On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Good Dei: 2 wines / 4 vintages

23 Jun 2023

(February 2023) ... Montepulcino - I have been to Dei before... I have tasted wines here before ... I have had a meal here before.

But this was a different visit, it was about comparing two Cru (single vineyards) the winery has. One, is the older vineyard used to make the Riserva – Bossona ... The other is an ode to the father, a small vineyard called “Madonna della Querce”, planted in 2005, the first vintage of which was released from the 2015 vintage. A handful of media from around the world was there to taste these two reserve wines side by side from four different vintages: 2015 - 2016 - 2017 - 2018.

2018 ...
Madonna Della Querce vs Bossona
Madonna - Nice structure with lovely acidity and spice notes; well balance dark fruit with cedar... It has lovely complexity and a good life ahead of it.
Bossona – Drink-ability is certainly in the now camp. Lots of red berries, good balancing acidity and moderate spice. Enjoy now.

Winner : A draw. While Bossona is drink now, Madonna will be waiting in the wings when you are finished all the  Bossona; and good thing too, as Madonna needs more time.Dei Cellar Tasting

2017 ...
Madonna Della Querce vs Bossona
Madonna - Rough and rugged tannins from the outset ... There is fruit, it's there, but it's not ready to drink quite yet; it's also developing notes of leather, tar and cedar.
Bossona - An approachable wine that's very delicate, and doesn't disguise the fruit it has under a veil of wood.

Winner : Easily the Bossona; with its approachability and ease of drinking, it's a quaffer right now; I'm not sure whether the Madonna gets out from behind that tarry-woody-leathery veil.

2016 ...
Madonna Della Querce vs Bossona
Madonna - Happily, there is some fruit to be found here; but the extract is hard and there's some crazy age-ability here as long as that wood manages to settle itself down and the fruit can find a way to fight its way to the front.
Bossona - Approachable and fruity: lots of red berry: cherry, strawberry, and red currant really showing its way through. This wine is fresh, fruity and fun.

Winner : This should be obvious from the write-up above, but if the Madonna can write the ship over the next few years ... time will tell.

2015 ...
Madonna Della Querce vs Bossona
Madonna - Already 7 years old and the wine maintains rugged / tough tannins and dark brooding fruit... I'm not sure it ever will turn a corner.
Bossona - Tannins and acidity are battling it out, while the fruit waits in the wings to see who's the ultimate winner in their fight for supremacy. There is a certain approachability here, but the tannins need to drop like a set of balls.

Winner : tough call, but this round might go to the Bossona, just for having some drink-now-ability - otherwise, it's a draw of. Let's see what happens.

Capezzana: Testing the History of Furba

15 May 2023

(February 2023) ... For those of you who missed it last year, you can look up my Capezzana tasting and write up here ... There, you will learn that the winery was bought in 1924 by the current owner's great grandfather (amongst other pieces of winery history).

WinemakerToday, we're tasting the Ghiaie della Furba wine that has been a calling card of the winery, since it's inception in 1979. It was designed as a Bordeaux blend made of equal parts Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. With more Cabernet Sauvignon being planted, the blend changed in 1992, when Sauvignon took the lion's share, at 60% with Merlot being 30% and Cabernet Franc reduced to a mere 10%. In 1998, the blend changed once again, this time it was due to the change of winemaker, which usually means a change of vision of what a wine should be. Benedetta Contini Bonacossi, took over the wine making in 1988; but it wasn't till 10 years later that Furba was transformed from a straight Bordeaux blend to a red blend that saw Syrah taking the place of the Cabernet Franc.

The wine, Ghiaie della Furba, takes its name from the pebbles (Ghiaie) along the bank and within the stream of the area (Furba). The first vineyards that were dedicated for the wine were planted in 1969; the Syrah was planted in 1985. The wine is produced in the Carmignano appellation of Tuscany, within which there are only 13 producers - they make up the smallest DOCG in Italy.

We tasted five vintages of Ghiaie della Furba, starting with the second ever vintage of the wine (1981) and ending with the current vintage (2019).

2019 Ghiaie della Furba
40% Cabernet Sauvignon/ 25% Merlot/ 35% Syrah - 14.99% alcohol.
Alcohol levels have come down from 2016; this is tough, tannic and woody, but has some nice smoky blackberry, cassis and coffee bean notes intertwined between those aggressive opening notes. This stands a chance to be another beauty in 10 plus years, like the 2006.

The Wines in Glass



Ranking order (based on taste and drinkability) ...
2006 - 1981 - 1999 - 2016 - 2019


Table2006 Ghiaie della Furba
20% Merlot and 20% Syrah join the Cabernet Sauvignon in this vintage. This is really ripe, and the body shows very little in the way of age, nice acidity, black pepper, blackberry and cassis. The acidity just keeps on making this wine one to keep going back to. It's long and lush, pretty yet powerful. I could sip on this one all night long.

1981 Ghiaie della Furba
The original idea of one third of all three main Bordeaux varieties goes into this blend. It was also barrique aged (small barrels). It was very bottle dependent, as to what you got with this wine. There were two bottles opened - both tasted very different from one another. Nose of old shoe leather, dusty but the acidity is good and the dried currants, earthy and dried flowers seems to give it a little lift ... The second bottle, showed much younger, fresher, and livelier character with notes of figs, dates and a touch of red fruit; nicely balanced. Really showed the concept of bottle variation.

1999 Ghiaie della Furba
The hallmark of this vintage was the well-timed rains, this was also the second time Syrah showed up in the blend. 30% Merlot / 10% Syrah. Very black nose with touches of VA. Plus some balsamic, blueberry and licorice. Round in the mouth with subtle tannin bite and a licorice finish.

2016 Ghiaie della Furba
Syrah takes an even bigger bite out of this wine making up 35%, with the Merlot at 25%. This one has big black fruit and spice, lush and plush with a sweet and spicy finish. But it was still very aggressive in the tannin department.


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