From the Robb Cellar: May 2004
Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Castello
di Nipozzano 2000 Mormoreto
Of the approximately 2,500 acres that the Frescobaldi family has brought under cultivation in 700 years of winemaking, the finest vineyards are located on three particular estates: Castiglioni in Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Castelgiocondo in Montalcino, and Castello di Nipozzano in Chianti Rufina. The latter belonged originally to the Conti Guidi family, before passing into the hands of the Albizis of Florence. In the mid-19th century, viticulturist Vittorio degli Albizi planted the olive-strewn hillsides with Cabernet and Merlot. The estate later formed part of the dowry of Leonia degli Albizi upon her marriage to Angiolo de’ Frescobaldi.
Vittorio’s chosen varietals have persisted at the castle and form the basis of the family’s Mormoreto, a classic Bordeaux-style blend. The 2000 vintage was harvested early, in late August, under a pleasantly warm Tuscan sun. The finished wine comprises 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 percent Merlot, and 15 percent Cabernet Franc.
The ripening conditions yielded an especially robust Cabernet, which exhibits both a sturdy structure and sumptuous body, balancing beautifully with the fruit of the Merlot and the subtler, earthier traits of the Cabernet Franc. The nose presents a fragrant medley of blackberry and boysenberry that asserts its presence on the tongue. Clove and cigar-box essences follow, culminating in a long, gratifying finish. ($58)
Limestone Hill Cuvée
This up-and-coming Los Olivos vineyard has already received accolades for its 100 percent Syrah and Sangiovese offerings, and the 2001 Limestone Hill Cuvée rounds out the Stolpman cellar by offering a wine for adepts of Bordeaux-style reds. Ecumenically blending Cabernet Sauvignon (38 percents), Merlot (35 percent), and Cabernet Franc (21 percent), with a touch of Petit Verdot and Malbec (3 percent each), this meritage challenges the notion that Santa Barbara is territory where only Pinot and Syrah can excel.
Indeed, this well-rounded blend boasts a deep color and rich fruit—predominantly plums—with an alluring cherry tartness that would provide an appropriate complement to venison and other robust meats. We would swear to a dusting of rich cocoa, and French oak (in which it has been aged for 15 months) is evident in the finish. This easy-drinking, well-balanced cuvée—made under the aegis of winemaker Sashi Moorman—is limited to 760 cases. ($20)