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Gruppo Italiano Vino, Italy

© 2009 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Gruppo Italiano Vino.

MELINI & MACHIAVELLI, TUSCANY

Melini

Melini, I Coltri IGT Toscana 2008
A blend of 65% Sangiovese with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, with around third aged in new and used barriques. A touch of leather and a creamy red fruit, a touch of vegetal quality. On the palate quite fleshy and dense, with nice spicy structure and plenty of fleshy, easy-drinking fruit. Good quality at the local price of around 5 - 6 Euros. 85/100

Melini, Morellino di Scansano 'Fondaio' 2008
85% Sangiovese with 15% other varieties. Ageing in large oak casks. Bright, herb and spice-touched cherry fruit, with a certain brightness and light-weight freshness. The fruit has plenty of juicy, fresh, raspberry and cherry brightness. Nice acidity and freshness with just a hint of creamy spice. 87/100

Melini, Chianti 'Pian del Masso' 2008
85% Sangiovese with 15% other varieties. A small proportion of over-mature grapes has an almost ripasso fermentation, being added to an already fermented product. This is their 'supermarket' blend. Dark, quite chocolaty and roasted aromas, with quite solid black fruit. The palate has a combination of some creamy texture and richness and a dry, savoury, slightly harsh acidity and tannin that makes it savoury, if slightly lacking fruit depth. 85/100

Melini, Chianti Classico Terrarossa 2007
80% Sangiovese with 20% other varieties. From vineyards with an average elevation of around 400 metres, both estate-grown and purchased grapes. Aged for a year in larger French oak casks. Some cedar and black fruit notes, with a little tobacco and herbal quality. The palate has a nice sour cherry savour, with good acidity and a bit of tannic grip, though the fruit persists pretty well, with some spice in the nicely integrated finish. 87/100

Melini, Chinati Classico Riserva 'Vigneti La Selvanella' 2005
100% Sangiovese, from a 49-hectare estate owned by Melini in Radda in Chianti. Matured for 30 months in French oak casks. Very dark, powerful, silky appeal on the nose. Hints of leather and game, but solid black fruit and a touch of cedary spice. The palate is smooth, medium-bodied and retains a good edge of acidity. Lovely dry extract character, with structured appeal of dry, savoury fruit and tannin and fine length with tobacco, spice and that cherry acidity keeping it very mouth-watering and fresh. 92/100

Melini, Chinati Classico Riserva 'Vigneti La Selvanella' 2006
Similar nose, with tight, quite powerful and concentrated character. Not quite so aromatic perhaps. The palate is similarly dry and savoury, again with that extract obvious, but not losing its freshness. Chewy and tannic through the finish, this is a slightly tougher, more sinewy Chianti, but has excellent balance and structure for the long haul. 91/100

Machiavelli

Only estate fruit from this property, once the home of Machiavelli, and now housing a small museum, and a restaurant in which he frequently dined.

Machiavelli, Chianti Classico 'Solatio del Tani' 2006
100% Sangiovese, named because the vineyard has a long sun exposure. The wine is aged in medium-sized oak vats. A little more mineral and ashy, tobacco-infused cherry fruit with some leafy notes too. The palate has a freshness and a fruity appeal, with lots of ripe cherry and red fruits, quite nicely tensioned by good, tart cherry acidity and fine but nicely roughening tannins. Plenty of spice and grip. 89/100

Machiavelli, Chianti Classico Riserva 'Vigna di Fontalle' 2005
100%, from a 26 hecatre vineyard in Sant' Andrea in Percussina. Matured for two years in French oak, smaller casks. Lovely, tobacco and smoky, savoury and earthy aromatics, with solid black cherry fruit. The palate has intensity of tight, sweet, quite muscular black fruit, that fills the mouth, with a fine-grained tannin structure, plenty of spice and well-balanced acidity. Within quite a dense, fleshy structure, the acid seems relatively subdued, and this is a more 'international' style than the Selvanella from Melini, but it is structured and delicious. 91.

Machiavelli, Chianti Classico Riserva 'Vigna di Fontalle' 2006
Blackcurrant and a certain meat-stock darkness, with a real impression of solidity and ripeness. The palate has a certain opulence, with a broad, savoury appeal and fleshy, mouth-filling mid-palate. Lovely richness, fruit sweetness and spice. Long and seductive. 91/100

Machiavelli, Rosso Toscana 'Ser Niccolo' 2005
An IGT blend of 82.5% Cabernet Sauvignon with 17.5% Sangiovese, the yield reduced, and around one year in barriques. Slightly reduced, but opens to show some juicy black fruit, and a certain exotic, Sandalwood spice just emerging. The palate has a huge fruit sweetness, with lots of ripe blackcurrant and a lot of spice and gentle toastiness beneath, with tannins grippy. Acidity does freshen the finish nicely in a stylish, quite plush and international wine. Nicely dry and savoury. 89/100

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