New Releases from the Tuscan Coast

The Tuscan Coast is one of the most idyllic, evocative regions in Italy and beyond. Breathtaking landscapes dotted with striking vineyards influenced by the nearby Tyrrhenian Sea give birth to compelling wines that run the gamut from daily drinkers to highly coveted, age-worthy reds that stand with the very best wines from around the world. This report focuses on 2018s and 2017s that are in the market now, along with a handful of entry-level 2019s. Most years I visit the Tuscan Coast, also known as Maremma, in late August or early September. It’s typically the perfect time to see vineyards at the very beginning of harvest, when all the work in the field has been done and the differences between estates are evident. In 2020, that was of course not possible, but I will be very happy to return, as my annual trip to this part of Tuscany is always a highlight. There is something about the light, the ocean and the timelessness of the countryside that is just magical. MAREMMA 2018: ELEGANCE & FINESSE PERSONIFIED As a whole, the 2018s are medium-weight wines that emphasize freshness and aromatics more than size. A cool growing season that featured both warm weather and, unusually, quite a bit of rain in the summer, yielded wines that are on the lighter side. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as power and richness come easily here. In fact, readers who find Maremma wines too rich and intense will adore the 2018s for their silkiness and aromatic presence. What the wines lack in heft they compensate for with finesse. The best wines are beautifully proportioned and shaped by a long growing season with healthy diurnal shifts. “It is a year that is more favorable for Merlot and Cabernet Franc, while the late September rains were penalizing for the Cabernet Sauvignon,” Antinori CEO Renzo Cotarella explained. “It’s another world in central Tuscany, but on the coast, the Cabernets are lighter in structure than the Merlot and Franc.” “It was an unusual year in that it was warm, but also rainy,” said Axel Heinz, who heads both Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and Masseto. “It was a late harvest for us. The Merlots were all in by the end of September, while the Cabernet harvest wrapped up in early October. Overall, the year was much easier to deal with than 2017. We did a bit of saignée on the Merlot, and fairly typical extractions, with long macerations of four weeks versus the more typical three or so.” --Antonio Galloni, New Releases from the Tuscan Coast, January 2021 To read Antonio’s full report and revisit the 2017 vintage, check out the full article on Vinous now. Below is a selection of notes from the report.

Tenuta San Guido

Bolgheri Sassicaia Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2017

Delectable Wine
9.4

The 2017 Sassicaia shows the natural richness and intensity of the year while retaining its mid-weight sense of balance and overall poise. A burst of super-ripe red cherry/plum fruit makes a strong opening statement. Mocha, cinnamon, leather and dried herbs appear later, adding aromatic lift. The 2017 is a fairly immediate Sassicaia. Even so, it has enough energy to drink well for a number of years. Production is down 35%, a combination of naturally low yields, dehydration on the vine and then selection in the cellar. Most of the fruit comes from the estate’ hillside vineyards, older parcels that resisted the conditions better. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago

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Campo Al Mare

Bolgheri Rosso Red Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
8.8

The 2018 Rosso is a bold, juicy red to drink now and over the next handful of years. Dark plum, chocolate, licorice, leather and spice give this open-knit blend (60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot) a good bit of character in an approachable, easygoing style. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago

Marchesi Antinori

Tenuta Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato Bolgheri Super Tuscan Blend 2018

Delectable Wine
9.2

The 2018 Il Bruciato is a gorgeous wine that captures the essence of the Antinori family’s Guado al Tasso estate in Bolgheri. Rich, creamy and ample on the palate, Il Bruciato is an absolute delight today. Blackberry jam, chocolate, spice and licorice are front and center. This opulent, heady Tuscan red has so much to offer. I would prefer to catch it on the young side. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago