At VinItaly this April, I was able to taste several new releases of Bolgheri reds from the outstanding 2007 vintage. 2007 is being hyped as a first-rate year in many Italian wine regions and it is true in Bolgheri as well. This was a classic year, with more traditional weather than in more recent years. There was sufficient warmth, but it was spread out over the growing season, which had a few cool spells. This assured a good difference in temperatures between night and day so that proper acidity was preserved with the aromas offering greater complexity. Combine that with impressive concentration and you have the recipe for excellent to outstanding quality.
Bolgheri is best known for a few wines that are icons around the world, namely Sassicaia (Tenuta San Guido) and Ornellaia (Tenuta dell’Ornellaia). However there are now more than 30 wine estates in Bolgheri and while their focus is often on Bolgheri Superiore (priced at $70 and up) produced from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and other grapes (as with Sassicaia and Ornellaia), there are some excellent wines priced in the $18-30 range that offer a fine sense of the area.
Here are notes on some the best Bolgheri reds from 2007 I tried earlier this year:
Sassicaia – Aromas of red cherry, blackberry and bramble; outstanding concentration; lengthy finish packed with fruit; lively acidity and outstanding balance; typical class and breeding. Best in 20 years plus.
Tenuta dell’Ornellaia “Le Serre Nuove” – This is the estate’s second wine and it is glorious – how impressive this wine has been in the last two or three vintages! Loaded with fruit – black cherry, black raspberry and black plum and a long, silky finish with polished tannins and pinpoint acidity. Gorgeous wine – so delicious now, but this only hints at what is to come – best in 12-15 years.
Ornellaia – Black cherry, red currant and vanilla aromas; excellent concentration; superb balance; lively acidity. best in 20 years plus.
Tenuta dell’Ornellaia “Masseto” – This is the most famous bottling of Merlot in Italy and one of the most famous in all the world. Simply put, the 2007 is a massive wine. Tremendous concentration, red cherry and red plum aromas along with lovely red rose perfumes. Amazing fruit persistence. A classic! Best in 15-20 years and I am probably being a bit conservative on that – it might still be drinking well in 2050!
Guado al Tasso – Ripe black cherry, sweet Damson plum and vanilla aromas. Excellent concentration; long, beautifully balanced finish; nicely styled with gentle tannins. Best in 15-20 years.
Argentiera Bolgheri Superiore – Black cherry, currant and tar aromas;medium-full with excellent concentration; very good persistence; a touch oaky, but otherwise nicely balanced. Best in 12-15 years.
Batzella “Pean” – This is a Bolgheri Rosso, not a Superiore, so it is lighter and more reasonably priced. Red cherry and red plum aromas; very well balanced with velvety tannins; very good acidity. Lovely wine – enjoy over the next 5-7 years.