Memorable Tasting of 1974 Vintage Italian Wines

Civiltà del bere, Congratulations on 40th anniversary! I am happy to be born in the same year with this precious Italian wine magazine, published by Alessandro Torcoli. A wonderful Italian wine tasting was organised by Alessandro at the Four Seasons Florence to celebrate the 40 years of the magazine on the day preceding the 8th Masters of Wine Symposium. Including myself, lucky 45 wine experts and lovers toasted with the 7 different glasses of Italian wines that were born in the same year as Civiltà del bere, 1974.

1974? Yes, we know it’s not a good year when it comes to the general concept of vintage, which represents Bordeaux most of the time. How about Italy? We were told that for Chianti, 1971 was good, 1972 & 1973 was rather disappointing and 1974 was descent. For Barolo, 1974 was a good year fortunately.  

Photo: Civilta del Bere

 The seven selected 1974 vintage Italian wines for celebration.
1.    Lamole di Lamole, Lamore, Chianti Classico Riserva Doc 
2.    Castello d’Albola, Pian d’Albla, Chianti Classico Doc 
3.    Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino Doc 
4.    Lungarotti, Rubesco Vigna Monticchio, Torgiano Rosso Riserva Doc 
5.    Nino Negri, Inferno, Valtellina Superiore Doc 
6.    Michele Chiarlo, Barolo Doc 
7.    Bertani Domains, Amarone Classico Superiore, Recioto della Valpolicella Doc 

During the tasting, each wine was presented by the owner or representative from the estates but oops! only in Italian. Grazie the gentlemen Roberto Anesi, a sommelier and restaurant owner based in Torento as well as my fellow student. Roberto was not only a perfect tasting partner but also a kind translator. 

How were the wines? Some performed better and some less. Not surprisingly, Michele Chiarlo Barolo expressed well his charm. Attractive floral aroma, dried fruits, savoury, earthy characters, layers of complexity... Right, Barolo was the big brother, no doubt. However, the real star of the day was Lungarotti Rubesco Riserva from Umbria. Wow, wow, wow! To be honest, I had no expectation to meet such a wonderfully matured wine from ‘Umbria’. Perhaps this low expectation, also from the others, added some extra points? With one vote from me, ‘the 40 year wine’ title went to the Rubesco. Blend of Sangiovese 70% and Canaiolo 30%, this wine showed finesse, power and complexity. Subtle yet sweet blackberry and red cherry fruits, silky tannins and texture, a lovely hint of oak with a long spicy finish... I went back to the glass several times and it evolved in the glass continuously. The wine deserved to be a winner. 

Here is the question. Can I have a chance to buy a bottle of 1974 Rubesco and celebrate my and my husband’s (yes, we are both from 74) 40th birthday later this year? Or better to look for a bottle of Barolo? Some research needed. Nevertheless, I know I will go for a bottle of wine born in 1974 and it will be from Italy. 

Thanks to Alessandro for the invitation and big applause for his passion and hard work to promote Italian wines as well as generosity!