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It was the last day of VinItaly 2022 and I was steering myself out of one of the 11 gigantic meeting halls when one of my logistics reps called me over to meet his friend Federico and taste his wines. Despite my rather thrashed palate, I obliged and was promptly enthralled, leaving a series of asterisks and exclamation points scribbled alongside various dots of spilled wine. Yes, it had been a long day.
Never one to commit to anything after a long day of tasting, I begged off but made certain to circle back up with Federico and get samples stateside. After re-tasting I determined I was, indeed, of sound mind when I made those scribbles and, after some tough negotiations (these are not inexpensive), committed to a variety of San Felo wines.
The 2020 Balla la Vecchia is a blend of 50% Cabernet and 50% Merlot from the San Felo estate vineyards in Maremma Toscana. It scored 90-points from Raffaele Vacchione of Winescritic.com (former writer for James Suckling now out on his own).
Sumptuous blackberry kirsch, blackcurrant and graphite perfume kicks things off with a toffee and cedar underpinning. With air, things turn to blueberry and chocolate with a beautiful cherry and red hot/cinnamon spice top note. Sumptuous but reliably structured with palate staining, mineral-driven tannins that crest and crash, unfurling blueberry, coffee and spice graphite notes in a long, supple, resounding finish.
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot
100% estate vineyards, 450-500 feet of elevation, sandy soil composition
100% stainless steel fermentation