Acidity alone is not enough
It is lovely to drive from Rome to Radda in Chianti, through fairy tale forests that could be home to Snow White or Little Red Riding Hood. The occasion was an interesting initiative organized by the Siena’s Enoclub and the Radda in Chianti tourism office which involved 23 estates in the appellation who compared five vintages of their choosing.
Not all the area’s producers were present and some ‘legends’ were absent. However, this made it possible to get a better idea of the area’s potential because the tasting focused not on the best but on the ‘critical mass’ of producers.
The average quality of the older vintages was not enough to despair over those years and, in fact, cast serious doubts over those producers who seek high acidity in their wines at any cost and who justify certain aromatic “inexactitudes” in the belief that these will be resolved through aging no matter what. This, however, is a pipe dream that tends to favor early deviations rather than exalting the fruity streak of young wines. The tasting disproved the theory that aging resolves aromatic problems, I believe definitively, and confirmed that putting the emphasis on the acidity, the so-called acidic deviation, does not go far. The effect it produces can be compared to that of formaldehyde: it can preserve a body well but it cannot give it back life.
A small, final observation: the wines that when young had a more than evident spiciness from the wood tended to maintain a good aroma with age and lost some of their early ‘excesses’. Thus they defended themselves better against the passage of time and, probably, with a better knowledge on the use of wood they can improve even more. But this is a different story.
(Photo by Martino Balestreri)