Tasting at Vinitaly: 2016, the vintage with an extra boost

Apr 11 2023, 09:21 | by Lorenzo Ruggeri
At Vinitaly a great tasting promoted by the Historical Super Tuscans Committee celebrated the best vintage of the last 20 years

2016: a historic tasting at Vinitaly

It was 1986 when English journalist Nicolas Belfrage coined the term Super Tuscans on the pages of Decanter. He didn't know it: he had just found the name for the first Italian denomination not regulated by rules but rather by critics and market. To retrace a movement that has marked the history of Tuscan wine, and of Italian wine as a whole, the Historical Supertuscans Committee, which brings together 16 Chianti Classico wineries awarded with at least one Super Tuscan before 1994, the year of introduction of the IGTs, organised a historic tasting at Vinitaly. The spotlight was on the stellar 2016 vintage, with a couple of detours. It all started with an intuition of Enzo Morganti: presenting in 1968 the Vigorello di San Felice. A red labelled as a table wine for aiming high, this Sangiovese met international grapes and a new dimension with the novelty of small wood barrels introduced in the 1980s. The tasting was well conducted by Master of Wine Sarah Heller, in the company of the President of the committee Paolo Panerai and Niccolò Mascheroni Stianti (Castello di Volpaia). From a meteorological point of view, 2016 in Tuscany was perfection: balanced and gradual weather conditions, progressive and prolonged ripening and a perfect September. Beyond the grapes and the corporate stylistic code, we found momentum, progression, and a vibrant finish: the elements of a memorable vintage for freshness and fragrance. It has an extra boost.

The wines tasted were ordered in chronological order based on the first vintage on the market.

Vigorello 2016 - San Felice | 50% Cabernet Sauvignon 45% Merlot 5% Petit Verdot

Dark and mature, it opens with hints of leather and dark tobacco. The mouth is dry, severe in the tannic texture, with lashings of plum and echoes of soil, for a spicy finish. Since 1968.

Tignanello 2016 – Antinori | 80% Sangiovese 13%Cabernet Sauvignon 7% Cabernet Franc

Truly an excellent vintage for Tignanello which shows a Mediterranean and balsamic essence that enhances the fruit and gives harmony and fullness to an intense, juicy and persistent palate. It combines pleasantness and character. Since 1971.

Fabrizio Bianchi Sangioveto Grosso 2016 - Castello di Monsanto | 100% Sangiovese

On the nose, the floral notes emerge as well defined, together with those of ripe red fruits. The palate is progressive and compact thanks to thick and velvety tannins, the wine is long and full of sunshine. A pure Sangiovese of remarkable expressive originality. Since 1974.

I Sodi di San Niccolò – Castellare di Castellina | 90% Sangiovese 10% Malvasia Nera

Fullness and complexity. The dark fruits of the nose are accompanied by spicy notes of black tea and currants. In the mouth it confirms integrity and austerity, well balanced by sapidity and freshness for a progression typical of 2016. It closes on a long and fresh sensation of small black fruits and orange peel. Since 1977.

Le Pergole Torte 2016 – Montevertine | 100% Sangiovese

The scents are still in definition, little is allowed between echoes of soil and balsamic essence. The mouth offers the usual jab of freshness and intensity, with sapidity that grows in the glass and an energetic finish, still not very relaxed. We will have to wait for several years before seeing it in its best guise. Since 1977.

Cepparello 2016 – Isole & Olena | 100% Sangiovese

Rising up to a level of toasted and smoky notes that work next to fruity and floral hints of beautiful elegance. The contribution of the wood ageing is still evident but it has progression and rhythm, a reactive and long mouth. Since 1980.

Sangioveto 2016 – Badia a Coltibuono | 100% Sangiovese

Velvety and fresh. Between the nose and the palate everything plays out on sinuous woody notes and small red fruits. A softness on the palate that’s balanced by light and polished tannin, and an acidity that gives vitality to the sip. A little more slender than the average within the lineup. Since 1980.

Camartina 2018 - Querciabella | 70% Cabernet Sauvignon 30% Sangiovese

Intense and progressive. Camartina displays a performance of great vitality, combining power and structure with vivid balsamic notes. The mouth is dense, stratified, with important margins of evolution in the bottle. Since 1981.

Concerto 2016  - Castello di Fonterutoli | 80% Sangiovese 20% Merlot

What a full and meaty mouth! The dark fruits stand out, the sip is defined by a beautiful progression, punctuated by a ripe and tasty pulp. The finish is relaxed in a slightly spicy finish. Since 1981.

Cabreo 2016 Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari | Sangiovese 33% Cabernet Sauvignon 33% Merlot 34%

A little subdued compared to the very high average of the lineup. The scents are herbaceous, but not very bound together, the mouth is still hard, with a compressed and sharp finish. The suspicion, even of the foreign press seated next to us, is that of a bottle that's not quite perfect. Since 1982.

La Gioia 2016 – Riecine | 100% Sangiovese

Such finesse! A range of gentle and airy aromas, violet and crisp cherries anticipate a very pleasant mouth. The palate has a very classy, deep and highly articulated change of pace. The sip is exhilarating: Joy (gioia) by name and by nature.  Since 1982.

Fontalloro 2009 – Fèlsina | 100% Sangiovese

Here the time factor is definitely perceived. The dark, earthy undertones of Sangiovese lack definition and fragrance. The mouth while retaining consistency is rather slow in development. The finish veers on oxidative notes. Since 1983.

Balifico 2020 Castello di Volpaia | 65% Sangiovese 35% Cabernet Sauvignon

The youngest of the lineup leans towards intense notes of rose, with a surprising aromatic touch. The mouth is fruity and intense, the sip is agile and snappy, supported by a balanced tannic texture. Since 1985.

L’Apparita 2016 Castello di Ama | 100% Merlot

Balsamic and ripe in its fruity texture of blackberries. The tannic structure is dense, creamy and valuable, for silky sensations. The finish veers on spicy notes of nutmeg and toasted almonds, with long fruity and balsamic returns. Since 1985.

Brancaia il Blu 2016 Brancaia | 55% Sangiovese 40% Merlot 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

A nose of beautiful complexity is the prelude to an intense palate and on several levels. The dark tones of black and earthy fruits accompany a velvety tannic structure that gives solidity and character in a harmonious finish. Since 1988.

Acciaiolo 2016 Castello di Albola | 60% Sangiovese 40% Merlot

We close the tasting with a red characterised by scents of wood and Mediterranean maquis. The mouth has a toasty crescendo, with fruit and acidity to balance. Since 1988.

 Lorenzo Ruggeri and Marzio Taccetti

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