Sunday, May 11, 2014

Review: ***+ $$ Vigna Vecchia Chianti Classico (Vignavecchia), Italy, 2004 - GOOD VALUE

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By way of background: The Vigna Vecchia Chianti Classico (sometimes written as Vignavecchia) from 2004 is made of 90% sangiovese and 10% merlot from Radda, Chianti, Italy, and finished at 13.5% alcohol.

Original review, January, 2010:

In the glass: The Vigna Vecchia Chianti Classico shows as deep red in the glass, opaque to within about an inch of the edge, with some hints of brick at the edge.

On the nose: Poured without a decant and swirled vigorously, this chianti classico offers bold, old world aromas of dried leaves and used horse blankets, along with dark plum and black pepper.  Suggests a dry, clenching sip to come.

On the palate: The first element on the palate is consistent with the aromas, a dry, tongue-curling tannic wash, bringing some acid and the tiniest hint of freeze-dried plum along too.  Then you note the migration to your cheeks, where some cocoa powder comes into the mix.

And the finish: Lodged in your cheeks, this sangiovese-based wine continues to pump out bits of fruit, tannin and acid in slow burst for a very long time.  

In summary: Overall, the experience is old world and potent, and seems to want some additional decant and/or bottle age, both of which I will oblige.  At this stage, two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus at this point for promise.  

Wine Spectator awarded a generous 91 points to Vigna Vecchia Chianti Classico for 2004, with this report: "Aromas of plum, coffee and mineral follow through to a fresh, full-bodied palate, with fine tannins and a fruity finish. Silky and layered. Best after 2006. 1,100 cases made."

Following a three-day decant under vacuum in a partially-filled bottle:  Aroma is consistent, now think: "Tangy horse blanket!"  Tannins are evaporating on the palate, this now brings the old-world fruit fully into view, still wrapped, of course... in a horse blanket.  Fruits and acids now frame the finish.  Moved up a bit, as predicted, to three stars.

Updated review, nearly two years later, October, 2011:  Color and aromas are entirely consistent with two years ago. Shows real fruit now on the palate, red fruit still wrapped in a taut frame - with, of course, the horse blanket overtones.  The longevity of this wine - now seven years from vintage date - combined with the growing expressiveness of deep fruit and the impactful old-world elements, warrants a plus to the three stars, making this a "good value" designation.

Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: Softer barnyard on the nose with smoother fruit.  Very nice balance between the fruit and the old world bouquet on the palate. 

Another updated review, two and a half more years later, now a full decade since vintage date!  May, 2014:  Same color: deep red with brick at edge.  Nose is a little deeper, funky and more restrained.  Tired perhaps? On the palate, no tiredness is seen.  This is a clean, acid-backed red fruit impression, with a nice grip of tannins still coming on behind.  Excellent!  Seems like it's perfectly ready now.

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