Tasting & Dinner
Establishment Restaurant, Manchester
24th February 2006
2000 Tignanello, IGT Toscana, Antinori
Decanted around two hours previously. A minerally nose with talc: quite floral, with some lovely fresh leather notes. Rich and very open on the palate. Very precise, clean flavours. Very approachable, with good fruit. Very fine, elegant and poised. Lovely finish. Very yummy. Excellent.
1999 Tignanello, IGT Toscana, Antinori
A much more closed nose - duller and a touch green … and uh-oh, there's a tell-tale whiff of TCA. Interestingly, and here's an object lesson in not swirling the wine when the sommelier gives it to you taste, the TCA blew off a little with a lot of aeration. It didn't blow off on the palate though, which remained thin, acidic and largely fruitless throughout the evening. Not that that stopped Ray pouring himself another glass at the end of the evening.
1997 Tignanello, IGT Toscana, Antinori
Again decanted around two hours previously. There is much more cabernet sauvignon immediately evident on the nose than in the 2000, and there's a very curious, but not unattractive, definite hint of green peas. A very deep, complex nose: there are some hints of marzipanny almonds, a bit of talc again and a touch of spirit right at the end. On the palate, it's very precise, focussed and multi-layered. Very complex and full, yet also very elegant indeed. It has a splendid tannic structure and is opening up in the glass, though it remains much tighter than the 2000. This is likely to be much longer-lived than the 2000, and all in all, is probably a better wine than the 2000. But for pure, sybaritic pleasure now, I prefer the 2000.
1994 Tignanello, IGT Toscana, Antinori
The nose is just amazing, and it's actually very difficult to get past how truly wonderful it smells to begin analysing it at all. It has the same talcy mineral notes as the previous (sound) wines, but also red fruits, cassis and some very floral lavender notes. Very, very elegant on the palate and really very luscious and open. Beautifully textured. Very fine wine indeed. Excellent.
I still prefer the 2000, though, which just nudges it for me: the 1994 is just slightly more high toned, which shows through on the palate.
1988 Tignanello, IGT Toscana, Antinori
A very fragrant nose, with some red fruit, but also a hint of TCA. The corkiness seems to develop into more VA, and there's a certain musareyness to the nose. Very wide palate, but it's clearly affected by something. Lacks fruit. Quite grippy on the finish, with rather high acidity.
This is clearly faulty, but actually not overtly unpleasant. But, leaving it to settle in the glass, the TCA shows through again, along with loads of volatile acidity, which goes some way to masking the TCA.
Another corked one, damn!
1983 Tignanello, IGT Toscana, Antinori
Corked to buggery and completely shot to bits.
1999 Phenomena Riserva Brunello di Montalcino, Sesti, 13.5%
Smoky, earthy, truffley nose with sweet tobacco and leather. Fresh, nicely fruity palate. This has a very interesting flavour profile: cherries, sour cherries, red fruits, texture, round and fruity with grainy tannins on the finish. After about an hour, this is very open and expansive on the palate with excellent structure. Superb wine. Excellent.
1990 Tignanello, IGT Toscana, Antinori
Initially mushroomy and almost pinot noir like on the nose, then it turns very cedary-claretty. Really quite tight on the palate, but very big. Very big and closed. Quite richly flavoured and very velvety-textured. Soft, polished tannins on the finish. Very Good Indeed+
1990 Cepparello, Vino da Tavola di Toscana, Isole e Olena, 13.5%
Very, very stinky nose, but there's that definite whiff of TCA yet again. One person, who provided the bottle, was insistent it was just bottle stink, so I risked a sip: very weedy palate, acidic and overly muted, with very grainy tannins on the finish. Of course, it's corked. We must have really annoyed somebody's deity to get all these corked wines in one evening.
1970 Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva, Vino prodotto nella vigna del podere "Tignanello", vendemmia ritardata, imbottigliato alle cantine dei Marchesi L & P Antinori, 72cl, 12.5%
Just slightly bricking. Figgy - syrup of figs - coffee, very evolved nose, with a hint of volatile acidity: much older on the nose than the appearance would suggest.
Coo! This doesn't taste as old as it smells. This is so together and lovely. Just a touch sweet and (again) figgy on the palate. Very fine, with chocolatey fig and cassis fruit. Very soft, mouthfilling tannins on the finish that positively caress the mouth. This is what old wine is all about. Brilliant! This is going to give everything else a run for its money when it comes to wine of the year.
It continued to evolve all the time in the glass, but without fading for some time. The high tones blew off with time, and it develops more chocolatey flavours to complement the figs. It only started to fade about around thirty minutes in the glass.
Figgy Figgy Figgy Tiggy Tiggy Tiggy!!!
1997 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Azienda Agricola Solatione, 50cl, 14.5%
A coppery orange appearance. Sweet, orangey, honeyed nose with some raisins. Very concentrated on the palate. Rich and sweet with a lovely raisined depth. Really very nice, but unfortunately it lacks a bit of elegance. Finishes quite short. Very Good.
NV Champagne Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée
Initially, there is a real yeasty-white peppery blast on the nose that almost takes your breath away, but it settles down nicely. A light, white bread, fresh nose. Light and very crisp on the palate with fresh green flavours. This could probably do with a bit more bottle age as it feels a bit too green, acidic and a touch tooth-stripping. Very prickly in the mouth. Very Good/Very Good Indeed.
I think we had huge bad luck on the number of corked wines (not all of which were Tigs), but what showed through from the Tigs that weren't faulty, was just how consistently good Tignanello is across the vintages.
The number of corked wines was, of course, a disappointment, but it was still a great evening, and a big vote of thanks to Ray and Gary.
We ate a breast of roast 21-day old squab pigeon, served on Puy lentils with pea mousse and toasted brioche. The pea mousse, very oddly was stone cold, like a pea ice cream that had just melted; the brioche was a single pomme pont neuf (that's a fat chip), but made of brioche, not potato. The pigeon had a great taste and was beautifully tender, but as we'd had five wines by this point, we didn't really do it justice as it got wolfed down.
Next was an espresso cup of a cappucino of wild mushroom, that didn't seem quite up to the Establishment's normal standard: it was a bit too powerfully flavoured yet, curiously, at the same time underseasoned. The salt seemed to have gone into the third batch of bread, which was uniformly more salty and denser!
Main course was an assiette of veal. Some pretty darn good veal fillet, that was perhaps served just a bit too underdone, an Aikens-ish canneloni of shin of veal and some beautifully fried veal sweetbreads, served with a very well balanced truffled mash, a nicely roast, whole clove of garlic and a very good red wine sauce. I think there were probably some squeaky beans too.
The taxi ride back to Ray's was enlivened by the ... errr ... inestimable presence behind the wheel of Babs from the League of Gentleman.
The next day, I found a couple of bottles open in Harvey Nicks for tasting. Can't remember what they were, but hello, hello, hello, this one's a very tiny bit corked ...
I'm hoping that's all got my TCA quota filled and I'll be ok for a while. Only came across one faulty wine at the SITT tasting on Monday, and that wasn't corked, so fingers crossed I'm TCA-free for a while.
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Last updated: 01 March 2006