I Love Reviewing Fine Wine – A Super Tuscan Second

You might have heard of Super Tuscans. Several decades ago some excellent Italian winemakers thumbed their nose at the official Italian winemaking regulations. They made wine the way they wanted it, not according to the book, whose major advantage was reducing the glut of inferior local grapes. This wine estate was created by a Marchese (I think that means a Count) back in 1981 on a little less than 100 hectares (about 250 acres) in what comes close to paradise. The soil has marine, alluvial, and volcanic elements. While the pick of the litter runs at about $200 a bottle I had to be satisfied with junior (made from younger vines). It’s a Bordeaux blend. Years ago, I managed to misplace the marketing material, so I’ll be quoting the 2010 information despite the fact that the bottle was a 2007. Some lucky people get the chance to taste both. Others, even luckier, get to taste the intervening vintages as well. Others won’t. The companion wine that just about any non-teetotaler can get to taste is a Veneto, Italy Merlot at about one eighth the price.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Ornellaia Le Serre Nuove Dell’Ornellaia 2007 14 .5% alcohol about $60.

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Tasting Note : The 2010 Le Serre Nuove Dell’Ornellaia shows off tons of concentration and sheer depth. Mocha, expresso, dark cherries and plums are some of the many notes that take shape in the glass. The 2010 is a decidedly powerful, virile wine endowed with considerable power. It will be interesting to see how the layers of flavor flesh out once the wine has been bottled. For now, the 2010 is a highly promising Serre Nuove. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027. Score – 91-93. (Antonio Galloni, at the Robert Parker web site, June, 2012)” And now for my review (of the 2007, not the 2010).

At the first sips this wine was powerful, offering chocolate. It was multilayered and had great balance. The initial meal started with crunchy Wasabi coated peanuts that actually weakened this Super Tuscan. It bounced back when encountering a barbecued chicken breast, becoming mouth filling with good acidity and chocolate. Tasty homemade roasted eggplant slices brimming with garlic intensified the libation’s sweetness and I tasted some chocolate. This wine was very long. Fruit juice candy for dessert muted the liquid somewhat but it was still more than just present and I tasted lots of plums.

The second meal focused on slowly cooked beef ribs. Our Italian friend was upbeat, multilayered, balanced, and long. He offered lots of chocolate but was sweeter than I would like. When paired with the simultaneously cooked potatoes the drink came out mostly the same, except that plums came to the fore. The adjoining carrots rendered the drink even sweeter, but it was nice and round. I added lots of Yemeni green jalapeno sauce to the meat and I was surprised that the wine’s sweetness became dominant.

The final meal began with matzo-ball soup, perked up with Chinese chili sauce. This Super Tuscan was now almost chewy; multilayered with lots of chocolate. Wasabi-less, in other words nearly tasteless Japanese rice crackers made Red’s power expand. Upon pairing with the main dish, spicy ground beef with peas and tomatoes the libation was long, offering good oak and a great balance between acidity and tannins. The delicious homemade dessert was a blend of coconut, chia, and Majoul dates. In response our bankbook emptier was long. It seemed longer with every dish, but was slightly too sweet.

Final verdict. I liked this wine. But considering the price, I did not like it enough. And unless I win a lottery, a difficult task even for those who buy tickets, I won’t be tasting his high-class cousin. One last comment – I don’t know what 91 means for a wine, but this bottle didn’t even come close.

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines and a whole lot more. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com.

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