Sometimes I’m in the mood for youthful fruit as well as a buffet of mature flavors and aromas. It’s not always so easy to do, even with 1500+ bottles in the cellar. One of the reasons it’s not so easy is that (as I’ve said many times before) wine is a living thing, and each bottle has the freedom to age as it will. And, let’s not forget the variability that natural corks can produce over that twenty year ‘wait’, as well.
Tonight, this 20-year old wine is like all the other holy grails that us wine geeks are perpetually in pursuit of – finding a wine that’s got top: freshness, mature sensibility, and still-vibrant, youthful fruit. For those that have yet to encounter such a wine, it might help to think of this night’s good fortune as the IMAX of wines type experience. Sometimes, if we’re really lucky, we can open a bottle and get the IMAX+3D show.
And while that sounds nice – getting the IMAX+3D show for the same cost as a ‘normal’ ticket – it’s also something of a rabbit hole, too. For those that may be new/somewhat new to wine collecting, or even those that have some years of experience but are used to drinking 90-100% of their wines in the first few years after purchase. Most/many have therefore conditioned against waiting, against the type of patience and discipline that is required to keep something (a) in a sound environment conducive to long-term rest (5, 10, 15, 20, 30 years), and (b) are likely unaware which wines (i.e. producers) are able to blossom over the timeframe(s) already mentioned.
Back to that rabbit hole. If you’ve gone to the time and expense of preparing a cellar (passive/below-grade, actively cooled, offsite, wine fridge, etc.), and have created either a spreadsheet or created a http://cellartracker.com account that helps to manage (including drinking windows) your inventory then be happy, you’ve properly enabled yourself to spend countless hours, and very countable dollars. I’m 25+ years into it now, and I’ve spent more on wine that I did for my first house. Sigh.
The blend for this wine is that same pretty much every vintage (20++ years): 50/50 Merlot/Sangiovese. Some may hesitate when considering its purchase – > $50, from Umbria (where?!), and a name that many can easily recognize (i.e. Lamborghini), even if the name of the winery is La Fiorita (Campoleone being the ‘fantasy’ name, not, for example, the name of a single vineyard, etc.). Today, http://www.tenutalamborghini.it/ includes the winery, a posh resort/golf course, etc.
The grapes for this blend come from a parcel of just under 20 acres. with ~ 20,000 bottles produced, and was aged in 100% French oak (~ 1 year), then bottled without fining or filtration; the consulting winemaker was/is the very talented oenologist Riccardo Cotarella. The wine is allowed ~ 18-20 days of maceration on the skins, for those that might be curious.
Having tasted this wine many, many times since its release, I’m guessing the French barrique are a combination of (mostly) new with some lesser amount having been used at least once. That said, tonight’s bottle shows the signature of all that oak, but it’s integrated, and offers a seamless, rich and elegant mouthfeel and layered, lingering finish.
The (famous) name that for many jumps off the label is that of the owner/founder of the winery, and also the founder of the (farm) tractor and racing car company, (Ferruccio) Lamborghini; the latter having been sold prior to the founding of the winery in 1993.
Many may prefer these wines on or near release as they are rich, with a sweet sensation and dense mouthfeel from the concentrated black and to a lesser degree, red fruit, French oak, etc. Insofar as the wine offers these qualities in youth, in the 19 years after harvest the bold fruits and new oak have taken a less dominant role in their maturity; it’s this harmony that appeals so much to my palate these days.
(below) A couple of ladies chat it up in the nearby town of Assisi
There’s a touch of volatile acidity (i.e. VA) from the moment the first glass is tasted, until the final glass, some two hours later. It should be noted, that, it’s my belief that not all VA is created equal – sometimes it can be overbearing, sometimes it can be a mere signature, as interesting as the rest of the components; the latter is certainly the experience I enjoyed.
My tasting note, kind of written in a hurry, is as follows, fwiw: “Very good. Cork soaked half way, great fill; med/dark ruby color shows minimal bricking. Very powerful nose (PnP), with slightly more secondary than tertiary at this point. (bright) Aromas of soil/place, some sappy cherry, red currant, loam, tobacco, etc. The palate is med+ bodied, with exceptional balance, a silky mouthfeel and notable length. A glass with 2,5oz found the next morning on the table showed no signs of oxidation, and only required a few swirls to find its freshness, and fruity voice. Brilliant stuff that should drink at this high level for another 3-5 years depending on your cellar conditions, before it begins a noticeable, inevitable decline. Natural cork. highly recommended“
For those familiar with the area, the winery is about an hour, by car, west of Assisi, and about 1/2 hour (by car) from the brilliant hilltop village of Perugia.