Thursday, November 4, 2010

06 Tuscany - Where It's At.

Over the last couple of months I've submerged myself in the 2006 vintage in Tuscany.  After tasting upwards of 30 wines from this vintage, I still can't figure out where the hype for this vintage went.  It's almost as if this is a lost vintage that no one talked about.  Is it possible that wine lovers just forgot about Tuscany?  Is the market so fixated on Bordeaux and Chateauneuf du Pape that it forgets about the rest of Europe?  Or does the market need further proof of just how good this vintage is?  Well let me help with the burden of proof.  "This is one of the finest vintages I can remember," said enologist Carlo Ferrini, who consults for top producers throughout Tuscany and beyond. "The quality level is high all over, and has taken us a bit by surprise."  Just in case you don't believe him, you should.  Ferrini consults for producers Barone Ricasoli, Brancaia, Castello di Fonterutoli, Fattoria le Corti, Fattoria Nittardi, Poggio Bonelli (MPS group), Fattoria di Petrolo, Poggio Verrano, Castello del Terriccio, Sapaio, Poliziano, Talenti, Castello Romitorio, Casanova di Neri.  Not that I'm name dropping, but clearly the man has skills.
Ferrini also commented in The Wine Spectator that the lack of a severe spring frost, unlike the excellent 97 and 01 is quite significant, "We have the concentration of fruit and overall quality as in 1997 and 2001," he said. "Plus we have quantity--and that's important."  Of course quantity is important.  It means more of us greedy Italian wine lovers can have more wine.  It means we don't have to worry about pulling a bottle of 06 from the cellar four courses and six wines into a dinner party "because you HAVE to try this."  We've all done that before.
Take a look at the spreadsheet below. It details by vintage how many Tuscan wines received 90+ and 95+ scores by The Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate spanning 10 vintages.

95 Plus Points 90 Plus Points
2006 29 32 367 278
2005 10 2 298 238
2004 56 36 479 357
2003 8 1 378 212
2002 0 1 31 34
2001 39 28 397 365
2000 3 7 200 125
1999 17 11 303 200
1998 10 4 178 114
1997 52 16 337 161
1996 4 0 67 27

There's actually quite a bit of data here that I'll have some fun with on a future post.  For all you math and statistic hounds out there pardon the fact that I did not separate the the 95+ scores from the 90+ scores.  Without getting too geeky, the vintage is ranked 4th in both 95+ and 90+ scores.  Furthermore, the vintage received an aggregate score of 96 by both publications. The highly touted 07 vintage in Chateauneuf du Pape vintage was scored 95 points by The Wine Spectator and 98 points by The Wine Advocate.  So where did the hype go?  I digress. 
The future of Tuscan vintages isn't so bright.  2007 was good, but not nearly as good as 2006.  2008 has mixed reviews.  2009 looks good but not great.  Who knows what 2010 will lend.  Initial reports aren't great.  Clearly none of the vintages will crack top 5 since 1996.  With that in mind, it's likely to be three years before we see more truly memorable Tuscan wines hitting the market place. The good news is that if you missed the proverbial boat on 2006 Tuscan wines there's still time to hop on board.  If you shop carefully, there's plenty of interesting wine in the marketplace.  So put down that Chateauneuf du Pape 2007 offer and jump the boarder.  It's time to diversify your collection.

Three 2006 Tuscan Reds I Can't Live Without
2006 Marchesi di Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva
2006 Podere le Boncie "Le Trame" Chianti Classico
2006 Montevertine Rosso di Toscana

If You Wish To Purchase The Wines
Nicholas Roberts Fine Wines

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