"Old Antinori Chiantis, Tig 1990-2008 and a mature Champagne. Please join us." If I get a message like that from a friend it's hard to say no, even if Tignanello isn't really my favourite drink.
We started with a trio of old Villa Antinori Chianti Classicos
. The 1990
had Riserva on the label; the 1962
didn't. I have long wanted to try old Chianti, but though these were all alive, I must confess that they didn't really move me and only the oldest was one I found truly to my taste. The 1990
had this strange blackcurrant leaf aroma that made it smell more like Cabernet than Sangiovese to me. The 1973
had a sickly sweet toffee (as if the oak still hadn't integrated!) and orange aroma. The 1962
was nice and had bright red toned aromatics but was a bit stinky (not bottle stink, apparently, since it didn't blow off). All had good structure and were still vibrant. But as for pleasure rather than intellectual curiosity? Only the 1962 was for me (I like dirty, old wine
Then we moved onto a set of Tignanellos
. The 2008
was, of course, very primary and oaky and smelled of banana bread. Quite smooth, very thick, decent acidity. The 2004
had a nice acidic structure, but still needs time to lose the oak and the still primary fruit. The 2001
started to show signs of Sangiovese fruit instead of only having oak and a vague ripeness of fruit; a pity then that it seemed strangely acid-deficient for a mainly Sangiovese wine.
The '90s were better. The 1998
had pretty advanced aromas but seemed to be a pretty easy going style with no hard edges and the oak is starting to be unnoticeable. The 1997 was corked. The 1996
was weird in smelling like Cassis liqueur and thus seeming like the 15-20% Cabernet had completely dominated the Sangiovese aromas, but it did have nice acidity. The 1995
was a leafy, slightly and refreshingly green wine (I love the freshness of a touch of greenness, so please no one start blaming me for liking under-ripe wine: if I love the aroma, it can't be a fault for me); as all of these it was a bit too thick on the palate but it did have better freshness than the others and hence it was my favourite of the night. The 1994
was a bit lacklustre: nothing wrong with it except the price (I'd be perfectly happy drinking it if I only paid 15€ or so): quite bright, quite nicely structured, but ultimately forgettable. The 1993
had spicy and toffeed oak so to the fore that I couldn't enjoy the smell (how long does oak really need to integrate?). Thick but nicely acidic palate. The 1990
was in a softer style with the fruit being darker in tone than most of the wines. It is pretty soft but balanced and might turn out nice with a bit more age.
We finished with a Veuve Clicquot Réserve 1985
which was an enormously rich Champagne, full of toffee and flower and orange jam aromas; in a very nice stage of oxidation IMO. Very rich and full bodied, seems to have quite a high dosage. The bubbles disappeared pretty quickly - but then again, so did my glass. Nice!
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.