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1999 Ghizzano Nambrot

March 31, 2010

Most Tuscan Merlot I’ve tasted has hailed from the Maremma or has been a component in a blend. This 100% Merlot comes from the Colline Pisane which is the westernmost zone in Chianti. Ghizzano’s 1999 Nambrot was not exactly the style of wine I seek out (ripe and oaky) but it was dressed to kill on Saturday and I couldn’t help but want to take it home with me.

Deep garnet color and a brick rim. Lots of lift to the spicy nose and it’s easy to tell that some of this spice is oak related but I don’t seem to mind; it is not vanilla, caramel or burnt toast but instead intriguing with cinnamon, clove, cigar  and camphor. The oak is very well integrated and although the spiciness of the wine is stronger than the fruit, it is not overwhelming. The fruit comes through more on the palate and it is reminiscent of cherry and blackcurrant. The texture is almost velvety, coming from candid tannins that skip along the palate instead of sticking to it the way younger phenolics would. The tannin is medium and the acidity is low plus. The finish is not as smooth as I might expect from such a classy start but the fruit is strong enough to make the finish pleasant and lasting. Also it is $16 a bottle. The same wine went for $300 for 12 bottles ($25/btl) at a Christies auction last year and I found it on wine searcher for up to $107/btl. I wouldn’t drink this every day but I wouldn’t mind having it around because I think it would impress a good many drinkers and would be a great for a peppery rack of lamb.

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