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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
18 Feb 2011
 

From 17.90 Swiss francs, £14.99, €15.15, $21.99, HK$202.39, 156 Danish krone

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This is a quite delicious, grown-up wine from Tuscan upstarts Antinori (they've only been there for seven centuries) that I'm highlighting today because it is available this weekend at Wine Rack stores in the UK at just £14.99 a bottle but goes up on Monday to the much more believable price of £18.99. (That said, Hailsham Cellars list it permanently at under £16 a bottle.) It must be made in a fair old quantity because Wine-searcher.com list six pages of stockists around the world, many of them in the US and northern Europe, especially Germany.

Guado al Tasso is Antinori's Bolgheri estate, the one that was known for so long as Belvedere and initially specialised in producing rosé, and this is basically a sort of precocious, baby Sassicaia – although the blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot is enlivened by 10% 'Syrah and other grape varieties'. It is given pretty de luxe treatment in the winery, with malolactic fermentation in oak followed by eight months' ageing in barrique so that the whole thing manages to be both delightfully complex and soothing. It was clearly grown somewhere rather warmer than Bordeaux but is not in any way baked or overripe. The alcohol level cited on the label is 14% but there is nothing hot about the finish.

The theory has been advanced – was it by Thomas Duroux now at Ch Palmer when he was winemaker at nearby Ornellaia – that all of the world's great spots for Cabernet Sauvignon are on west-facing coasts: Bordeaux, northern California, Margaret River, Bolgheri. I mentioned it recently at a wine tasting I hosted in Sri Lanka and an American in the audience who spends nine months of the year sailing round the world assured me that as a general rule,  the ocean currents on west-facing coasts are much  cooler then on east-facing coasts, so perhaps this helps refresh the Cabernet grown on land. I'm not sure, however, that the Tyrrhenian Sea that washes the shore below the village of Bolgheri is any cooler than the Adriatic on Italy's eastern coast. Can any sailor help me here?

Drink this gorgeous wine any time in the next four years. Presumably it is helped by the very successful 2007 vintage in the Maremma. Like last week's Italian red, it is a Wine Relief wine so that if you buy it from any of Wine Rack's 20 stores in southern England, 10% of what you spend on it goes straight to Comic Relief's admirable work making lives better in Africa and the UK.

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