It’s been too long since I was on the blog. Lots of reasons, most of them good (a few surgeries, long recoveries), some were just because I was frustrated with the current state of wine critics, and felt the need to step away, as it were. I can’t say wine (all) ‘journalism’, because there’s a lot of good stuff out there – most of it on blogs, or sites like Jancis Robinson, etc. In particular, some of the current ‘critics’ – and their scores – have become, for me, pretty laughable – perhaps some have always been.
And yes, a lot of this frustration comes down to the use of points, and the proliferation of high scores for pretty simple wines. But, it’s a game, the person(s) with the highest scores, for any wine is pretty much guaranteed to get published somewhere(s), and that’s just not right – not for the consumer, anyway, and it’s a shame that this thing that used to work, for some, is merely a way for some to work in an industry (and lifestyle) that many are quite unfit.
But that’s all boring stuff, so please forgive my transgression. Eight months have passed by too quickly, and I’ve once again traveled to Italy to pick up where I left off.
My flight from JFK/New York was aboard Emirates A380-800 (see the featured picture), a plane I’ve wanted to experience for many years. It’s fantastic, and the non-stop into Milan worked out very well for my schedule – I was in Chianti zone before sunset.
In the morning, Dario (winegrower/maker) and I tour the vineyards. I decline to taste the new wines, save for two: both raised in amphora for their vinification, and then moved to older, large barrels, or steel tanks. There was a white, and a red. The white shows the perfect amount of oxidation, reminiscent of the finest Chenin Blanc of the Loire. The red is packed with freshness and energy, and a keen sense of balance. It’s not only a good start to the day, it’s a good start to my three month trip that concludes on 7 May.
The amphora are of different sizes, for much the same reason as each of the vineyard sites (and varieties) has different character. The winegrower/maker is in search of a unique expression, but also the correct expression. Easier said than done.
These steep hills, high in the San Casciano Val di Pesa area just north and west of Chianti Classico zone are new to me, having driven through or by them in the past, always wondering what type of wine can be grown. My brief visit to this cooperativa of young, like-minded growers, is time well spent; the wines are pure, exciting, and perhaps most importantly, great with food.
Next up, my multi-day visit to the Anteprima event in Florence for the new releases of Chianti zone (e.g. Classico, Classico Riserva, etc.). It was a great event that was well organized, and offered an in-depth journey into the newly released #2017ChiantiClassico, as well as the #ChiantiClassioRiserva wines.