I was in Scotland, thus missed the tasting of the newly released wines from the mighty Vega Sicilia. And yet how can one turn down an allocation of what are among the finest red wines of a country celebrated for its red wines?
Equally, how could one pass up on the new releases from what is, to many, the finest producer of white wine in all Italy? A winery about which Robert Parker's Wine Advocate stated:
"I can't think of too many wines I would rather have on my dinner table than those of Enzo Pontoni and Miani. These are among the finest wines being made anywhere."
Those "in the know" grab the wines of Miani whenever possible. And I know that the UK importers of these wines receive requests from all over the wine-drinking world by those attempting to snaffle a small supply of the stuff.
I often hear those of my age or thereabouts stating that they intend, in future, to drink less, but better. Well in the wines of Miani is a proper opportunity to upgrade the dry white section of one's collection (whilst not, of course, forgetting that Pontoni's red wines are highly lauded, too).
N.B. Alas, I have not tasted these releases either. However, I have tasted - indeed offered - excellent wines from very decent vintages that Enzo Pontoni has sold off in bulk, having rejected them as being below par, so I can confirm that anything under a Miani cork has passed the test with one of the world's most obsessed vinous perfectionists...
2014 Macan Clasico, Rioja, Benjamin Rothschild & Vega Sicilia
£132 in bond per 6 Drink 2019-23
"The Macán project had an awkward start, but the evolutionary tactics of Vega Sicilia are producing results, especially in recognising the differences from Ribera del Duero and discovering the appropriate extraction, oak and barrel toast for Tempranillo in Rioja. Fine aromatics of thyme and rosemary with violets lead into a rich and fleshy palate with a rasp of tannin and a line of vivid acidity. It has a long finish with smoky notes. A much improved, enjoyable Rioja." Sarah Jane Evans MW
2013 Pintia, Toro
£168 in bond per 6 Drink 2019-24
"Pintia is alluringly aromatic, full of fleshy fruit and cedar. The palate is clearly born in Toro - rich, dense and textured, but nevertheless controlled and not baked. The grain of tannin underpins it all, giving a firm structure. It was a cool year with rains, which explains the lack of concentration compared to previous years. It will be drinking well soon, and for the next 8-10 years." Sarah Jane Evans MW
2014 Alion, Ribera del Duero, Vega Sicilia
£261 in bond per 6 Drink 2020-26
"From Vega Sicilia's sister estate, using 50% own fruit and 50% from growers in villages including Pesquera and Moradillo. What a difference a vintage makes! 2013 was a cool year and Alión was not showing at its best, but one year later, with some gentle tweaks to the winemaking, the 2014 is delightfully aromatic, with fine oak, redcurrant fruit, and notes of forest floor. The palate is impressively silky, with black fruit and aniseed, while the tannins are firm and tight at present. Alión is a modern-styled Ribera del Duero youngster, and simply needs time to calm down." Sarah Jane Evans MW
2013 Valbuena, Ribera del Duero, Vega Sicilia
£240 in bond per 3 Drink 2020-30"This is aromatically pure, with roses, fresh herbs and fine cedar. Initially subdued in the mouth, it blossoms into a vivid freshness, then powers through to a heart of dark tannin and black fruit. It's a brooding style, full of character, with finely handled oak and a keynote thread of freshness." Sarah Jane Evans MW
2006 Unico, Ribera del Duero, Vega Sicilia
£555 in bond per 3 Drink 2021-40
"From vines averaging 35 years of age across 40 hectares, Único undergoes a minimum 10 year ageing process in both small and large American and French oak barrels, plus time in bottle. After a while in the glass the aromatic profile grows, charming with redcurrants, roses, and fine oak. In the mouth it lives up to its 'Unique' name. The depth of flavour impresses, and so too does the complex layering. Mineral, chalk, red fruit, wood smoke and fresh herbs - there's so much to discover, and all of these characteristics are building materials for the future, along with the very bright line of freshness. Very promising." Sarah Jane Evans MW
"Proprietor Enzo Pontoni literally lives in his vineyards, stopping home only for lunch and dinner. Pontoni represents the finest of the artisanal approach to winemaking and his meticulous, some would say fanatical, devotion to his old-vine plots is legendary."
We are able to offer the following wines from Miani (N.B. Quantities are embarrassingly small, so please let me know at your earliest convenience if you are interested in these):
2016 Sauvignon, Colli Orientali, Miani
£186 in bond per 6 Drink 2019-25
2016 Chardonnay, Colli Orientali, Miani
£186 in bond per 6 Drink 2019-26
2016 Friulano Filip, Colli Orientali, Miani
£255 in bond per 6 Drink 2019-26
2016 Friulano Buri, Orientali, Miani
£255 in bond per 6 Drink 2019-26
2015 Chardonnay Palis, Colli Orientali, Miani
£255 in bond per 6 Drink 2019-27N.B. This is a new cuvée here about which the importer tells me the following:
"Palis is part of the Baracca vineyard. Enzo has decided to age it for a longer period. So after the usual time in barrel (about 10 months) the wines was racked in a small concrete vat and kept there for another 6 months. Then bottled. The idea behind this is to start aging the wines a bit more in order to have a more complex aromatic profile and a more consistent aging potential given the longer lees contact."
2016 Sauvignon Saurint, Colli Orientali, Miani
£255 in bond per 6 Drink 2020-28
2013 Rosso di Miani, Colli Orientali, Miani
£351 in bond per 6 Drink 2021-35
Email caspar[at]boweswine.co.uk to order these wines.