The first time I tried this was, I think, the 1998 vintage. I'm pretty sure of it. Andy popped it open on a quiet night at the shop, probably six or seven years ago. He'd tried it at VinItaly and loved it, proclaiming it to be the best Chianti he'd ever tried. We swirled and bantered and read up on the estate and decided, damn; that was fucking good Chianti.
I bought this particular bottle in the vain hope of laying it down for a wee while, or longer. 2004 is meant to be fantastic and I've always liked giving good Chianti a wee bit of age, to let some of that tar turn to leather. Sadly at a dinner party recently I had been remiss in purchasing appropriate wine. A raid of my fine wine shelf ensued and thus we were treated to this old friend.
Crimson to the core - held up to the light it showed spectacular brilliance, gem-like, ruby.
The nose is intense, dark chocolate cherries with the dust that collects at the bottom of an old wooden wine box. The secondaries are still more about the feel; prickling the nostrils and surrounding that intensity of fruit, underlining it and putting two massive exclamation points behind it.
That dark chocolate cherry intensity follows through to the palate - it pierces with laser-like focus, the fruit and cocoa dominating the beginning and middle of the palate with perfect, proper tannins, dry as a bone and not a hint of green, cleaning up afterwards, stripping every spare lipid up from the tongue as it goes down. Delicious with the bangers n' mash but suited to even more hedonistic, rich, rib-sticking meals. Roast leg of lamb with a nice bit of crispy fat and such, adorned by roast tomatoes. That's classic, proper, old-world dryness, none of your sweetened tannins, no velvet yet, but with time it will come.
Tasted 5/11/09 at Shorehead