Tasca d’Almerita Chardonnay 2020


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“The 2020 Chardonnay Vigna San Francesco is remarkably pretty, warming in the glass to reveal sweet white flowers and honeysuckle complementing young peach and vanilla bean. It’s round and supple, nearly oily in texture, contrasted by a blend of lemony citrus with tropical melon and pineapple, all excited by a core of saline-tinged acidity. The 2020 finishes long yet remarkably fresh with a tart citrus-pith concentration that puckers the cheeks as confectionary spice hints fade. The Vigna San Francesco makes a case for ltalian, more specifically, Sicilian Chardonnay. It’s simply stunning. Drinking window: 2023-2032. 94 points

Sicily can often seem more like its own continent than an island, with multiple climates, seasons beginning and ending at different times, vineyards planted at some of the highest elevations in the world or just a few meters from the Sea, and soils that vary from sand to volcanic ash or sheer rock. Of the major players, Tasca d’Almerita seems to have its finger on the pulse of nearly all of these diverse terroirs. The winemaking team oversees five distinct wineries and terroirs throughout the Island: 1. the original Tenuta Regaleali estate in the northern center of the island, 2. Tascante on Mount Etna’s north slope, 3. Capofaro on the island of Salina, where the focus is on Malvasia, 4. Sallier de La Tour in Monreale, which is home to the Syrah La Monaca project, and 5. Tenuta Whitaker, like an island that time forgot on Sicily’s west coast. What’s more, their portfolio consists of some of the best entry-level values (such as the 2022 Regaleali Bianco) and some of Sicily’s world-class wines (such as the Rosso del Conte or the Vigna San Francesco Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay). This year’s tastings led to conversations focused on the arid and warm 2021 vintage, which Tasca d’Almerita did a fine job with. The 2021 Perricone Guarnaccio is a good example. In some cases, emergency irrigation was necessary due to the extreme conditions, which also resulted in a harvest that was, on average, ten days early. The late-ripening varieties (Nero d’Avola, Perricone, Cabernet Sauvignon and Nerello Mascalese) also ripened earlier but benefited from lower temperatures and light precipitation in September. That said, yields were down an average of 25%. It will be interesting to taste through the whole portfolio as the remaining wines are released.”

Eric Guido, Vinous (09/23)