A tasting of Podere Sapaio Wines from Bolgheri
An invitation to taste a selection of wines of Podere Sapaio situated in the commune of Castagneto Carducci which in turn is in the district of the fabled Bolgheri was hard to resist.
The tasting was moderated by the noted Italian wine specialist Walter Speller of www.jancisrobinson.com who’s experienced aided the tasting with style and understanding.
The sandy loam/clay soils of Bolgheri are home to around 50 estates of quality headed by the superstars Sassicaia and Ornellaia. Great vineyards here are responsible for some outstanding long-lived red wines that have enabled this coastal part of Tuscany global notoriety.
The tasting was also hosted by Podere Sapaio’s “Captain the helm” Massimo Piccin plus a select few wine writers and merchants eager (like me) to taste these (now) legendary red wines rated for their grace and poise around the world.
After a wonderful into by Walter Speller describing the nature of the terrior, rainfall, aspect etc we were offered a flight of six wines under the name Volpolo Bolgheri DOC – the younger version of its big brother Sapaio.
Elaborated with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot these chosen Bordeaux varietals have proven success in all Bolgheri. The aim of Volpoio is to be an earlier drinking version of the Sapaio the blend being interned in oak barriques and tonneau for 16 months before bottling followed by 4 months in bottle before the market beckons.
We were offered six vintages prepared with care, they were all poured at the same time allowing the wines to express themselves accordingly.
My tasting notes comprised – Bitter Cherries, Lovely harmony drinking well now but drink up (2008) Deep colour, elegant and balanced, huge tannins and spice yet delicate 3 + years (2011) Lighter complex nose followed immediately by delicate sweeter fruit. Drink now (2013) Lighter nose less complexity high acid fruitiness. Drink now. (2014) Huge tannins, dried fruit, evidence of Merlot with savoury pluminess followed by a rich Cab Sav finish. 5 + years (2015) A balanced vintage deep coloured, dusty, peppery, complex, ethereal with hidden fruit. 10 + years (2016)
Noting each vintage shown was offering vintage variation plus an insight to how these Bordeaux varietals were performing (planted 1999)
Next the Sapaio Bolgheri Superiore DOC that comprised Cab Sav, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot offered 16/17 months in barriques followed by 6 – 8 months in bottle before release.
Elegant with good colour and gentle spice Drink now (2005) Sweet fruit (Cherries) on the nose with body, spice and power. Drink now (2006) Great Cherry scent and Cassis on the nose, light but excellent. Drink now. (2008) Supple and elegant, v fine first taste of Cassis and Cherries following with tannic structure, spice and length. 5 + years (2012). Full-on nose of complex black fruits, great mouthfeel with silky tannins offering a wine to sip now or 10 + (2013)
Brave hand-made wine making is apparent here with a feel of heart, hand and head in harmony, letting the soils and gentle viticulture present through these thoroughly modern wines.
Of course all of these wines were heaven sent for great Italian dishes which we readily devoured! After all we were at 67 Pall Mall the excellent Wine Dining Club of the same London Street!