The culmination of our Tuscany trip last year was a visit to Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast. Previously, I’d only ever passed through this part of the Maremma, made famous by Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, who first planted Cabernet Sauvignon vines here almost eighty years ago and started a project – Sassicaia – that was to change the face of Tuscan wine.
From the modern glass tasting room at Grattamacco, one gets some feeling for the vineyards of the region. Up above, by the church on the hill, lie the vineyards of the celebrated Sassicaia. And around about, sporadically dotting the landscape, lie other vineyards of Bolgheri, some densely margined by maquis-like forest. One wonders why there are not more extensive plantings; it turns out that further vineyard expansion has been curtailed under Italian law.
And away to one’s left one can see the sea and it is this, in part, that lends the wines here such finesse; its cooling influence freshens the fruit as it ripens.
This is the Italian home-away-from-home for the grape varieties of Bordeaux such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot.
And yet here are produced wines of distinctly local character, definitively Italian, confidently Tuscan.
N.B. We offered the 2009 vintage of Grattamacco some years ago and I have been drinking my case with enormous pleasure here at home. It never fails to elicit enthusiastic noises from all who drink it.
£261 in bond per 6 Drink 2020-2035
N.B. This is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Sangiovese.
Fruit on the nose here has good snap, is red and black, offering undercurrents of earth and spice. There’s a wisp of orange thread running through it, adding complexity and that complexity continues on the entry of the palate, which is rich and plush: a product of this warmer vintage. In the mouth it quickly collects a core of earth-textured structure: rich, assertive, earthy tannin. There’s bold spice to be found here. It’s a nuttily-structured wine of slightly creamy-dark, delicious fruit, supported by big, upright, nutty grip. There’s a spice at the back that is almost peppery and it is dotted with liquorice throughout. A boldly dense and incisively fresh wine.
"The 2015 Bolgheri Superiore Grattamacco is big, bold and absolutely stunning. This blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Sangiovese is dark and luscious, with overlapping melodies of tobacco, spice, dark fruit and grilled herb. There is so much depth and power. This vintage is a gem for your cellar, and the wine should award a long aging trajectory for those who have the patience to wait. 97/100." Monica Larner