Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore DOCG 2006

Cleaning out the Wine Closet I found another Santa Cristina. I already reviewed the Toscana IGT 2009, the Cipresseto 2007 Rosato Toscana and the Umbria IGT 2011. This time the oldest Santa Cristina of the bunch, a Chianti Superiore DOCG 2006. The Chianti is made with 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot for balance. 13% ABV.

Santa Cristina Chianti Superiore DOCG 2006

Color: Dark ruby-red.

Nose: Spicy with fruity jam. Black fruits like blackberries, blackcurrants but even strawberries found their way into this wine. It smells sweet and thick, as I said, jam-like. Deep and brooding, very typical for a wine from a warm climate. All in good balance. It has body and there sure is some flesh on the bone, musty and meaty.

Taste: Nice first sip with earth and a lot of depth. The fruits are all present too, but this time around even hint of plum are present in the “confiture”. A little bit of acidity balancing the whole out, and giving it a bit of zest and life. Some soft tannins and chalk, but nothing much. Tannins and a hint of vanilla from wood. The wood also adds structure to the wine. Good finish and even a while after swallowing, a nice taste remains in my mouth. Good balance and maybe not the most complex of wines, but who cares, just enjoy it.

I thought earlier that I ended a trilogy of Santa Cristina’s claiming that the red from Tuscany was easily the best. This Chianti Superiore, shows us again that as far as I am concerned the reds are the way to go with Santa Cristina. This Chianti is maybe even the best of the bunch and did well with some ageing. Recommended.

Points: 83

Gabbiano Solatio Toscana IGT 2011

The surroundings of Tuscany in Italy are breathtaking, and I know that people who live there should be inspired too. I expect wine makers in Tuscany must be especially inspired since they make wine from the fruits of this land. This is the fourth bottle from this region, amongst others with two decent reds, but up ’till now, not a real stunner yet. I now got a bottle from a real wine specialist so I have high hopes for this Gabbiano Solatio from 2011 (Picture shows the 2010 vintage). I like the label, the orange color really stands out on the shelves and the knight and the sun, really look appealing, The wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Sangiovese. Not a lot of Sangiovese for a Tuscan blend, and compared to others no Merlot. That leaves more room for the character grapes of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. I guess we may be on to something…

Gabbiano Solatio Toscana IGT 2011Color: Dark ruby-red.

Nose: Smells spicy and most definitely of Syrah and a bit less of Cabernet Sauvignon, no sense in mentioning the Sangiovese. Although Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon can be pretty full-bodied, this blend smells fresh and lively. Sweet jam of red fruits, and the slightest hint of fresh acidity, yes all that on the nose. It leaps out at you from the glass. Very appealing, and appetizing fruity Wine. Strawberries and cherries, ain’t that lovely! Great balance. The nose alone is way better than the previous contenders!

Taste: Not heavy, but with a fair amount of body and soft tannins. Some slight wood influence matches the tannins. Not as heavy on the sweet fruits as the nose suggested, but very appealing never the less. I did suit our dinner fine, grilled chicken with rice and a creamy tomato sauce. It would have been less complementary to it, if it would have been much sweeter.

Just like the other Tuscan Red Wines I review earlier, this is an entry-level wine. Nothing very fancy, but even with pizza and pasta I’d like to drink something I really like without breaking the bank. A great Tuscan with easy drinkability and easy food pairing qualities, and in the first 24 hours after opening, very suitable for drinking by itself. Good one. Recommended!

Points: 85

Villa Antinori Toscana IGT 2007

The history of the Antinori family dates af far back as the 12th Century, when Rinuccio di Antinoro produces wine at the Castello di Combiate near Croci di Calenzano, outside of Florence. The particular wine I’m reviewing today, Villa Antinori, was first made in 1928 and at that time it was a Chianti, but a Chianti that could be further aged. Much later, in 2001, Piero Antinori, reworked this wine into a Tuscan IGT. The wine itself is a Super Tuscan blend: with 5% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and of course 55% Sangiovese. After the malolactic fermentation the wine was aged in French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels for one year. ABV is 13.5%.

Villa Antinori Toscana IGT 2007Color: Dark ruby-red

Nose: Spicy and fresh, seems young although it does have some ageing under its belt. Some warm very aromatic Tuscan soil, nice! It has its roots firmly in the ground. Warm summer wind late in the evening. Nice red fruits, cherries, blueberries and slightly herbal with a little bit of wood to give it some more character. Nicely balanced wine. Lovely wine with sometimes some whiffs of field flowers.

Taste: Very supple and extremely easily drinkable and delicious. Again some terroir, but not as much as the nose had. Well integrated blend, everything seems to fall in place. Nice depth. Not very tannic, though there is some drying sensation on the tongue and it’s only slightly acidic, but the acidity increases after some more breathing. Breathing also gives the wine something of a bite, bitterness that is, from the wood. The finish is all right and half-long.

This first accompanied food and when that became to spicy, it easily overpowered this wine. The wine itself seems quite light at first, but it did pick up after more breathing. Recommended drinking window for this wine is said untill 2014, so if you have this lying around it’s now probably at it’s best, but I feel still can handle another couple of years…

Points: 83

Santa Cristina Cipresseto 2007 Rosato Toscana

Summer has arrived here finally and lasts for almost two weeks now.  That is a first! Probably a record has been broken for the last 5 years, since summers lately were less interesting than spring. That gives me lots of chances to try some summery wines in their natural habitat, meaning outside in the garden to be drunk in nice weather. Well I won’t let the sun cloud my palate, so I’ll stay critical. This is already the second wine of Santa Cristina to grace these pages. Earlier I reviewed the Santa Cristina Toscana IGT 2009.

Santa Cristina Cipresseto 2007 Rosato ToscanaColor: Beautiful red salmon.

Nose: Grounded coffee, dust and wet earth. It has a nice depth to it. Next up is the fruit. Some sweet apple juice. Classy stuff. Some floral hints. Meaty, not sweet and not acidic. Well balanced nose, that has a lot to offer.

Taste: Licorice, and a very thin acidity. Some bitterness and some wood. Taken in big gulps, a little bit of meaty body and a hint sweetness come through. The body is even less interesting than the finish, but still as nice as the nose was, the palate is rather disappointing. Totally unbalanced and a bit weak. Tastes a bit as a watered down red wine…

The landscape of Tuscany is utterly stunning, and the nose of this Rosato promises a lot. I’m almost in tears that the palate is…rather weak. It’s almost a dream gone bad! Having said that, the wine is not thát bad. It just could have been better. I have another bottle of this (from the same year). If that one turns out to be different from this one, I’ll rewrite this review. For the moment this one stands. In defence of this Rosato I have to say I probably let this lie around the cellar for to long, but I can’t image that’s it.

Points: 73

Santa Cristina Toscana IGT 2009

This is a widely available inexpensive blended wine from Cortona (an Etruscan settlement) in Tuscany, Italy. The first bottle of Santa Cristina saw the light of day in 1946 right after the second world war. The wine then was made by Marquis Niccolò Antinori. In 2006 a new winery was opened.

The wine is made of 60% Sangiovese, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. 13% ABV. The various grape varieties of the blend are fermented separately and aged partly in oak and partly in stainless steel. Harvesting of the grapes takes place in September and October, Merlot being harvested first. Ageing takes place from the end of winter through spring and by the end of spring the wine was bottled.

Color: Dark ruby-red.

Nose: Creamy, with notes of hot dry earth. Soft notes of raspberries and other ripe red fruits. Ripe because it comes across as soft, and doesn’t have a lot of sourness to it. Lots of strawberry jam.

Taste: Again the strawberry jam and it does have some acidity. Nicely blended to a balance. It’s quite light and lively, but on the other hand nothing really pops out, and it does have a short finish. As I said, easily drinkable, but also easily forgotten. Still I like this, just don’t expect too much. Nicely priced also.

It’s blended to a soft wine, that is very easy drinkable, and will go with anything. Just stay off game. The nose is light and balanced, but very nice, you can imagine the surroundings in summer, where the grapes are grown. It certainly shows where it comes from. The taste however is a bit more anonymous. It’s well made, and it will not repel anyone, as there are no obvious faults. The only thing that disappointed me a little was the finish, it breaks down a little, and is quite short and again anonymous. One to have a lot of fun though and it isn’t going to break the bank. good with food and for carelessly sipping away on the couch.

Points: 80

Fattoria La Vialla NubeRosa 2010

Fattoria la Vialla, a Lo Franco family owned business that operates for more than 30 years. It lies between Arezzo and Florence. The firm also tries to keep forgotten grape varieties from extinction. The wine is a Bianco di Toscana and is 11,5% ABV from Subbiano Italy. Even the bottling date is on the bottle: 16 november 2011. The grapes for this wine are: 50% Trebbiano Toscano, 20% Pinot Nero, 15% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Vermentino. It’s a white wine with a pink hue over it, that comes from the Pinot Nero and carbonates slightly.

Color: Pinkish lychee water (slightly bubbly).

Nose: Very elegant and light. Lemons and slightly flowery (roses?) ánd slightly fruity. Sea spray with pears on syrup.

Taste: Light, half sweet with nice acidity. Both traits fight for first place, and it takes a while before the sourness wins. Also in the taste the roses emerge.

Relatively low in alcohol, and it’s character including the carbonation, makes this a perfect summers wine. May work well as an aperitif, but certainly goes well with good Tuscan food. I had it with fish and pasta. Don’t analyze, just sip away in beautiful weather.

Points: 78