One of the most interesting tasks undertaken by our winemaker and assistants at Vineria del Carmine this winter was tasting each of the 2020 vintage wines from their prospective barrels and tanks. For our winemaker Giovanni Dubini, with 40 plus vintages under his belt, this is hardly new but for myself, Mattia and Charlene, we won’t quickly forget this experience. This is the first year we have been able to organise this tasting at Vineria del Carmine with wines from our new winery and everyone learnt something and were very pleased with the results.
Charlene, our assistant winemaker, remarked on how each grape variety is so fundamentally different and was struck by how our wines were evolving in consistency and flavour while others remained more faithful to their ‘original aspects’. She has been watching our grapes slowly grow and mature in the vineyards and managing their transition to the winery for crushing. She feels very maternal towards them and this tasting showed she has every right to feel proud of them.
What makes winemaking such an art and why it is so important to have the experience of our wine-maker Giovanni by our side was highlighted by the influence of our French oak barrels (in our case 225 litre and 500 litre Boutes and Taransaud barrels) during this tasting. Barrels allow wines to slowly breathe and develop over time and each grape variety is influenced differently. It is noticeable when tasting wines from younger and older barrels as they bring different levels of wood intensity but also different favours. That two barrels from the same producer, made in the same year from the same type of wood, with wine from the same vineyard can still be so different was amazing to taste! It is perhaps these subtle differences in their wood, assembly and toasting, we perceived during the tasting which makes wine so fascinating.
All the information from this tasting will be very helpful for when we decide upon the blends of our wines with the owners of the Estate. Giovanni’s experience knowing how wines develop over time is fundamental to our decision making during this process. Mattia, with his sommelier skills, noted how the 2020 reds were faithful to their main varietal characteristics, yet maintaining a remarkable freshness and the usual mouth-watering minerality. He enjoyed the merlot with its cherry notes and pleasant herbaceous hints, the juiciness of our Sangiovese, the elegance of our Cabernet Sauvignon and the fascinating austerity of our Sagrantino.
We all noted the fine graphite notes some of the wines are developing and the captivating balsamic notes acquired by the wines matured in our new French oak barrels. Mattia was also amazed at the different contribution barrels of different ages impart on the same wines: detectable, deep and persistent flavours from the new casks; mild, subtle, barely perceptible notes from the older barriques.
We were all pleased to find the usual delicious green pear skin flavours on the nose of our 2020 Indigeno Trebbiano and the sharp citrus acidity it has in your mouth. Our roses wines were also tasted from their stainless steel holding tanks. Our Rosabella della Chiesa Merlot blush is well on its way to becoming the fruity, refreshing, balanced rosé we love so much while our 100% Sangiovese Rosa della Chiesa is as always very different in style, already a crisp, cutting and vibrating wine. It was agreed that the 2020 vintage offers a lot to be excited about.