Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tomaiolo Riserva 2003 Chianti DOCG

(c)2008 SmellsLikeGrapeI spotted this wine in a little wine shop in Somerville, MA. The label caught my eye because it had “Riserva” and it is a Chianti DOCG. So one would think this would be a sure bet, right? Well, it could be swill.

As a quick label tutorial, Tomaiolo is the Brand and Riserva is an designation of higher quality, mainly because of additional aging. The vintage is 2003 and Chianti DOCG, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Guarantita is what's under the cork.

Now what I’m going to write isn’t expounded on in Vino Italiano, The Regional Wines of Italy. It is from Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, 4th Edition. Tom Stevenson has allocated about eight column inches to this story. In a nutshell, alas, DOCG is supposed to be a higher standard, but when the Tuscany DOCs were being hammered out, DOCG status was given to all Chianti producers, not the cream-of-the-crop. Politically, the Chianti bulk producers had a good deal of clout, so quality lost to quantity. (Note that this discussion does not include the Chianti Classico DOCG which is a different wine and different DOCG.)

Chianti (other than Classico) must contain between 75% and 80% Sangiovese plus the possibility of 5% to 10% Canaiolo Nero, 5% to 10% Trebbiano or Malvasia and up to a maximum of 10% of Cabernet or any other specified black grape varieties.

So how is this wine? I’m please to present to you my tasting notes for Tomaiolo 2003 Chianti Riserva.

(c)2008 SmellsLikeGrapeChianti DOCG 2003
Price: $9.99
Alcohol: 12.5%
Color: Garnet
Body: Full
Tannins: Silk
Finish: Moderately long

This Chianti was aged in Slavonian oak for two years. The nose has hints of strawberry, blackberry, cherry, elderberry, plum, jam and raisin. Earth, hay and mushroom components are very prevalent in a sweet-smoky aroma mix. The taste is berry-cherry, smooth finish with flavorful and nice mid palate feel. The taste is slightly smoky. The Slavonian oak makes for mild oak and toast aromas that are so complimentary that I only mention them here as a technical point.

This would go good with fresh tomato pasta, white sauce pizza, minestrone, Portobello mushroom and Gouda cheese.

It is worth noting that Taster B (not a big Sangiovese fan) enjoyed this wine. I’m pleased to say that this wine was quite a find, and gets a "Ya, I'd buy this one again."


Axel said...

Hey you guys,
i just agree to your evaluation of the wine. I was lucky a couple of years ago to get a bunch of the bottles from 2001 here in germany - but could not find more for a reasonable price. I liked it that much that I kept the bottle now for 5 years and next week there will be the 2005 available in a big discounter. I will empty the shelfes - for sure !
Greetings from Germany Axel

Anonymous said...

I was very impressed when I found the chianti about 5 years ago. The pinot grigio is also very nice but harder to get. Jo-Ann Scebold