Monday, March 10, 2014


Capping off what seems like an interminable winter was my self proclaimed, if unofficial "birthday weekend".   Several wines were consumed with varying dishes from lamb osso bucco, to NY strips to a 7 course tasting menu and over the next few days, I'll spotlight some of the wines that went along with these wonderful meals. 
The first was a Tuscan duo for dinner at home.  Two "off vintages", two reputable producers and two very good wines started things off well. 
The first was the 2005 Testamatta.   I first tasted this last April and then again in July.  In following the progression, now almost a year later, this was the weakest showing of the three.  I'm not sure what's happening here. 
In the glass, it's a deep ruby.  There's a slight bricking at the rim - this reminds of a Brunello in terms of color at the moment.  The fragrance is there.  Flowers, berries, and earthen notes are pleasant if not a bit muted.  On the palate, the wine is pretty up front, with spicy berry fruit with tobacco and earth.  However, on the back end of the palate, the wine finishes very austere and slightly drying. This "Hot Head" is missing something at the moment. I don't know if it's in a phase or if it's starting to decline in a vintage that was less than ideal.  I do have one bottle remaining and I'm in no rush to get to it.  Good, but overall, disappointing.  87 points.  About $80.

~ Bibi Graetz's Testamatta - The "Hot Head" ~

Next up was the wonderfully aromatic 2008 Brunello from Mate.  This was one of the highest scoring Brunello in my Comprehensive Report published earlier this year and it's still showing very well.  The wine displays pretty, delicate aromatics of violets, sage and crushed fruit.  On the palate, the core of berry fruit is generous and juicy - punctuated by Tuscan herbs, and a mellow leather note.  The finish of the wine shortens up a bit, but considering the vintage, this is quite a tasty effort.  92 points, about $45.   Disclosure:  This bottle was a producer provided sample.

~ Testa - Mate!  Along with my new 7th Grade Wood Shop Cork Board ~

Cin Cin


  1. John , any thoughts on the drinking window for the 2008 Mate? I have several in by cellar but have not tried one yet. Also what did you pair it with. BTW tonight's wine is a Mate Rosso Montalcino. We do drink wines other than Mate but we much enjoy the Mate wines. Joe D.

  2. Hey Joe, I think you've got a nice window on the Mate. I don't know that many 2008s will improve greatly, but there's enough fruit and acid there to hold well 3-5 years I'd say. If you have a few, try one now, they're great.

    As for food, the Mate was served with Lamb shank osso bucco over mushroom and pea risotto. It was, needless to say, the perfect foil.