Those who previously bought from our offers of the 2009 and 2013 know that Caiarossa is something of a snip in the right vintage. The 2009 is drinking superbly now...we haven’t opted to buy every vintage, though we taste virtually every release. Frankly, you don’t need to buy this wine every year – instead it makes sense to pick off the standout vintages. 2016 fits that description…
2016 was an exceptional vintage along the Tuscan coast…one to rival the great 2006. The leading Super Tuscans, Sassicaia, Ornellaia and Masseto have been released to great acclaim.
Caiarossa, based in Riparbella, actually lies a few miles north of the famous Bolgheri region, home to the familiar names above. Here, the hot 2016 vintage benefitted from sporadic summer rains that ensured the vines were never stressed. We recently read some comments from Axel Heinz, managing director of Ornellaia and Masseto, in which he stated that Bolgheri is a relatively young region and only now are we starting to see the quality that comes from advanced vine age. This comment applies to other vineyards planted with Bordeaux varieties along the Tuscan coast. Others have commented that the 2016 vintage benefitted from the Tramontana wind; this is a cold north-easterly wind that often heralds the end of summer. In 2016, it brought cool nights and bright days elongating the harvest period after a slightly early start. This wind also serves to concentrate sugars and assists in retaining acidity - growers were able to wait for the ideal point to harvest. Whatever the root causes may be, the results are very promising, and you don’t need to spend a fortune to find a great example from Tuscany’s coastline.
Given that Bordeaux grape varieties dominate, it is not surprising to learn of interest from Bordeaux estates. Caiarossa is owned by Eric Albada Jelgersma of Château Giscours in Margaux. Jelgersma, who prefers to invest in undervalued estates, acquired Caiarossa in 2004. The estate extends over 30.5 hectares in three main areas; Serra all’Olio (nearest the winery at 250 metres above sea level), Le Lame (at 160 metres) and lastly Nocolino (at 350 metres). Soils vary across the estate, enabling a broad range of varieties to be grown. In fact, there are ten varieties grown across the estate and soils are principally limestone, sand, gravel as well as volcanic components.
Seven of the ten varieties are utilised in the Caiarossa estate wine, and while it might be hard to pin-point what the tiny percentages of Alicante or Sangiovese bring to the blend, the assemblage works, and in some style in a vintage like 2016. Please see below for my note as well as Monica Larner’s note from August this year. Antonio Galloni hasn’t tasted the last few vintages.
£235 per 6 bottle case in bond
£235 per 3 magnum case in bond
96 points. Monica Larner, robertparker.com
The 2016 Caiarossa will be released in September. This wine is a blend of seven grapes—42% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 15.5% Syrah, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 4.5% Sangiovese and 1% Alicante. This vintage sees a slightly higher percentage of Cabernet Franc than usual, but I am told that the 2018 edition will see more Syrah instead. The bouquet presents a beautiful first wave of dark fruit that pushes the limits of ripeness but remains safely within the realm of elegance. The aromas are balanced and focused with blackberry, cassis, and light touches of salty or rusty mineral. The wine is not too constructed or big in the mouth, rather is shows a delicate level of elegances that absolutely seals the deal. Some 57,000 bottles were made. 2020-2040
Very expressive on the nose, with ripe berry characters; plenty of dark, juicy fruits allied to a scented, lifted accent and hints of aromatic herbs. There is a wealth of fruit on the palate too, with a layered, cushioned sense of depth. Certainly a mouth-filling style, this vintage impresses in volume but also in precision as a bright acidity carries it to a long, juicy, mouth-watering finish. There is no denying the ripeness on show – this is the product of an outstanding Tuscan vintage, but this is far from overblown, in fact I would go so far as to say that it is perfectly-judged. Caiarossa continues to impress and this vintage will be in its prime from 2025. Drink 2022 to 2037. (SL)
Please let us know of your interest.