Antinori's Montepulciano estate makes solid, dark and concentrated modern-style wines with considerable international appeal.

2005 La Braccesca Rosso di Montepulciano Sabazio

($13) Medium ruby. Enticing aromas of violet, fresh red cherry and almond a re nicely lifted by a pretty rose petal element. At once dense and lively, with spicy red fruit flavors carrying well through the finish, which features sweet, supple tannins and harmonious acidity. It's hard not to guzzle this down by the bucketful.


2003 La Braccesca Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

($26) Noticeably darker than the Rosso, with almost black tones. Initially subdued nose opens in the glass to reveal dark plum, sage, coffee, delicate ink and black pepper aromas of medium intensity. Soft on entry, then a bit pinched and tart in the middle, with only modest flesh. Finishes with tannins that turn slightly dry, though not harsh.


2003 La Braccesca Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva Vigneto Santa Pia

($36) Moderately saturated ruby. Reticent but vibrant aromas of ripe black cherry, coffee, cocoa and black pepper. This ripe wine has enough acidity to give shape to the chunky black fruit, rosemary and mint flavors. A chewy, large-framed, modern-styled Nobile that clings to the palate on the moderately long finish, which features a healthy dusting of tannins. Not my preferred style of Vino Nobile, but offers considerable appeal. (Chateau Ste. Michelle Estates, Woodinville, WA)

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