This was a treat. My boss was hosting a top flight Italian tasting and opened all the bottles at the office to make sure they were in good condition and give us a chance to try them. Sometimes it's not so bad being a wine-merchant.
I love 1988 as a vintage in a lot of places, particularly Champagne. Not had the chance to try many from Italy, so I was curious and not a little bit excited.
Lovely depth of colour still. Slightly paled with age.
Very cedar-y and leafy on the nose. Just underneath that is juicy cherry and cassis. Truffles.
Lovely, leathery and quite delicious. Texture is grainy and nuanced. Great length. Superb fruit purity, though I wish a touch more of the secondaries came through.
Bottle variation can be a blessing and a curse. This was a curse.
Darker but not by much.
Earthy, slightly animal nose. Of Brett? Should blow off. Doesn't blow off.
Very tight. Something a touch off, sadly.
Italy was blessed by some truly extraordinary vintages at the end of the last century and the beginning of this one. And with so much attention being paid to overhyped '97s, you could do worse than picking up some great '99s at pretty good prices. Not this, of course. This is stupidly expensive and never worth quite as much as you pay for it.
Big, meaty, savoury nose of Parma ham and perfumed edges.
Palate is huge, juicy with cassis and cherries. Softening tannins but still with lovely grip and a touch of tactile bite. It gets leathery as it goes on, with great wood integration.
Another of those great Italian vintages. I would be very happy with a cellar full of '01s and '04s.
Softer nose than 1999. Caramel notes and Ceps as well as dark forest fruits.
Beautifully integrated berry fruit that's wrapped tightly in cocoa and herbs. Forest floor. Soft right up until a bracing and gripping finish.
All tasted 4 December 2012 at SWiG