavours of barrel ageing.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

This wine (made from Sangiovese) comes from an area around the hillside medieval town in the province of Sienna. It is not to be confused with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo which is made from Montepulciano and comes from the Adriatic region of Abruzzo. Confused, I’m sure that’s how the Italians like it!


Many of you (if old enough) might remember that traditionally the wines of Chianti were in a squat bottle enclosed in a straw basket, this was called a fiasco, I kid you not. Unsurprisingly nowadays Chianti is generally bottled in standard shaped bottles.

First defined as an area in 1716 the map of Chianti was redrawn in 1932 and divided into seven sub-areas: Classico, Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Montalbanoand Rufina. Some of the villages within the Classico area added ‘in Chianti’ to their village name such as Greve in Chianti which did this in 1972.

Kim and I spent a lovely holiday up in the hills just near there in Montefiorale back in 1994, the summer before Harry was born. We enjoyed a wonderful meal served as “10-courses, no choice, my wine, 3million lira” or something like that. No matter when you arrived your 10 courses was going to finish at the same time about 10-10:30pm. At the end of the meal our host brought out the 10th course… Grappa. One unsuspecting soul at each table was chosen to try the ‘Tears of Montefiorale’ a special Grappa, which as we noticed tended to turn people red and then they seemed to cry… well that’s what you get with Chilli Grappa. The restaurant is still there (I checked on Google Maps) but I think it has changed hands since then.

Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello is a clone of Sangiovese known as Sangiovese Grosso. Montalcino is a town located about 80km south of Florence in the province of Sienna. Only 100% Sangiovese grapes are permitted in the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. (Denominazione di origine Controllata e Garantita).

Brunello is a more fleshy fuller-bodied wine with aromas and flavours of blackberry, black cherry, black raspberry and chocolate with leather and violets. It is often described as fruit driven with smooth tannins.

The wineries are:


Founded in 1962 by Egidio Corradi. 3 generations have cultivated the vines and produced stunning wines. Constant re-planting and re-selecting of vines takes place in order to conserve the characteristics of the land.

They have 22 hectares of vineyards. Total production of 100.000 bottles.


Bought in 1997 by Michele Manelli (founded 5 years earlier) this winery covers 21 hectares of hilly Tuscan land. It is the first estate in Italy to be fully self-sustainable. An impressive feat.

They actually use a clone of the Sangiovese grape, Prugnolo Gentile, to create their aromatic and focused wines.


Fontodi has belonged to the Manetti family since 1968. 130 hectares are owned by the estate with 70 planted with vines.

Creating Chianti, Pinot Nero and Syrah wines. This family has made expression of the terroir their number one target.

Fattoria di Felsina

In 1966 Domenico Poggaili Felsina bought the estate. Within a few years the estate had more than 40 hectares of vines. The estate now covers 600 hectares with 95 planted with vines.

Many generations have worked tirelessly to produce exquisite wines. Felsina boasts a variety of climates, landscapes and terrains.


Andrea Cortonesi is the only son of a family of sharecroppers and has been working in the vineyards since his childhood. In 1986 he acquired the farm which had century old olive trees and a small vineyard.

Uccelliera has 10 hectares of vineyards now, almost entirely of Sangiovese.

Il Poggione

Lavinio Franceschi bought Tenuta Il Poggione at the end of the 19th Century. Investment was plenty and new vines were planted, a new winery was also built.

Today it is one of Montalcino’s largest wineries; it covers 600 hectares of which 125 are planted with vines. Harvest is done completely by hand and another new winery built in 2004 allows for complete control of the ageing process.

To the wines…

This evenings tasting will be conducted by myself, Harry and Luke!

Boscarelli Vino Nobile de Montepulciano Il Noce 2015

Nose: Medium red colour on first viewing. Cherries, currants, cedar and hints of chocolate.

Palate: Intense cherries with cedar fill the mouth. Elegant and smooth with a velvety mouthfeel. Well balanced with a medium body, full acidity with moderate to full tannins. However, nicely integrated within the body of the wine. A medium – full length finish rounds out this superb fruit forward wine.

Salcheto Vino Nobile de Montepulciano Salco 2013

Nose: Medium red colour on first viewing. Earthy, vegetal and herbal. Extremely perfumed wine. Hints of stewed fruits but extremely expressive of the land.

Palate: Cedar, pencil lead, very perfumed with earth and leafy notes. Extremely powerful and structured. Fantastic acidity bringing years of ageing potential with a medium body and moderate integrated tannins. A medium length finish brings this wine to a resounding end.

Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo 2015

Nose: Medium red colour on first viewing. Nice dark fruit, cherries and redcurrants. Cedar and chocolate making an appearance on the back burner as well.

Palate: Those dark fruits become sweet and intense on the palate, lovely mixture of cedar and chocolate with the luscious full bodied-ness of the wine. High acidity and full integrated tannins which are showing extremely well. This wine has plenty of ageing ability left in the tank. Gorgeous long finish making this just lovely.

Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Colonia 2013

Nose: Deep red colour on first viewing. Absolutely epic aromas of sweet cherries, perfumed damson and stewed fruits. Deep intense aromas, awesome.

Palate: Smooth full bodied wine with gorgeous fruit. Perfumed damson coming through with leafy notes on the palate. Powerful and luscious. This has a long way to go. Moderate acidity with full integrated tannins. A very long finish just adding to its ageing ability. An absolute stunner.

Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino 2015

Nose: Medium red colour on first viewing. Earthy, sweet dried fruits. Dark aromas with almost a muskiness / damp soil.

Palate: Very well rounded, silky smooth and just beautiful sweet fruit. Full bodied with high acidity and moderate tannin, integrated and bringing good balance to the wine. An extremely long finish, this beauty is drinking extremely well now and will continue to cellar for the next 5-8 years minimum. Very impressive.

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2013

Nose: Medium – deep red colour on first viewing. Dried redcurrants, farmyard and earthy. Cedar and pencil lead aromas coming through.

Palate: A linear and precise red wine with outstanding balance and structure. The dried red fruits are singing, the full body is giving perfect smooth mouthfeel and a luscious ending. High acidity still with moderate tannin and a full length finish. This is beautiful right now and will stay the course for a number of years. I would suggest to drink over the coming 3-5 years.


Sangiovese, a grape that arguably perfectly typifies Tuscany. I can only agree with that statement. Perfectly identifying the land that it purports to show. A really interesting tasting as I myself have not tried huge amounts of Sangiovese.

Certainly sweet red fruits were a common theme, along with earthy notes and cedar. The more intense wines that were tasted towards the end were certainly produced in order to stand the test of time. It would be particularly interesting to try these aged 20 years. Alas we must wait!

The scores:

Boscarelli Il Noce 2015 – 92 Points

Salcheto Salco 2013 – 92 Points

Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo 2015 – 93 Points

Fattoria Colonia 2013 – 95 Points

Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino 2015 – 95 Points

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2013 – 96 Points

Some outstanding and extraordinary wines on offer here. You cannot go wrong with any of them and they all represent their territory extremely well. They are between £50 - £75 a bottle. If you are able to purchase one or two I would highly recommend any of them. You will not be disappointed and it will give you a great idea of what these winemakers are trying to achieve.

Thank you for reading and have a good weekend!

David & Harry

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