Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tenuta Dell’ Ornellaia Toscana Le Volte 2002 (PB)

If you read my entry about a special dinner in Boston for Mother’s Day, this is the wine I bought a glass of that rocked my enophilic socks off with one little exception—the vintage. My “Wine Guy” ordered it for me but when it arrived it was the 2002 and not the 2001. With apology, he told me I could bring them both back if I didn’t like it, even the opened bottle.

Well, with NW in town—yes he’s been found although he has not been blogging due to issues of relocation and a newborn—it was the perfect opportunity to crack this bottle open and see the difference one year makes.

Here is what I wrote about he 2001—“…immediate burst of fresh cherries, very well balanced with several layers of olives, and an utterly fantastic layer of a fresh bouquet of flowers with definite cedar or menthol notes with another layer of anise or licorice and currants.”

Here is the review for the same wine in everyway but the vintage—2002: On opening there’s a little bottle stink and very vegetal nose which is not enticing. In the mouth it is a tad bitter and there is very little flavor but the potential for a decent balance all things considered. The finish is tight.

Note- the restaurant wine I had by the glass could have been opened for hours so I want as much as possible to compare apples, uh, I mean, grapes to grapes. So in fairness, I will breathe this wine for several hours and check it along the way.

After 5 ½ hours of breathing there is a very faint hint of chocolate and a very faint berry scent but it is all overpowered by alcohol. The tannins are still rock hard and try as I may to like this wine, it is “hot” and rather lifeless. I will decant it to try and open it up some.

Finally after 7 hours of air time with decanting, it relaxes some and the balance is considerably better but still too austere all the way around. I believe that more bottle age would help this wine out but even with that, it just isn’t the same wine as the 2001; not by a wide a margin. At $25 for the bottle, it is not a good value.

Moral of the story, vintage obviously can make a HUGE difference and coincidentally, the 01 vintage in Tuscany was superior and the 02 was marginal. So if you’re shopping for a particular wine and you find it but it isn’t the same vintage, you’d probably better pass it up. Different vintage means different wine! Raise a glass!

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