Have I lived in Italy too long or something?
I am still suffering a little from the aftermath of a long wine tasting/dinner last night with some winemakers from Bolgheri, the Tuscan coastal region known for such great wine names as Masseto, Ornellaia, Messorio, and, of course, Sassicaia.
The winemaker for Castello di Bolgheri, Alessandro Dondi, invited me to the village of Bolgheri to join his small tasting group to taste (and drink) a range of Bordeaux, Tuscan and California wines along with some wild boar pasta and duck confit.
I brought a bottle of Pichon-Baron 1990, and they tasted it against a 1988 Sassicaia. I preferred the Sassicaia, but they preferred the Pichon-Baron. It’s sort of backward! Should I like the Pichon and they like the Sass?
Here are my tasting notes for the two wines:
1990 Pichon-Baron: What a wine! This has always been an amazing wine with masses of fruit and spices with hints of eucalyptus and balsamic. Full bodied, and very velvety with lots of fruit and layers of everything. Rich and sexy. 98 points, non-blind.
1988 Sassicaia: This is a great bottle. Sometimes it’s better than the legendary and much more expensive 1985. It shows incredible length here. Lasts for minutes on the palate with currant, orange peel, blackberry and mineral. Full and very, very silky. It goes on and on and on. A wine that amazes with its length and class. 99 points, non-blind.
We also drank 1990 Sociando Mallet, 1990 La Louvière, 1989 Mouton-Rothschild, 1986 Ridge Montebello, 1986 Angélus, 1967 Mouton-Rothschild (dead) and 1989 Guiraud. We tried to drink a white Bolgheri wine from the 1939 vintage but it tasted like rubbing alcohol.
Anyway, it was a good evening and fun to compare tasting notes. I received an e-mail a little while ago from Alessandro saying how he now loved the 1988 Sassicaia. Maybe the Italians are starting to go along with their foreign friend?
Here is Alessandro’s email. I didn’t change any spelling or punctuation.
already thinking back to the tasting;
minds of course at first on the closest San Guido,
'88, a wine out of time, a style that not one in bolgheri has followed;
an emotional wine, so true and clear;
early picked grapes to keep freshness, low alcool, and a balance on the fruit/acid
low tannins extraction (and that way for me different in texture of bordeaux) ;
far from jam and polenta;
i wonder how was just bottled, and so how has developed in the years;
a bientot, A."
Makes me think. Love the 1988 Sass.
Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — April 24, 2009 9:34pm ET
James Suckling — — April 25, 2009 3:07am ET
Jim Mccusker — Okemos, MI — April 25, 2009 9:02am ET
Scott Mitchell — Toronto, Ontario — April 25, 2009 10:09am ET
Johnny Espinoza Esquivel — April 25, 2009 11:26am ET
Marcel De Vries — Netherlands — April 26, 2009 4:57am ET
Joshua Kates — April 26, 2009 8:18pm ET
James Suckling — — April 27, 2009 5:21am ET
Marc Robillard — Montreal,Canada — April 28, 2009 8:48am ET
Ken Koonce — Dallas, Texas — April 28, 2009 2:26pm ET
Francesco Degli Esposti — Paris — May 1, 2009 4:47am ET
James Suckling — — May 1, 2009 5:59am ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions