Expected Spring 2024
Our tasting impressions
So many of you have raved about Innocenti's Vino Nobile and Rosso from this great vintage. The Riserva is the best grapes from the same vineyard and ages longer. The only possible conclusion is borne out in tasting the
magnificent 2016 Riserva. Eight years in, it remains a young wine that has only begun to reveal its myriad charms and class. The nose is flat-out gorgeous Sangiovese. The wine is deep with sweet, vibrant fruit. The texture is silky. The oak needs time to integrate and it's kind of tight, but the tannins are smooth and in the background. If you love Innocenti like we do, this is a can't-miss. Be patient or give it a loooong decant. Grande Vino!
About this wine
For a number of years, Innocenti produced this from 100% Sangiovese. Then, Tommaso decided that it is better distinguished from the Acerone when made from a traditional Tuscan Sangiovese blend. So, small quantities of
Canaiolo and Colorino are included. The grapes come from vines in Montepulciano planted 30 years ago.
Riserva is produced only in the best year. The grapes are de-stemmed and gently pressed. Fermentation is on the skins for approximately 15-18 days. The wine ages in the oak barrels for 3 years. Then it's filtered with a wide-grain and aged 6 months more in bottle.
N.B. Innocenti uses the same front label for this as the Normale. The Riserva designation appears only on the back.
About the grape blend
Sangiovese is the most planted grape in Italy and is the dominant grape throughout the central part of the country. There are many variants and even different names like Prugnolo Gentile, Brunello, Sangioveto and Morellino.
The grapes are dark and thick-skinned, slow-ripening, acidic and tannic. Like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese is heavily influenced by its terroir and similarly can be quite transparent in its differences from place to place.
Canaiolo and Colorino are traditional blending grapes for Tuscan Sangiovese. Colorino is sparsely used today. Apropos of the name, its deep pigmentation mostly adds color to the blend, but also tannins. Canaiolo balances the other two with softness and imparts graceful herbal flavors.
About the vintage
2016 is a modern day classic vintage in Tuscany. A near perfect growing season that started slowly, warmed up nicely through the summer, and ended with a classic autumn. Ample warm days and cool nights produced a slightly reduced crop of wines that combine the richness of low-yields with the near perfect balance of mature tannins and bright acidity.
On your table
In its youth, look for a hearty stew or a hunk of meat with plenty of fat. Down the road, keep it simple to allow this magnificent wine to shine. Try homemade pappardelle with a light Bolognese sauce.
Vittorio Innocenti, a former philosophy teacher, started producing wine from his family's vineyards with the 1978 vintage from his 13th century cellar in Montefollonico. There are 32 hectares of vines in Montepulciano and Montefollonico but only 12 are planted with vineyards of up to 80 years old. The vista views from the back patio are incredible.
Today, Vittorio's son Tommaso and his partner Vincenza (aka Nancy) handle most of the work. But Vittorio is the keeper of the intellectual capital for all seven wines - in particular both versions of Vin Santo.
The Innocentis are a gracious, wonderful family. The Guru has known them longer than any other wine producer. He admires their intense commitment to producing the highest quality wines - taking as much pride in their most modest offering as they do in their top bottling.
VDLT is the only North American source for these extraordinary wines that are released much later than most top estates in the appellation. The Vino Nobile, Riserva and Acerone are capable of long and magnificent aging. In the photo to the right, we enjoyed a 1985, 1988 and 1993 at a recent lunch. Their freshness and vibrancy belied their ages.