How does a bottle of wine made from vines of only four years old taste twelve years on? It's a geeky sort of question to ask and one which only real wine nuts would be (or should be) remotely interested in examining but, last night, having sold a couple of cases recently, I decided to try Monte Rosola's 2004 Crescendo, a pure Sangiovese wine made at a tiny estate between Volterra and San Gimignano.
This is an estate that owes its existence to Gottfried Schmitt, a retired executive who wanted a place in the sun and he chose a truly idyllic spot in the Tuscan hills just outside Volterra, eventually persuading Alberto Antonini, the renowned oenologist, to work with him. However, I'm getting ahead of things: that wasn't until 2008. In 2004, the vines had been planted only four years, an age when vines are deemed capable of producing wine but quality is rarely a word that would come into the same sentence. However, there were only two hectares planted in total at that time so perhaps it isn't so strange; after all, Gottfried and his wife, Carmen, were able to wander the vineyards every day turning individual grapes to ensure maximum ripeness if needed. There would have been no excuse for the toleration of rot and no need for chemicals to ensure everything stayed in good health.
What really impressed me last night was how fresh the wine tasted. Yes, the tannins are nicely integrated and the acidity balanced but the fruit is still lively and very tasty. Sometimes old wines are to be admired more than enjoyed and, whilst this is not an old wine in Bordeaux (or Brunello) terms, relative to the age of the vines, this should be regarded as a pensioner. I can only hope that I am as sprightly when my time comes.
On the back of this tasting, I reviewed drinking dates, pushing the end date back from 2016 to 2018. However, I am willing to bet that in two years time I will be making another adjustment.