Winemaker Sean O'Callaghan was cellarmaster at the Armin Diehl estate in Germany in the great 1989 and 1990 vintages, but the wines he fashions at Riecine show that he's a whiz with more than just riesling. This estate has always made some of the very best Chianti, right from the days of original owner John Dunkley (the '77 is still beautiful today), as-apart from great winemaking-the cooler microclimate in this part of Gaiole has always played an important role in the higher-acid, finer-textured style of wines produced.
Also recommended: 2006 Rose (86), 2003 La Gioia di Riecine Toscana Rosso (86). (Columbia Distributing Co., Portland, OR)

2005 Riecine Chianti Classico

Dark ruby. Balsamic nose offers intriguing blackberry, apricot and mineral aromas complicated by a suggestion of grilled rare meat. Boasts an elegant mouth feel, with vibrant flavors of red cherry, raspberry and dark chocolate, plus a pretty mineral element. Finishes dry and slightly dusty, with a pleasant tannic backbone.

88

2003 Riecine Chianti Classico

Medium dark ruby. Sweet aromas and flavors of spicy black plum and dark cherry, with hints of balsamic vinegar and coffee. Rich and ripe, with its soft, pliant texture and sweetness giving it an international appeal. The moderately nuanced finish shows sweet tannins.

88

2004 Riecine Chianti Classico Riserva

Deep ruby. Ripe but vibrant aromas of red cherry, raspberry and dark chocolate, nicely lifted by a mineral quality. Silky on entry, then rich and layered in the middle, with red cherry, spice and strong mineral flavors given definition by lively acidity. From a selection of old vines bought by the original owner, John Dunkley, from Badia a Coltibuono. This may well merit an outstanding rating with a couple years of bottle aging.

89(+?)
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2004 Riecine La Gioia di Riecine Toscana Rosso

Deep red. Perfumed aromas of red cherry, plum and leather, but currently showing some rather overbearing vanillin oak. Manages to be both fleshy and acidic at the same time, sweet and bright in the mouth, with intense red berry and plum liqueur flavors and a fresh, long, slightly tannic and tight finish. This excellent wine, which is much better than the overly soft '03 version, needs time in bottle. Actually made from grapes grown in the Montecucco area of Tuscany, from which very perfumed, fruit-driven wines appear to be the norm.

90
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