Il giornalista Luciano Di Lello, grande conoscitore della storia vinicola italiana e degustatore eccellente, ha dedicato un lungo articolo ad una verticale di Redigaffi sul suo portale http://www.lucianodilello.com/redigaffi-o-della-piu-grande-giovinezza/
Buona letturaA vertical on our Redigaffi. A very intense route about our wine. Luciano Di Lello wrote on
The world in a room or, to be more precise, in a small study, little more than six feet by six feet. It is the space in which the imaginary novel takes shape (sooner or later it will be ready, there’s no hurry …. as long as it will eventually be an excellent one) along with all my writings on the finest wines of my life. But, in any case, the writing is a lovely adventure, one of complete freedom, of a reckless omnipotence in which on rare occasions there is also the perception of having hit the target, of centering it and freeing it from a previous tangle of ideas and impulses, as though it were something which was part of your destiny. Once a friend, after having casually read one of these articles, perhaps thinking to give me a compliment, said: “very nice indeed, a shame it’s about wine”. But I owe a great deal to important wines and I refuse to disavow it. Following them in their growth, in their development, has given me at least two lessons. One is ethical, because I have had a series of proofs, after tens of thousands of wines tasted, that a great wine is also the fruit of a total honesty. To reach this level it is necessary to make great sacrifices, study, continually put yourself on the line, take risks, give all of your best. You are on the edge where you can only be yourself, cheating is not allowed, and neither masks nor faking or short cuts are possible.
The second is aesthetic, because I have learned much about how a great wine offers itself up, let’s itself be glimpsed and interpreted or hides secrets and intimacies. It is the unraveling of a plot, a story line, the aromas release their fragrance, and their personality begins to show itself. Which can be either pleasurable or important, the first flashes of complexity or remain a bit aloof, a hint, or can merely leave things to the imagination. To perceive a great wine, to see it grow in the glass, has much in common with the reading of a story or the viewing of a film. But then, if you are fortunate enough to taste the vertical sequence of the various vintages of a marvelous wine, it is as though you are watching the passages, the plots, the forking, and the layers of one of those TV series in which the American cinema, in terms of the quality of the story, the care in the direction, and the bravura of the actors currently seems to give the best of themselves. Exactly as the way a wine expresses and offers itself has become for me a lesson and a model of writing, of how to intrigue and impassion, but also how to grab hold of and rivet the attention of a reader. Accordingly, it is absolutely certain that I currently dedicate a great deal of my time to wine and it is well worth the while. And then there is another element which enters into play and strikes me. I first became aware of Redigaffi in a rather obscure way, but I was lucky enough to taste this wine various times and in different vintages over the last few months. This impression of belonging has always repeated itself and quite strongly, almost as though we can recognize in the authenticity of a wine a part of ourselves, memories, taste, even lived experience. Each and every time, in tasting Redigaffi I see myself once again young, I have experienced again this impression as though I was feeling once again a sentiment I had once had, something which was even a generational thing.
I believe that tasting great wines surely provokes a sense of evocation, of memory, of thoughts which expand and distend. But when I approach a Brunello, a Barolo, a Barbaresco, a wine of that type with mature, more evolved, aromas, excellent in certain cases but of a totally different category and genre, more complex and cerebral, I receive different sensations, other periods of my life, personal and collective, with both their events and their illusions.
Redigaffi, instead, expresses a youthful personality in a very special way. And I will attempt to explain this, with the premise that for years this red wine is one which has truly entered my heart. I had already recounted this in I Migliori Vini della Nostra Vita (“The Greatest Wines of Our Life”), accompanying it with its brother of the vineyard in the article Tua Rita. I concluded it with the hope that, even in my aged laziness, I could visit the winery, perhaps even walk through the vine rows, taste the wines from the barrel, and try to deepen my understanding. Then this voyage actually took place. I am writing about it now after a few months have passed. But I need to allow the experience to be absorbed within me in order to clarify my thoughts. And only now am I ready.
Thus the Tua Rita cellars. Early in the morning. With me the cellar master and Luca D’Attoma. My thoughts moving freely through everything that happened in that moment inside the barrel cellar. The 2013 and 2014 vintages. An experience long waited for, much desired. And the tasting of the wines from the barrels, attentively, variety by variety, vineyard parcel by vineyard parcel, or harvest date by harvest date is something which is totally intense and absorbing. Like participating at the orchestral rehearsal of a new score with a great future. Hearing separately the violins and other strings, then the wind instruments, the piano, the chorus, the soloists. You need an extreme lucidity and imagination to grasp the maximum fusion of these elements. It is one of those beautiful things I have experienced in my life when I was involved with an important wine. Seeing everything still in movement and in becoming, everything which is still possible and subject to improvement while our senses perceive what is taking form and how this is coming about. Feeling how the aromas are coming together, how they are progressively occupying that space which are lacking in any one single barrel or one single blend, but are present in others so that, very gradually, the various pieces of a single vintage come together to compose a whole. The aromas expand, the flavors come to be completed in a balance which is closer and closer to being realized. The wine is born. And, within ourselves, there remains the impression of a sound which has come together, a voice which finally rises and expresses itself. At the time, all of the 2013 and part of the 2014 which I tasted from the barrels were, substantially, the components of the future Giusto di Notri (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc), a high class wine to be sure but, as I wrote in the final part of the previous article, one which suffers in comparison with the peremptory power of Redigaffi and the Syrah Per Sempre. And yet, the impression which I had is that the project of Bordeaux blend intended to be even more peremptory has been gradually focused upon. Various things are now moving along, with care and selection in the vineyard which are even more rigorous, an oak aging which has been further prolonged. And the Giusto di Notri of future vintages (as long as the gods of nature and the growing season are clement) will enjoy a further, and certain, leap in quality. Which I shall attempt to recount when these offerings will be available on the market.
I shall return here to that morning and to the tasting of the Redigaffi 2014, at the time fully in the aging period in oak (wile the 2013 had already been bottled). I observed in silence the wine which was being sampled from the barrel. The glass “thief”, the instrument used in the cellar to draw the wine out of the barrel, penetrated deeply into that recipient where the liquid was invisible and then came back out full of an impenetrably deep color which I then watched as it slid into the crystal wine glass which I held in my hand. When I brought the glass to my nose, that Merlot, which was yet to pass several season in oak was already strongly recognizable. It was as though this extreme wine already had its stigma, contained an invisible sign made of microscopic spores and infinite components which tied together and sealed that link between the soil and the wine almost independently of the human factor. To be sure, the human element is fundamental in the greatness of a wine, starting from the planning of a wine. And, in this sense, it struck me as obligatory to recall Virgilio Bisti who, in 1988 (which now seems a prehistoric date in the story of Italian wine) had the brilliant intuition to plant in the most clay-rich part of his farm the first rows of Merlot and then cultivate them with low yields in the Vineyard. The most severe practices can be put into practice, the most rigorous intentions as well. But if the spark between variety-soil-microclimate does not ignite, the result will never go beyond that of a good honest wine. In order for a thoroughbred to be born, instead, there must be something which cannot be reduced to human intentions and all that our current scientific notions and knowledge can add. So that, in that particular vineyard parcel a total symbiosis between the varietal bio-types and the components of the soil should occur, that everything should fit together so perfectly. And therefore Fortune, for once, would not be blind and mad but rather create that generous and propitious force in that particular point, operating with an alchemy which is neither imaginable nor fully explainable or analyzable.
That mass of magical and concentrated fruit continued to emerge from those barrels of Redigaffi 2014 which I went on tasting from, as did that impact of rare and suave fragrance, that symmetry of shape and style in the form of a supreme classicism. I perceived a perfect control, much measure, a perfect sense of elegance. Because Redigaffi is not an ostentatious wine, its aromas are not shouted, angry, or clamorous, aggressive as do those of another noble Merlot, Ornellaia’s Masseto. The fruit of Redigaffi has a celestial grace, suffused, utterly pure, never gaudy or noisily excessive, it is never a wine of emphasis. And one, in addition, with its own unique timbre, easily recognizable, a character which triumphs over the differences between one vintage and another. As is the case of wines of absolute level, despite the different and variegated climate of each growing season and vintage, Redigaffi maintains its own unmistakable voice, its own sign, a touch of Chopin-style lightness which is, at the same time, solid and firm. A wine which is much more complex, articulated, and profound than it might appear. And of such beauty that it does not need fancy clothes or lengthy sessions with the makeup artist or hairdresser. The same 20 months in oak (I shall soon give you the technical details) do not substantially modify it, but rather confer, in my opinion, a necessary, polished stability.
While continuing the tasting of the wine from various different barrels I felt the volume slide between my lips, sweetly and silkily. It was a cream which relaxed deliciously and softly, lovely and dense. It was tasted and resistance lasted only a few seconds. Because then, the unconscious forces of the mind forced you to swallow and appropriate it, to render homage to its body. And the other element which emerged and remained in the mind was the strong sense of youthfulness which emanated from the wine with that intimate lightness of soul and future prospects which are felt only in one’s youth, that sense of serenity without shadows or doubts, of smiles, of full and firm gazes.
To e sure, I am writing about a red wine from the 2014 vintage, it might seem obvious to talk about youthfulness. But I am convinced that Redigaffi lives and expresses in its character, its entire way of being, a strong and serene sense of youth, one which is grand, substantial, and radiant, and that this is part of its very nature, its form and color. But I shall return to this point when I recount more mature vintages so that everything shall be totally clear. Now is the time to enter into the story and history of this wine, the first nucleus of vines planted, as already said, in 1988 when the first 4,000 Merlot vines, trained to a cordon de Royat system, were planted on 8000 meters of a terrain composed of schist, red clays, and the calcareous clay known in Tuscany as galestro. We are slightly away from the coastline of the province of Livorno, a few steps away from the medieval hamlet of Suvereto. Between 1996 and 1997, then, given the exceptional quality of the first results (1994 marked its debut with a very limited number of bottles), an additional fifteen acres (six hectares) were planted on adjacent plots of earth, similar in their soil composition, with a density of 3,600 vines per acre (9,0000 per hectare) and trained to a double cordon de Royat system. The harvest takes place in early September and the grapes which are selected after the destemming and pressing are fermented in conical fermenting tanks,1200 gallons (4500 liters) in capacity and remain on their skins for between 30 and 35 days. After being run off their skins, Redigaffi is then aged for 18 to 22 months in new oak barrels. Its production remains nonetheless quite low, ranging in the most recent vintage between 8,000 and 12,000 bottles per year. The tasting of the many vintages of Redigaffi begins today (we are at the end of April of the year 2016) with a sample from the 2014 vintage taken from the tank, given that the wine has completed its aging in oak, the barrels have been taken care of, and the wine will bottled in a few weeks time. For an obvious reason, the wine of this vintage will be given a quite cautious score and a question mark, as it has not yet been bottled. But it makes a very strong impression and I am convinced that, with a year or two of bottle, this Redigaffi will reach further heights when its aromas, already dazzlingly radiant, will add those lovely balsamic, tarry, and inky sensations which now appear with the swirling of the wine in the glass and now begin to rise and make themselves felt. But here a consideration on the long road which the producers and the best Italian oenology have traversed. And one sign of it is the series of Redigaffi offering from 2011 to 2014. Four vintages which could not be more different but which nonetheless have given consistently outstanding resultsThe 2014 vintage, however, was, a bit all over the peninsula, a decidedly unfortunate one and one which created great risks for the great red wines with the constant rainfall which hindered a perfect ripening of the grapes (the 1972 vintage comes back to mind, as does, I don’t know, the 1992 and the 2002). But the management of the vineyard today is infinitely more knowledgeable and informed. This vineyard in particular, enjoyed a bit of good luck during the weeks of the harvest in addition to a rigorous selection of the grapes during the picking. And, accordingly, we have another memorable expression of Redigaffi. Of course the number of bottles produced is only 8,000. The period of picking was postponed and took place from September 10th to September 18th. But Merlot, to be sure, is an early-ripening variety and this helped because the delay in the harvest did not create problems (it is the late-ripening varieties, those which mature during the last ten days of October) which run enormous risks in this type of growing season).
I encountered once again, therefore, in this occasion the 2014 Redigaffi tasted months earlier in oak when it had completed its cycle in barrel. I was immediately struck by the fascinating beauty of its aromas, their elegance, the delicate and innocent lightness of touch yet, at the same moment, that intimate succulence, sweet and supple which the wine possesses, full of wild strawberries, currants, and vanilla. I asked myself what were and could become this fragrance when they will consolidate and concentrate themselves in a reasonable period of time.
In short, even in such a difficult vintage the wine expressed such a startling beauty and integrity though with a softness and a delicious caressing quality as well. It is a Redigaffi certified with a seal of garanty, totally recognizable in its femininity, with all of its deliciously silky flow. And, as the wine breathes in the glass, it opens to express creamy balsamic and minty sensations, light flashes of ink (only in a hint of their vibrancy because, in its complexity, it is difficult to find a more serene wine of such youthful, pure, and comforting beauty).
I can also add that nothing was wasted. It was absolutely impossible. And in any case I was not capable (forgive me) to let one drop fall from my mouth into the recipient which I keep next to me in these cases and which I call, improperly, a seau à glace, or ice bucket. With the 2014 Redigaffi I thought that I was nourishing my body, which now is in excellent shape.
The 2013 vintage was again another difficult vintage, though less so than in 2014, a cool summer, with a certain amount of rainfall. Tua Rita, however, is near the sea with all of its beneficent effects of breeziness, sunshine, and 330 feet (100 meters) of altitude. The harvest took place between the 5th and the 15th of September. And the tasting of this admirable red wine gave me the confirmation that, for precocious varieties such as Merlot, cool summers can give even better wines, longer, more complex, and more structured. The vines, in fact, never suffered drought stress or excessive heat, never stopped working and continued to go ahead and give their grapes an extraordinary patrimony of secret substances, of intense and precious lymph.
The 2013 Redigaffi is consequently in a lovely phase, a very special one as well. It should also be added that the wine was bottled only ten months ago. It will certainly be one of the longest-lived vintage of the wine, and I am convinced that in a year or two it will score 96 points. But that which I wish to underline is how this 2013 creates a new space for Redigaffi, gives a hint of what might be a new characteristic of the future profile of the wine now that the vines begin to have twenty years of age.
The special character of the growing season has given its lineaments which are surely more virile and pensive. I had not perceived in any of the previous versions of the wine so much light and shade, so much goudron, so much ink and tar. And the empty bottle, which I kept for days (in this case as well not a wasted drop, but each and every one I drank is impressed and sealed in my body, what am I to do?) continues to emanate marvelous aromas of graphite, essence of berry fruit, tar, and balsamic spices.
An extremely fascinating result, therefore, of great amplitude and depth. It is a wine which I suggest should be opened somewhat in advance, allowing it to grow and swell in the glass and express its first youthful steps with the gaze of a brooding and mysterious adolescent.
We have, accordingly, a splendid red (one of the finest tasting in these months) which hides its 15° of alcohol behind a nervous energy and dynamism. Its aromas open up with notes just slightly compressed, vanilla and oak, which then gradually give way to wild strawberries and other berry fruit, liquorice,, spicy and tarry notes along with smoky hints in the background.
The body, then, is full of flavor, silky, and brilliant, with echoes of eucalyptus, currant fruit, and lovely oak. The initial sensations are sumptuous but never oppressive, they confirm Redigaffi’s convincing timbre of elegance together with a development which is subtle and full of a splendid youthfulness. I am convinced, in short, that a new structure in this wine is beginning to be seen, one which will make it even deeper and more complex. And the advice which I can give is to collect it, stock in a sufficient supply of this grandiose red wine which will continue to grow with the passing years.
With the 2012 vintage we have, instead, a totally different year, one with a very hot and rainless summer. The Merlot harvest, in this case, had to be anticipated, rapidly picking the grape bunches between August 25th and September 3rd and with some of berries showing an initial phase of drying on the vine. Unquestionably a more difficult year for early-ripening varieties with vines which had suffered significant stress during the month of August and could not continue the final phase of their ripening due to the heat and drought. Fruit, accordingly, which was not completely homogeneous and not totally ripe.
And yet we find ourselves with a suave and delicious Redigaffi (and I believe that much mastery was needed in the careful observation and management of the vineyard and its cultivation and then in the selection and fermentation of the grapes) which would be very impressive if tasted on its own. In my case, however, I had next to it the Redigaffi of the 2011 vintage.
Let’s try to understand: on its own a splendid wine, luminous, sweet and highly polished and silky. There is, nonetheless, a slight unbalance between the alcohol and the edgy acidity of the wine’s body, almost a touch of greenness and acerbity in the wine’s soul which does not help or increase the overall harmony.
It is a Redigaffi which shows all of its character of exquisite finesse, but seems as well even lighter than the best examples of the wine, those which, I maintain, give their maximum in their extreme youthful freshness with their inky accents and silky texture, elegantly creamy. I consider it, therefore, a lovely one, a more delicate and fragile one, however, in its crystalline balance, compared to other vintage. And, unlike the 2013, I do not think that its score, notable as it might be, will increase as it ages.
With the 2011 Redigaffi, instead, we find ourselves with of the finest vintages of all for the wine and, in my view, the most complete and realized of the last few vintages proposed in the tasting. The growing season might recall that of 2012 in terms of climate, but in a less exasperated way due to the occasional refreshing rainfall which mitigated summer heat. And the vines (and, in the last analyses, it is in the vineyard that everything is at stake) did not suffer as they did in 2012, given their ability to nourish and better protect the fruit. In this case as well, the harvest was a slightly early one, yjr picking – of grapes which were nonetheless perfect – taking place between the 20th and 25th of August,
The wine, in short, is a full-throttle one, impressive in its very deep color, impenetrable, blackish. And in these three years I have been able to taste it on various occasions. The first time during a dinner (a sort of preview) in the late autumn of 2013 with many of the greatest Italian wines in front of me. But, in my personal classification of the group, Redigaffi was easily the finest, the most fascinating and sensual of the entire evening. It aromas were a true delight, and seemed to me the clear proof of the giant steps which Italian viticulture has taken. A red wine of this category, of that class and breed, of a beauty which contained within itself a kind of supreme impalpability, was not even imaginable 10 to 15 years ago. I could not have even imagined its flavors and aromas because I had never tasted them, they did not even exist.
Seated at that table, I requested a patient sommelier to serve it several times. I tasted and drank it in fact several times, risking a diplomatic incident with various producers seated near me who wished a certain minimum attention to their wines. But I was in a state of grace which did not allow waiting, hesitation, or, even less, changing to an inferior wine. I had found the Holy Grail of the evening with that roundness which the greatest wines possess when they are born in a state of total balance. It was certainly a very young Redigaffi but one with such harmony that it was immediately enjoyable. Everything was high level, the envelope totally pushed. There were unquestionably superb parameters of richness and of concentration. Yet, at the same time, everything seemed suave, delicate, and immaculate with an aromatic development which was graceful and serene. It felt the time I was young and discovered those wonderful comedies of Lubitsch. And I surprised myself in enjoying them with a smile stamped on my face from beginning to end.
Then, more than a year later, a second taste was very good indeed but less inspiring. It might have depended on the magical atmosphere of that first marvelous evening, a trick of played by our minds which always blows up in our imagination what first struck us a truly lovely. In reality, I believe that the 2011 Redigaffi, at that time, was in an initial transitional phase, from that of adolescent form, almost primigenial, to that of a more complex and formed young man. In fact, however, it was halfway along that road. It was no longer one thing but not yet another. When I then re-tasted it towards the end of 2015 I found once again a fabulous wine. It was no longer the pure and enchanting fifteen year old of the first occasion but a splendid twenty year old who had protracted her first youth, who studied at a university, and was both beautiful and full of dreams.
I finally found the 2011 Redigaffi, with the same features and sensations, in recent days (I am a lucky man, one whom the gods wish well, I know), an immense wine with a potential still to be expressed which shows a solid youthfulness, happy, so complete as to not admit the minimum intrusion of another age of life and lets us glimpse delicious balsamic sensations, light touches of tar, unheard of depths and suggestions, a wine which lets us meditate and reflect, continue thoughts and impressions. And here appearances enter into play, those affinities which we find in a wine: the personal space which always exists when a wine is tasted, those aromas and flavors which lock into our lives and move its recollections and memories.
It is strange and mysterious how and why every time this wine is tasted it makes me return to myself and recall the state of mind of my body when I was eighteen years old. The summer of 1966, walking through the heart of London which I remember, strangely, as sunny. It seems to me composed of sounds and colors, perhaps due to the colorful crowd which swarmed around me. The faces of girls with amazing makeup who looked at you, stared you in the eyes. The lights. Picadilly. The grid-like streets of Soho.
Everything which happened later began there. It was my first trip abroad and I remained in the city for many month speaking another language together with other Europeans of my age. There was an innocence and immense expectations during that summer. We were full of convictions and our future. My closest friend of that period was a lad from Paris who would lose his bearings during the events of May 1968 in Paris.
But afterwards everything would go wrong, the ideological wars, the hate, Prague, Italy’s “hot autumn” of strikes and demonstrations, the bombs, the massacres. But this is the point, years later. At that precise moment in time the future appeared to be a radiant one, serene, simple, certain. We were very young indeed, we listened to music at the Marquee Club of Wardour steet. The Beatles released Revolver, the Rolling Stones sang Paint It Black. During the evening we were at Le Kilt at the end of Greek Street, amidst the tartans on the wall and the incredible stagecoach full of records for the DJ. There I saw the most beautiful girls of London. I do not know what became of Sylvia, Pamela, and Jane. I don’t know who they are now. And, thinking back, I have the impression of talking about a son, a grandchild, who is listening to light music, a sort of ballad which repeated “I want you” and it was sung in the voice of a Bob Dylan, very young himself.
Redigaffi, in short, is also this. The character, the personality of its aromas, that sense of immaculate youthfulness which I feel, of innocence, of beauty, bring me back (strangely, mysteriously, you explain it), suddenly, to my youth, one totally without clouds, before the disenchantment and the wounds which were later to disturb it.
But I also had a further panoramic view of this wine in a vertical tasting of older vintages. A public event, therefore, something which, in truth, I rarely participate in. I am now probably far more antisocial than I was in the far off 1960’s. However, talking about my work, I have probably seen too many tastings transform themselves into orgies of vanity, a competition to see who can speak the most nonsense. In their. In their insignificance (but also in their absurdity) they have often induced a certain melancholy, they have struck me as a cross-section of our society with all of its atavistic vices, its ridiculous figures, the windbags, the incompetent, those who hide their envy behind the name of the important magazine for which they write. To be sure, it is also a good idea to laugh at it and pardon magnanimously (but I have heard things which you humans …..).
In these occasions I have nonetheless realized that I love the best part of humanity, that which creates art, beauty, wines like Redigaffi, and then opportunities for work, well being, that which opens up future possibilities, further generosity, further thoughts. And I do not find it easily, I seem instead to live in a phase of great opacity and stagnation of the mind in which our country is perhaps showing its worst side.
Accordingly, I rather prefer to stay on my own. And serious and happy things such as tasting wines are done at home. Where I can taste them various times, just opened, an hour later, than again and once again, always using glasses well adapted to that particular wine, those experimented with many times, and prepared for the tasting by first pouring and swirling the wine to be drunk.
But … a vertical tasting of Redigaffi! In short, I have decided put up with this and other things as well. “I shall be present!!!”
And, to tell the truth, it was a positive and very useful experience.
I turn, therefore, to the enjoyable part of this profession, how to follow the grand common denominator which joins together the sequence of Redigaffi vintages, that sense of natural refinement which links them, that touch, the extreme sense of measure. Starting with the judgment on the glass of the 2010 which, on the Tuscan coast (unlike the more internal part of the region), was not an outstanding year, compromised by rainfall at the end of the growing season. This Redigaffi, however, is also a super-selection, and this 2010 struck me as being of notable level, intense, solid, with that happy force, that sense of freedom, that fullness of life which this wine emanates. In short, an excellent year, somewhat firm and solid in character rather than dynamic. If we wish to find a limit in the wine which differentiates it from the finest vintages it might be in the impression of a slightly static quality in the aromas. We are talking, however, of a bottle and a glass tasted there for an hour. I am, therefore, not going to swear to this impression, but it appeared to me a bit less energetic in its fragrance, less penetrating and active than other finer versions.
The 2006, instead, the result of an extraordinary vintage, one of perfect weather, was fabulous., superb in its color, full, almost overflowing with fruit and weight, extremely rich, ripe, sweet, and delicious in aroma, bursting with spices. Among all the samples it appeared with a character so Mediterranean as to show a point of virtually Baroque opulence (who knows, perhaps the grapes could have been picked a bit earlier), but nonetheless a wine which I found to be marvelous, immensely full, infinitely chewable on the palate, an expression, in its complete roundness, of a wine which reached the true heights. And I believe that, of all the Redigaffi vintages I have tasted, only the 2011 and the 2013 (the latter of which seems to have been born with a slightly greater sense of tension) could turn out to be superior and gain over time more points in their score.
The 2005, then, is a vintage which I recall very well because it was the year in which I began to follow closely this wine. A year which does not have any particular sort of fame, given that in the center of Tuscany heavy rains arrived. The situation on the coast, however, was less negative, the sea always has certain balancing effect. And I must confess that, having tasted it seven or eight years ago, that I did not expect it to be so fresh, alive, dynamic, (once again a confirmation that somewhat cool vintages give wines which are long, perhaps not specially rich, but ones which evolve magnificently well over time). Very fine and satisfying, then, the flavors, intriguing with their lovely balance and that particular creaminess which is the intimate patrimony of this wine.
I must say, instead, that the 2004, for which I had high expectations given that it was an outstanding vintage all over Tuscany, left me with somewhat less enthusiasm. We are obviously talking about an important wine but one in which the tannins overmatch the fruit and the flesh, a wine which is almost too muscular, one of those red wines which, for my taste, appear a bit arid, dehydrated, unbalanced towards the structural and structuring elements, which show more bones and tendons than the sweetness of their pulp and meat. It strikes me in a certain sense as an older wine, less In line with the character and spirit of Redigaffi, so prodigiously full of delicious fruit, of supple creaminess, of youth, of joy. I am well aware that this is a version that many will very much like but it is certainly less to my taste.
The 2003 instead, is surprising, given my memory of that torrid year, one with a heat wave which rolled in towards early June all over Italy and which remains as a nightmare in my mind. And then, gradually, the wines which I happened to drink from that vintage, obviously of various weight and dimension, always seemed to be marked by a certain lack of structure, by notes of over-ripeness, languidness. In short, red wines without energy, to drink up before they could decline even further.
My expectation, accordingly, were truly minimal. I was still perplexed that a year of this type was selected for a vertical tasting of Redigaffi. And yet a surprise was waiting behind the corner, an unthinkable one. A fantastic 2003 version, then, exemplary I should say, in its definition of this wine in all its expressive aspects. Its creaminess surprised me, its extreme suppleness, as did, at the same time, the decisive density of its texture, of its flesh, the balsamic and minty finesse which spread over a ample tarry base. A lovely red wine, full of vitality, smooth, silky, sensual in its flow, suave, extremely refined and, at the same time, totally natural.
The 1999, finally, is a superb wine now at its maximum level, one which makes it clear that Redigaffi, from its very beginning, began in this way with those balsamic aromas, that creaminess and, at the same time, that force. Despite the years which separate us from the vintage, the wine appeared still suavely tense and concentrated, full of life, very ample and voluminous. The mineral notes which pervaded the fruit marked it as though they were its fingerprints, placed it in that spot where it was born, saying that Redigaffi was there and that a few men had had the insight and the good fortune to discover that, to bring it to light with that particular grape variety with their meticulous and patient work.
To tell the truth, I rarely talk about men. I believe that in this precise historical moment it is more important to focus on the wines, seek to understand what they truly concretely represent, what the expressive dynamism of that label signifies in the still young panorama of our new wines. And when I read articles about certain wine personalities I often have the sensation of flattery, of complicity, of winking of the eye, an entire series of types of behavior which I find of little persuasiveness.
But, at the end of this article, which worked inside me for months, it would please me, and it strikes me as fine and honest, to publish the photograph which brings together the living persons who are fully within the story of Redigaffi, those who planned it and followed its development over time, who, on a daily basis, raised it, brought it up.
Impressed in one specific moment, it is also an image which represents generations and time which flows. With that living beauty of viticulture, its force, its sense both of progress and continuity.
I have already mentioned Virgilio Bisti, We, accordingly, have at the center of the photograph, Rita Tua, Virgilio Bisti’s companion of a lifetime, to indicate the very beginnings of Redigaffi. Next to her, their daughter Simena with, on the other side, her husband Stefano Frascolla, another fundamental author and continuer of this wine to represent the present. In the center finally, their son Giovanni, to whom the future belongs, and to whom we wish all the humility, the creativity, and passion possible, all dedicated to the future growth and development of Redigaffi which, being a work in progress, one which renews itself each and every year and still has a long and happy road ahead of it.
Because there is a consideration to make at the end of these tastings and what the last four vintages have had to say, each completely different in terms of its growing season. Some of which were rather difficult as well, but with final results which are in each and every case decisively convincing.
My sensation, a strong one, is that Redigaffi is entering into a new dimension, vaster, surer, and deeper and that this sharp rise in quality will be evident when the largest part of the vines will have celebrated and passed 20 years of life.
And for this as well, the world of our wine is a lovely one. The 20-30 years which are behind us were years of learning, of trials and experiments, of lessons learned, almost always with plants in the vineyard which were mere children. The next decade will be that of adulthood when the fundamental patrimony of information which have accumulated in the minds of the producer will unite with the richness and further complexity which the vines, by then in the fullness of their expressive ability, will be able to give.
In this sense, Redigaffi has already come an exceptionally long way and places it among the elite of Italian wine, but it is surely a wine still fully progressing. The 2013 vintage strongly indicates this. It is powerfully expressive as never before, it searches and digs into the depths, carves out new roads to follow. The 2014, even though buffeted by a difficult and complicated vintage, shows a trace of suaveness even larger and more impressive.
I have, therefore, very high expectations for the coming vintage. I am convinced that in Italian wine, and thus for Redigaffi as well, there are spaces for new flavors and aromas not yet attempted and yet to be explored. It is the positive ability to progress in the world of wine which leaves me curious, another goals to be reached, potential expressions which will give us new surprises and amazement, to the point that they will force fears for passing time to disappear.
Moreover, I believe that expectation is the driving force of our earthly existence, imaging the future is a daily act and operation – when we are well and life is truly good, it intrigues us.