Marchesi Pancrazi, VinoCibo.com Web Selection
10/1/04 Italian Wine Web Selections from VinoCibo.com
Marchesi Pancrazi, Tenuta San Donato
Marchesi Pancrazi may be an accidental pinot nero estate, but it was indeed good luck as this Tuscan producer continues to make one of Italy's finest pinot nero (pinot noir) wines, the Villa de Bagnolo. Along with this consistently interesting pinot nero they make San Donato, a fine and easy to drink Italian take on passe-tout-grains, the Burgundian blend of pinot noir and gamay and Casaglia, which is made exclusively from colorino, a grape usually only used for adding punch to sangiovese.
The fine pinot noir vineyards of Marchesi Pancrazi are a lucky mistake. For years they produced an ordinary light red wine thought to be sangiovese; then an enologist visiting owner Vittorio Pancrazi discovered the vineyards were in fact planted with pinot noir vines. These mis-identified vines were planted in 1975 and not correctly identified until 1989. This mistake made Pancrazi the owner of the oldest pinot noir vines in Tuscany and started him off in what was to become a passion: to make great pinot noir. A goal that he succeeds in vintage after vintage.
Current recommended releases from Marchesi Pancrazi:
2001 Pinot Nero, Villa di Bagnolo ($40)
Brilliant bright ruby with just a touch of garnet. Quite translucent. Layered complex aromas with touches of mulch, roses, black cherry and cedar chips. Even more complex on the palate which mirrors the nose with additional touches of raspberry, iodine and a warm earthiness. This wine grows and expands with air not showing much for the first 15 minutes then gradually opening and releasing layers of textures and flavors. Another 2 or 3 years of aging is recommended. This wine shows the best characteristics of Italian pinot noir blending a Burgundian type earthy note with a clean, hard mineral character. (Rating: A, excellent)
2001 Casaglia, Colorino, Rosso Toscano IGT ($30)
Brilliant dark ruby, almost opaque. Dense bitter cherry aromas mix with cassis and mint touches blended with a full note of cedar. Quite closed at first, only on the next day did the aromas really open. Ripe and dense with sweet cassis fruit flavors blended with vanilla and a bright touch of spearmint followed by a hint of bitter chocolate and herbs. The finish is long and intense with oak and sweet ripe raspberries highlighted with fresh cut mint and cedar balanced by round, bittersweet tannins. It is rare to see colorino on its own instead of in its usual supporting role of adding strength and color to sangiovese. Pancrazi says colorino is the oldest indigenous variety in Tuscany. Take this wine to your tasting group to stump your friends. (Rating B+, very good)
2002 S. Donato, pinot noir and gamay ($16)
Brilliant light ruby, quite translucent. Bright fresh cherry aromas and strawberry notes with hints of violets. Light and fresh on the palate with a firm mineral backbone to balance the sweet cherry fruit flavors made livelier by crisp acids and a tart note of cranberry. The finish is long and clean with wild berry highlights. Leaves your mouthwatering. (Rating: B+, very good)
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