2017 Avignonesi, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, Tuscany, Italy.
Sangiovese fans will want to find some bottles of this ripe and expressive 2017 Vino Nobile by the famous Avignonesi winery in Montepulciano, it is a full bodied and opulent wine with classic terror and varietal character showing deep red fruits, a touch of spice, cedar and delicate earthy elements. The palate quite luxurious in feel with sweet tannin, a highlight of the warm vintage, and there is a smooth layering of raspberry, dark cherry, mulberry and strawberry fruits that a nicely accented by dried minty herbs, pipe tobacco, anise and a hint of candied orange rind. As it opens up it gains a sense of black fruit and adds some contrasting savory and pretty florals, making for an excellent example of Nobile that will thrill most lovers of the Sangiovese grape and it is a great food wine as well, going lovely with a selection of meat or mushroom dishes. The Montepulciano region has soils are mainly made of marine sediments and clay with some sandy areas that provide the perfect conditions, along with the warm days, for hillside Sangiovese to thrive, as this wine proves with its depth, complexity and old world charm. The Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano saw a natural fermentation and was traditionally aged 18 months mainly in large Slavonian oak casks, with just a small selection seeing smaller barriques, all to deliver the region’s authentic profile and capture the nature of this region. There’s a lot to admire here already and the structure underneath should allow mid term aging, with the 2017 not quite having the stuffing of the legendary 2016s, but the gap is not that far off and I really enjoyed this wine, which is a steal at under $25 bucks.

It was great to catch up with Avignonesi’s lineup of wines at the San Francisco Slow Wine tasting, these Montepulciano wines are beautifully made and very authentic terroir bottlings, with this 2017 Nobile being the star of the table, along with the 100% Merlot and the Amphora raised Da-Di, which I reviewed earlier. Avignonesi has a collection of about 444 acres of vineyards in Montepulciano and Cortona regions, all of which fully certified organic and biodynamic in the southern part of Tuscany. Named after the original founders of the estate, the Avignonesi family, the historic winery, has really taken a huge step up in quality in the last 15 years, and mainly as a result of it being acquired by Virginie Saverys in 2009, who has put so much passion and resources into Avignonesi, putting it into Tuscany’s elite group of producers. Saverys has grown the estate holdings in size adding some top vineyard sites and at the same time helping Avignonesi become a leader in biodynamic viticulture in the region. As well as the innovation in farming Virginie has built a state-of-the-art winemaking facility, which has become the pride of the Montepulciano appellation. She also brought in the youthful winemaking talent of Matteo Giustiniani, who was trained in Bordeaux as well as in Florence and who has crafted a gorgeous set of new releases here, including this dark garnet Nobile. This wine saw its fermentation carried out by pied de cuve (vineyard yeasts). Which the winery explains, the Pied de cuve is the process by which a vat of grapes is harvested in advance and used to prepare a natural yeast, specific for a grape variety and (or) vineyard to provide true site flavors. This Botti aged Sangiovese, which rivals more than a few Brunello wines three times the price, is highly entertaining and wildly delicious, I recommend getting a few bottles to enjoy now and for another 5 to 10 years.
($25 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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