Saturday, February 24, 2007

2000 Cellole Chianti Classico Riserva (Italy-Tuscany)

It’s winter and I’m on a “hearty red Italian wine” kick. The 2000 Cellole is another product of our Honeymoon in Tuscany two and a half years ago. I had first read about the 2001 Cellole in Wine Spectator then and liked what I had read. Wine Spectator game it a 95 score which made it predictably hard to find, saying it had a "phenomenal nose, with complex smoky, tarry, licoricelike red fruit aromas" and that it was "full-bodied, with added tobacco and vanilla coming through on the palate, with silky tannins and a long, minerally finish."

We eventually found the wine in Florence on the wine list at Cibreo, a restaurant known in Florence for its somewhat out there dishes like duck esophagus (which I had and liked) and a strange take on braised beef (which my wife had and didn’t like as much.) The thing we agreed on was the wine. After that dinner, we looked around for a bottle to take home but came up empty with the 2001 vintage but we did score on the 2000 from a fantastic wine shop in Grieve where they have samples, for a fee, of close to 100 wines dispensed from enotec machines as well as samples of Tuscan olive oils.

Luckily, this wine did not have to live up to the lofty expectations and memories associated with the 1998 Poggio Antico Altero but because of the search we went through in Italy trying to find a bottle, there was some nervousness. Would it live up?

Yes, but not because it reminded us of our experience in Florence. It was just a good wine that exhibited characteristics we like.

The wine… Tahirih got it right away when she said “It’s like walking through a thicket!” This wine is earthy. It’s dark red in color with a beautiful earthy aroma, mixing in wind fruit and wood. The fruit is blackberry and fig although there might also be a light note of raspberry there to just give it a little bit of lightness. The wood is oak. There is a nice balance of tannins and acidity. The wine has a nice grip to it that leads to a long finish. A solid A grade and not because of the memories of Italy. This is just a good wine.

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