To all Best Winers,
I knew this would eventually happen. I actually knew it back in 1996 when I tasted the first vintage of master winemaker Vittorio Fiore’s pure Sangiovese, Il Carbonaione.
It was the 1992. A dreadful year in Tuscany. His wine was sensational. It was the top wine of that horrible, horrible year. A year where many of the greatest producers in Tuscany didn’t produce a wine, and he makes the wine of the vintage with his very first release.
I was bowled over then, and old Vittorio is still bowling me over today.
He’s a genius. He was smart enough to find one of the oldest plots of Sangiovese in Chianti Classico (planted 1928!) and he was smart enough to make the wine his way, with no Chianti Classico designation.
He was also smart enough back in the mid-90’s to charge $35 a bottle for the stuff, so he knew people would pick it up and actually try it. What a concept, fairly pricing your wine.
As expected, the wines of Poggio Scalette have grown in quality and stature over the last 20 years. Il Carboniaone was always trucking right along, consistently hanging in with the big dogs at half the price, consistently delivering extreme value for the money, and extreme consistency from those old vines.
Then 2010 happened.
Ho-lee Cow. I’m misting up a bit writing this. The flashbacks to that first 1992 vintage wine are strong. It’s like watching your children grow up, refine, and mature.
Vittorio and his son Jurij have done it. They’ve made arguably the wine of Tuscany’s superlative 2010 vintage, one of the finest pure Sangiovese wines of all time. And they’ve done it at a shockingly great price.
According to Italian wine expert Antonio Galloni, the only Tuscan I.G.T. wine better than Il Carbonaione in the 2010 vintage is Ornellaia’s Masseto. It received one point more (98 points) and sells for approximately $425 more per bottle than the $55 Il Carbonaione (97). By the way, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Galloni and his scoring system, 97 points is a monster score (Halloween pun intended) from him, rarely given out.
Hmm…let me think about this one. Yes, I think I will take a case of Il Carboniaone over a bottle and half of Masseto. Thank you very much.
Like I said, I knew this would happen that first fateful day 17 years ago. My hat’s off to Vittorio Fiore and his family. You did it.
Any collector would be remiss not to have a few bottles (or a case!) of this absolute gem in their cellar…
Kyle at VinItaly (2009) with Jurij Fiore
Kyle Meyer and Tristen Beamon, Proprietors, BestWinesOnline.com