We are delighted to offer a parcel of a wine seated in the middle of its ageing development, the stunning 95 point scoring Querciabella Camartina 2004, which we believe is one of the best vintages ever produced by this heralded estate. This comes as no surprise as the 2004 Tuscan vintage was exceptional, Jancis Robinson describes it as ‘central Italy’s equivalent of the perfect growing season that France experienced in 2005.’  Over the last two years I have had the pleasure of participating in two vertical tastings of Querciabella Camartina, running from 1996 to 2010, as well as visiting the beautiful Estate last year. Without hesitation I would choose the 2004 vintage over the famous 1999 and glorious 2007: the 2004 will only one day be matched by the glorious, albeit youthful 2010.

We tasted the 2004 as recently as last month and were highly impressed once again; I have never had a bad bottle of Camartina. It remains vibrant, youthful, yet lucid and approachable; while it is truly a food wine, this could be consumed on its own, due to its balance. The 2004 is at a wonderful stage in its development, possessing powerful intense fruit, while simultaneously showing white chocolate, tobacco, mint, menthol, brioche, liquorice and porcini mushroom. Having tasted the 1996 and 1999 several times one can say with confidence that the 2004 will improve for another ten years in bottle and preserve for two decades. However, my advice is to take delivery and begin the enjoyment.

Camartina is a wine to get excited about, the most striking thing is that it is the closest thing to red Burgundy that Tuscany or the Sangiovese grape will probably ever produce, yet at the same time, it embodies a good deal of Bordeaux. That was after all, the design of the late Giuseppe Castiglioni, who was part of the original Super Tuscan vanguard in the early 1970s. Camartina synthesises a Pauillac style power and complexity, without losing any of the earthy minerality and sweetness that help define the Super Tuscans. Today the Estate’s wines, in particular Camartina, are considered peers of Solaia, Tignanello and Fontodi Flaccianello. In fact Querciabella is part of the elite cadre of estates which along with Tignanello and Solaia boast the acclaimed consultant Giacomo Tachis.

The Estate occupies a prime locality in the municipalities of Greve, Panzano, Radda and Gaiole and the 74 hectare Estate is surrounded by natural forests. Adding to this they have their prime 32 hectare vineyard in Maremma, on the glorious Etruscan coast. The grapes are cultivated organically (since 1988) and are now fully biodynamic (since 2000). The grapes are destemmed, not crushed and undergo 12 and 20 days maceration for the Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon respectively. This fully extracts the ripe tannin and phenolics, stabilising the wine beautifully. The wine is aged in 100% French oak, 40% new and 60% with one year’s age. Camartina is made without using any animal products and is among the few truly great wines suitable for vegetarians.

The very low production and commitment to quality results in the Estate never releasing a less than worthy vintage. The rising acclaim of Querciabella means that Camartina is released in small quantities and is a prized wine for any collector. Querciabella Camartina like Tignanello, remains accessibly priced on release, but while Tignanello produces in excess of 25,000 cases a year, Querciabella Camartina make 1,500 cases and it sells out quickly. Indeed it is almost the mirror image of Tignanello, made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese: Tignanello’s blend is 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon often with a smidgen of Cabernet Franc.

The splendid 1999 already costs £380 a case of six, so the smart money is with the 2004, available today at the lowest price in the UK market, £285 per case of six – indeed the 95+ scoring  2010 is already trading above £300. The 2004 is already rare, yet rarer still are the large formats we are able to offer in double magnums and imperials.

Querciabella Camartina 2004, 6×75 – £285 IB or £356.76 incl duty and VAT
Large Formats:
(Double Magnum) 1×300 – £230 IB
(Imperial) 1×600 – £430 IB

Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate 95 Points, Tasted June 2007
The estate’s 2004 Camartina is another irresistibly sexy wine. A deeply-colored ruby, it displays captivating aromatics along with notes of blackberries, blueberries, violets and graphite that emerge on its medium-bodied frame. The fine tannins make it a highly enjoyable wine even at this early stage, but my experience suggests that another few years of bottle age are needed for the wine to integrate its oak and express its full range of aromas and flavors. It is a terrific effort from Querciabella. This blend of 30% Sangiovese and 70% Cabernet is aged in 100% French oak (Allier, Nevers and Tron?ais) of which 80% was new. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.

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