2016 Fattoria Basciano Chianti Rufina.

Far too much Italian wine recently but the craving for tannin and acidity with rich winter grub and some lucky wins at auction means no let up yet. From the same maker as the bravely commercial Il Bastardo, this is a traditional DOCG Rufina. Sangiovese with a slug of Colorino. Dark semi dried sour cherries, tobacco, licorice and some well controlled sooty oak. Really drying firm tannins and a smack of ripe acidity. Dark, serious, desiccated skin flavour and texture point toward a hot dry vintage, perhaps? Not quite the cool, red fruit calm that used to mark Rufina. Nonetheless a clean, delicious Sangio that comes into sharp focus with warming oily, cheesy pasta. E basta.

13.50% alcohol. Cork. $20 lucky win at Langton’s, don’t you dare bid on the other two bottles!

93 points.

2017 Renzo Masi Il Bastardo Vino Rosso Italiano

Vino da taglio was, or maybe still is, a naughty way for higher alcohol wine from mainly Puglia and Sicily to find its way into under powered Tuscan and other northern producers’ wine. Bravo for this good Chianti Rufina producer playing with the idea and then cheekily calling it The Bastard. Seems it’s good Rufina Sangiovese “cut” with some warming Sicilian Shiraz. Whilst the thought of bastardising the purity of good Sangio is at first horrible, this turns out to be a delicious drink for not a lot of cash. Starts a bit reduced as the screwcap cracks but then opens cleanly with Sangiovese cherries and walnuts warmed by spice and darker berries. Still has that lovely pull of Chianti acid and fine tannin grabbing at some chocolate richness. If you were looking for an easy but genuine intro to Ital wine, stop here and get acquainted. Best thing is the pure Chianti accent can still be heard above the Mezzogiorno’s warm chatter.

13% alcohol. Screwcap on an Italian, bravo. $10 bargain from a Langton’s auction.

89 pizza friendly points.

2016 Castello dei Rampolla Chianti Classico

Somehow Iggy Pop and the Wild One spring to mind drinking this. Dark and growling, terrific energy, some bits flying off at odd angles but compelling. Lifted new leather, walnut and sour cherry Sangiovese, vividly fresh and vibrant, some cedar oak, a bit of wild game verging on not perfectly clean, mouth clearing acid and tannin. Didn’t notice the alcohol percentage until uploading the photo. There’s also some sweeter blackcurrant fruit which may be explained by a percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Rampolla was a star in the early 90s for its Cabernet blends. The fruit sang a rugged harmony to a good pizza. Kept my shirt on though.

14.50% alcohol. Cork. $50.

93 points depending on your acceptance of wild things.

2017 Wickhams Road Heathcote Sangiovese

Perhaps a first Sangiovese from those relentlessly great value and energetic Hoddles Creek chaps? Clean, fresh, bright, just medium weighted, cherry scented with a twist of mint and eucalypt forest. Really has that lip smacking, cheek flapping twang of the juicy blood of Jove. One for those who value fruit over extraction. The ripe acidity positively takes it up a notch with some simple pizza or pasta. Bravissimo ragazzi!

13.50% alcohol. Screw cap. $20.

90 deliciosi punti.

2016 San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico

A favourite for many years, it’s always been so well made from what tastes like beautifully tended fruit. This is no exception albeit at the very ripe, tannic end of the San Giusto scale. Very clean dark cherry fruit buried in deep dark Valrhona chocolate tannins and firm acidity. Dusty herb gardens. Muscular but poised. Sort of like one of those uncompromising but sure of touch Italian defenders, Georgio Chiellini or Leonardo Bonucci in a bottle. Delicioso with food but a well defended scoreless draw without.

14.50% alcohol. Cork. 20 euros.

93 points

2015 Paolo Francesconi Limbecca Romagna Sangiovese Superiore

The first attempt to drink this was horribly thwarted by a foul cork. Trudging back to the friendly enoteca in Ferrara whence it came for a replacement and the second try was stymied by there being no more in the shop, no chance. So, third time lucky. Eating out in the riches of Emilia-Romagna it’s often worth asking for some advice if you fancy something local, even Lambrusco so close to home is really good, honest. Funny and great to see this again recommended and what a bottle of wine. Screamingly proper, clean, deep and meaningful Sangiovese. Extravagant savoury  perfume and a profound depth of maraschino cherries, walnut, earth, almonds, bitter chocolate and almost pomegranate flood the brain. Alive, fresh and clean. Rich and ripe tannins meshed to mouthwatering acidity. Fantastic balance. Well positioned in this year’s greatest hits. Bravissimo indeed. Biodynamic too.

Think about 14% alcohol. Cork prone to disgrace. Unbelievable 24 euros on the wine list, 13 retail! Still rarely possible to find great wine at an amazing price.

96 punti deliciosi.

 

2010 Antica Azienda Agricola Paolo Bea San Valentino Umbria Rosso

A very belated post from some time spent in ancient and timeless Perugia that this ancient but sadly not timeless blog forgot to write, oops. After going on about avoiding high alcohols this largely Sangiovese from the long term cult of Bea was going to be interesting. A lot has been written about this fastidious, hard to find producer but I’ve only quickly tasted two of their Sagrantinos at a trade do. Autumnal bottle age and kirsch soaked leathery cherries in a rich and full body. Wham and thump. The ending does seem thinned and hot in a chocolate and fortified way. Some acidity still waves in vain as it sinks below the swell of fumes. Some old oak and clean too. Perhaps this style better suits the broad heft of Sagrantino than Sangiovese. Needs those full jammy blackberries. Coughing up the extra euros may have been worth it? Nonetheless, great to taste something made in an uncompromising and individual way.

15% alcohol. Cork. 30 euros.

Sort of 93 points in a stand back and admire way.