Volpaia wows judges, as predicted

  • Family business: Federica Mascheroni Stianti, second left, with her family at Castello di Volpaia

    Family business: Federica Mascheroni Stianti, second left, with her family at Castello di Volpaia


I am far too modest to claim any powers of psychic precognition, but I must refer to the October 4 Grape Expectations where I said that I was going out on a limb and mention two wines, and that either one had an excellent chance of being included in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year.

This was somewhat of a challenge as the magazine blind tastes about 18,000 wines annually and so only one out of about 180 gets the honour of inclusion (the 2018 list has been published this week).

The wines are judged on a formula of overall quality, price, availability and excitement.

I wrote that “It would be so exciting if our house guest of earlier this year, Federica Mascheroni Stianti, could share this achievement with her family”.

Well she has just replied to an e-mail from my wife that she is “dancing around her apartment with joy”.

Her Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva 2015 is in third place overall.

The first-placed wine sells for $235.00 (Italian and 97/100) in the US and the second wine (French and 96/100) lists for $84.00.

You are invited to stop by one of our shops where we will sell you a bottle of number three for only $32.80.

It rates 96/100 and is described thusly “though saturated with black currant and blackberry fruit and backed by opaque tannins, this red is pure and balanced.

“Thyme, iron, leather and tar notes give this complexity, while the finish goes into overtime”. Imagine, number three in the world!

The other prediction was that San Felice Chianti Classico 2016 stood an excellent chance of making the grade as Wine Spectator rated it 94/100, which I felt was quite exceptional for a wine that we sell for only $19.95.

Winemaker Leonardo Bellaccini secured nineteenth place on this list of super wines this year.

Maybe there is something in the Bermuda air as he has also been our house guest.

Wine Spectator says “expressive and smooth, this hits all the right notes, with pure black cherry, black currant with violet flavours. Touches of earth, iron and tobacco add complexity. Shows fine harmony and length”.

One winery that we became involved with when we started our association with Discovery Wines was Henri Bourgeois and we have their 2017 Sancerre Les Baronnes, which rates 92/100 and sits in 46th place with these comments “lively, with bright lemon curd, gooseberry, thyme and lime pith notes.

“The bright finish has a mouth-watering cut thanks to a light chalky echo. Drink now through 2021”.

For $30.20, you can experience Sauvignon Blanc from its birthplace in the Loire Valley of France.

Sitting in 80th spot is Beringer Knights Valley 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon that has built each vintage on the notion of a Bordeaux blend, with soft and silky tannins crafted for immediate enjoyment.

Aromas and flavours of dark red fruit led by raspberry, black cherry and evident oak spice are joined with more traditional Knights Valley tones of black and blue fruits.

A touch of liquorice and mocha round out a lingering, pleasant finish.

It is a blend of 87 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 6 per cent Merlot, 5 per cent Cabernet Franc and 2 per cent Petite Verdot.

Wine Spectator rates it 92/100 and writes “firm, rich and tightly focused on a core of vivid dark berry, light mocha and cedar flavours.

“Finishes long and layered and a real treat to drink now through 2026”. $55.00.

While at the New York Wine Experience last month, we were regaled by Jon Bon Jovi as he played his guitar and sang one of his hits songs.

His son, Jesse, who recently visited us in Bermuda, has entered, with his dad, into a partnership with Gerard Bertrand of France, to produce a fine rosé.

They told the two thousand of us gathered in New York about their wine venture and we all tasted their wine.

Diving Into Hampton Water 2017 Languedoc Rosé, we are told by Jesse, will have its name shortened to just Hampton Water Rosé for their 2018 vintage.

I think that this could be the very first time that a brand-new wine has seen its first vintage included on the Top 100, but there it is at number 83.

It is described in this way “a nicely crafted rosé, with a hint of creamy richness lining the strawberry, melon and white-cherry flavours.

“A dash of minerality imparts depth through the long, mouthwatering finish.

“A crowd-pleaser. Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Drink now”.

There is one important message to give you about this rosé.

When we bought in our allocation this summer, we had great interest in it expressed by Miles Market and Harry’s restaurant, and so they took the whole shipment of bottles and magnums.

Just remember that you will only find it there and not even in any of our own shops.

This column is a paid for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East. 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St. George’s (York Street, 297-0409). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits are available online at www.wineonline.bm

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Published Nov 23, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 23, 2018 at 8:06 am)

Volpaia wows judges, as predicted

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