This Tuscan work is cherry red to the rim with a chalky appearance with plenty of yeast and vegetal notes loaded with olives in the bouquet. ("Chalky" is overstated; it just gives the appearance of not being crystalline as some wine colors seem. Normally, a true "chalky" appearance would be a great concern leading one to think "bacteria." FYI)
There is fresh fruit fighting to break out. In the mouth this wine is obnoxiously tannic, closed and *arrogant.
[*I cracked myself up when I described this wine as "arrogant." If you're like me, I often chuckle at wine reviews for the anthropomorphic descriptors used for the wine. So let me explain: This seems like a quality wine but it doesn't want to reveal that fact and doesn't really care. It gives just enough to tease and seems to take pride in doing so. That's what I mean by "arrogant!" And yes, I'm laughing too.]
The finish at this point is smokey with an almost BBQ’d ending. We will breath it rather extensively which is required of many of the Tuscan creations. (See NW's post re: Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino 1999)
At 1 ½ hours of air time (with decanting)it’s bouquet is hardly unchanged. At 2 hours there’s light currants, a little spearmint that is fleeting and fun, but still very tannic, bitter and tart (acidic) with hardly any give. This wine has a chip on its shoulder--or bottle, if you prefer...)
Finally that steely Sangiovese is able to debut and finishes again with more smoke. At 2 ½ hours, the tannins break a bit and floral notes emerge with grape and raisins in tow with a guest appearance of eucalyptus. The tannins, and acid base tend toward a better balance but still too austere and belligerent for my tastes. Never-the-less, this is a good example of old world creativity with some complexity and a study in taste. At $16 Wine Spectator gives this wine an 88; I would give it an 82.