Italian and Italo-Australian reds from Sangiovese & Montepulciano

Da Vinci Chianti 2008, Tuscany, Italy (£8.99 Liberty Wines, Whole Foods, Noel Young)
Juicy, earthy style, combining violet-scented bitter cherry & raspberry flavours with a herby wildness and a sappy, refreshing finish. B+

Poggiotondo Chianti Superiore 2007, Tuscany, Italy (£11.99 Liberty Wines, Whole Foods, Noel Young)
More flesh and polish than the Da Vinci, a touch of VA (volatile acidity – think ever-so-slight vinegar) but it’s in balanced with the smooth, serious morello cherry and blackcurrant fruit, also a seam of minerality, with tannin & acidity to keep it in balance. S(-)

Greenstone Sangiovese 2007, Heathcote, Australia (£26.99 Liberty Wines, Imbibros, Noel Young, Wimbledon Wine Cellar)
Shows the cola edge often found in Sangiovese, along with the characteristic earthy bitter cherry fruit and tangy tannins, but it’s more leathery, warmer & riper than the 2 Italians. Perhaps lacks subtlety, but it’s not too heavily extracted, and the finish is full and satisfying. S-

First Drop Wines Minchia Montepulciano 2008, Adelaide Hills, Australia (£17.99 from October 2010 New School Wines Ltd, The Secret Cellar, Cambridge Wine Merchants)
Riper and fleshier still, almost verging on the jammy, with the slightly baked berry edge of very ripe grapes. Plummy and upfront, but with a sappy savoury edge and tannin to freshen up the finish. B+

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