Bibi Graetz Testamatta 2018
The 2018 Testamatta shows elegant Sangiovese purity and transparency, starting with delicate wild berry and blueberry tones and finishing long with pretty accents of crushed limestone and a touch of campfire ash. In the glass, the wine is radiant and vivid with a luminous ruby or garnet color. Oak use is reduced to a bare minimum, with barrels that are up to their 16th year of use. "The older they are, the better," Bibi explains. As the wine opens in the glass, it presents pretty lilac and violet. This wine represents a blend of fruit from various sites (all with old vines that are farmed organically) across the region of Tuscany. The northern-most sites close to Florence tend to add the floral notes that are so characteristic of this cool vintage (which saw a bit more rain than average and extra work in the vineyards to kept these vines healthy). I visited the vineyards with Bibi in 2018 and remember how beautiful the grapes appeared on the vines. Much of the fruit used here comes from the Vigna del Cancello in Casciano del Murlo, which is midway between Siena and Montalcino. These southern sites give the wine its backbone and tannins. Bibi Graetz tells me that he struggled to create the blend for this 60,000-bottle release. He decided on a final blend, only to change his mind and re-blend two and a half months later. His second stab was specifically aimed at capturing finesse and softening the wine's tannic imprint. Indeed, the wine ultimately offers more in length (with fresh fruit flavors and bright acidity) than it does in power or mid-palate. The finish is silky, long and very fine.