Three things we took away from the evening…
- Camartina is built to last! The 1999 was just starting to develop secondary characteristics and the 1997 also had time on its side.
- This is an estate that has been a little overlooked and we will be leading the cheers from here on in!Camartina is a super good value Tuscan.
- Tinello serves seriously good Italian food and plenty of it.
The Querciabella Estate is located among the stunning hills in the heart of Chianti, where they produce one of the original supertuscans, Camartina. The estate was founded in 1974 and the first vintage of Camartina followed in 1981. The team are uncompromising in their focus on quality and are prepared to declassify if they don’t feel the wines are up to scratch, such as the hot 2009! The style here is all about elegance. The wines are concentrated but never over the top. Refreshing acidity is a hallmark of these wines blended from 3 high altitude hillside vineyards. The acidity of the Sangiovese and the structure from the Cabernet Sauvignon support and keep in check the richness allowing the wines to be at once hedonistic and restrained.
The food at Tinello was really well suited to Camartina. The 2010 and 2008 bulldozed their way through the speck, chicken liver crostini, courgette fritte and bean stew. It was a powerful way to begin, lots of robust and satisfyingly rich flavours with the acidity of the wines freshening the stew and the courgettes. Punchy! The delicious wild boar pasta picked up the secondary nuances in the 2003 and 2004 and really showed these wines off. Even the 03 had the acidity to cut the unctuous boar penne. The veal chop and squab pidgeon dishes that followed were both tremendous. Sweet and rich enough to balance the fruitiness of the wines but in no way overpowering the secondary characteristics of the 97. Both dishes were flecked with acidity; the veal with braised fennel and lemon salad and the squab with pickled radicchio. Some Supertuscans would have floundered with this freshness as green flavours and acidity in the food can emphasise a lack of proper ripeness in the wine but the underlying acidity of the Camartina 99 and 97 and crucially the physiological ripeness of these wines found perfect harmony with the food. This was followed up a huge amount of cheese or tiramisu.
We were gloriously over-indulged with wine and food.
Crostini con il “fuagra” toscano Traditional Tuscan chicken liver “crostini”
Speck della Val di Non
Smoked and cured ham from Trentino
Traditional Tuscan beans and black cabbage soup
Insalata di puntarelle e capperi
Wild chicory and capers salad
Camartina 2010, Querciabella
Super powerful and rich yet classy and restrained. This is wonderfully well proportioned with the balance to age over the seriously long term. We can’t wait to see this one unfurl.
Camartina 2008, Querciabella
Very, very bright and fresh with a healthy bit of grip. Complexity in texture with satisfying acidity and firm but beautifully ripe tannin tempered by a core of sweet concentrated fruit. This has terrific line and drive and insists that you have another sip! One to hold but acid junkies need not wait so long. Like the 2010, balance and harmony are the words…
Mezze penne al ragu di cinghiale
Egg pasta, wild boar ragout
Camartina 2004, Querciabella
This has everything. Voluptuous yet refreshing. Deep, layered and serious yet utterly delightful, even to drink now. This explodes out of the glass! Wonderful matched with the wild boar ragu; enough punch to stand up to it but also the nuance to marry with the intensely savoury yet sweet sauce. The team absolutely nailed it in 2004.
Camartina 2003, Querciabella
A stunning effort for what was a complicated vintage. This has the wonderful sweetness and exoticism of 2003. There are hints of the volatility of the vintage but the structure to hold it all in place. This is a slight departure for Camartina but a welcome one and this is certainly a wine you can enjoy now, as well as age.
Piccione arrosto, lenticchie e radicchio tardive in agrodolce
Roast squab pidgeon, lentils and pickled radicchio
Cotoletta di vitello, finocchi brasati, insalata di limone
Impressively youthful. This is just starting to move out of its primary phase and reveal some secondary characteristics. You can see the depth and layers but really this needs another 5 or so years to show itself. We cannot wait! This was simply stunning. Like the 2004, serious, powerful and muscular yet utterly hedonistic. This is a marvellous wine.
Camartina 1997, Querciabella
This is starting to hint at maturity with some delicious savoury, truffley secondary characteristics. Still plenty of time on its side but in a wonderful place today. With my veal this sang!
Selezione di formaggi
With whatever was left in peoples glasses!
And then too short a sleep…
Blog by Martin Buchanan