. Vite Vinifera De Vino's Blog: Cabernet Night

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cabernet Night

This is a true story about a typical case of, as Notorious B.I.G. used to say, "getting high on your own supply."
The excuse was a visit from Luigi on a summer Saturday night. Luigi is a jack-of-all-trades (master of many) who helps me out with various aspect of my work. He also happens to be a close friend. - Saturday was our version of boys night, so we met at my shop, where I decided to take a bottle right from my wall; the Castello dei Rampolla Vigna d'Alceo was calling me, and I most definitely answered that call. I opened the bottle at 9:00 pm, and as soon I uncorked it, a strong perfume of black cherries began to perforate all the air around the bottle. Even before I had poured it into the glass, the cherries were supported by some leather and spice; great nose very vibrant and young, even though the bottle had already reached its 10th birthday.
1997 was a hot year, but in Tuscany it was close to perfect, lest we are reminded of the hype behind the release of the 97 Brunello. This Cabernet base "Super Tuscan" shows a strong bouquet and a heavy weight connected to the climate conditions but still maintaining a great tannic structure and enough acidity to make it very drinkable. Luigi offered a perfect comparison: "it's like an agile fat man".
Castello dei Rampolla is a winery situated in Panzano, in Chianti, and has been part of the Di Napoli Rampolla family since 1739. But, it wasn't until the early 70's that they started to vinify and bottle their own wines.
The winery is organic and biodynamic and the harvest is done by hand; today Maurizia and her brother and Luca Di Napoli Rampolla are in charge of the operations.
One hour in, the tannins became firmer, the dark cherries became less sweet and hints of rosemary and white pepper start to show - the finish was getting longer and longer.
The wine was so good that Luigi and I decided to open another bottle. But we wanted something different. Luigi wasn't sure that we could match the Vigna d'Alceo... but the Ridge Montebello Cabernet 1977 did the trick.
If I had to compare the two, I would say that the Ridge was more elegant and traditional then the Rampolla, probably because 1997 was a very hot year in Italy and the wines tended to be more fruit forward. Both had the same dark cherries and leather as flavor base, but the Ridge was a bit more austere and linear.
Amazingly, after 2 bottles for as many people, we were still making sense and able to appreciate the wines until the last sip, which - as usual - was the best one.
Buona Bevuta a Tutti


Joe M. said...

I am always one for a good hip-hop reference in vinolandia. You'd have broken one of the '10 Crack Commandments' if you were peddling something else, but since it's wine you're dealing with - it's all good.


De Vino said...

Thanks Joe very witty comment :)