1997 Solaia

75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 20% Sangiovese

Youthful after all these years. A subtly sweet, elegant nose. Beautifully soft tannins greet the palate, escorted by lovely acid that makes that mouth water; these two components create a structural balance responsible for this wine’s luxurious texture. Furthering the harmonious mouthful are the wonderful flavors that straddle the old and new world, pulling earthy notes of terroir together with bolder, more forward notes of dark chocolate and dark red/black fruit. I credit Antinori for putting what I am trying to say most appropriately, the 1997 Solaia “displays unmistakable varietal flavor while retaining strong regional character.” And it certainly does so in style. This wine is an athletic, nimble heavyweight.

 

r.a.h.

1979 Bertani Recioto della Valpolicella Amarone Classico

This bottle was a real pleasure and a journey from beginning to end, it evolved slowly over the hour or so it took to drink it. The color is garnet with bricking at the rim. The aromatics are very fresh and very promising with typical notes of dried fruits – raisins, figs, macerated cherries in brandy. Also detected was a very subtle dieselly note, similar to the light petrol seen in Riesling. The aromatics are very pronounced, fairly leaping out of the glass. A few more notes were added with time, light foresty notes, a hint of coffee, a touch of leather. In the mouth, it delivers beautiful structure, round with medium, tart acidity that hides its age.  Light tannin. Stewed cherries in brandy again on the palate, a touch of heat (not unpleasant) and a raisiny note. Can you drink a fig newton? This wine is complex, layered, very exciting and developed yes, but drinking beautifully. Further development entirely possible, but it is delivering the goods right now.