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Wine Spectator Score: 95
For fans of Tuscan reds that combine clean, fruit-led flavors with a touch of the regional earthiness, and a vibrant, mid-weight drinkability, the 2018 Valdisanti from the Tolaini estate should be on your list! This Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc mix is a modern expression of an ancient winemaking land, and a natural fit for proprietor Pierluigi Tolaini, who returned to his homeland in Tuscany after building a successful transportation and logistics business in North America.

Though the core of Mr. Tolaini's wines is rooted in the traditions of the Chianti Classico region, his time in the "New World" led him to an appreciation of a thoroughly modern approach, and an affinity for the French varieties. To start things on the right foot, he enlisted the help of the famous winemaking consultant for the nouveau Bordeaux style, Michel Rolland. That led to a number of leading-edge techniques that have a vital role in the resulting style, including an automated monitoring of the soil water content to promote concentrated fruit; optical sorters that identify the ripest, healthiest grapes; and 16-month aging in high-quality, mostly new French oak barrels.

All that leads to a softer mouthfeel through the middle of the wine, coupled with some woodsy tannin into the finish; and bold flavors like black plum and raspberry coupled with well-meshed cedar, cocoa, and vanilla from the oak. They don't factory-farm here, with organically treated vineyards that are tended to by hand, not machine (healthier soils and vines mean better fruit!). Those efforts have paid off: once again, the 2018 vintage of the Valdisanti received a prestigious "Tre Bicchieri" award from the Gambero Rosso Italian wine guide!

WINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS - "A vibrant, lively red, this boasts cherry, raspberry and floral aromas and flavors, accented by toasty oak. Deftly balanced and persistent, firming up nicely in the end, with terrific length and freshness. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Cabernet Franc."
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