The Evolution of Giorgio Primo IGT
There’s been a number of unexpected changes in the news this week, especially in regards to Italy. For the first time in 600 years, the Vatican has been shattered by the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI; and perhaps with less astonishment, Antonio Galloni announced his departure from The Wine Advocate. And while both migrations will (potentially) aid the ushering of the church and of Galloni into the twenty-first century, the evolution that occurred at La Massa in time for the 2009 vintage, was perhaps a little less revolutionary than the elimination of Sangiovese from the 2007 vintage of Giorgio Primo.
With the opportunity to taste these three transitional vintages of Giorgio Primo at Tuesday’s Big Red Tasting, we were curious about how these alterations were reflected in the bottle.
When Giampaolo Motta released his first vintage of Giorgio Primo in 1992, it was to outstanding critical acclaim. However, seeking more than just approval and points, Giampaolo declassified his Giorgio Primo and La Massa in 2002, so that he could craft his wines as he saw fit. Eliminating Sangiovese from the blend in 2007, because he disagreed with the varietal’s potential to age, Giampaolo evolved the label one step further by hiring his good friend and fellow rabbel-rouser Stephane Derenoncourt to advise in the vineyards and cellar at the end of 2008. With the foundation of his career constructed in Bordeaux, Derenoncourt was Giampaolo’s natural selection to aid in the farming and vinification of his Bordeaux blends in Tuscany.
Awarded 97 points by Wine Spectator and 94 points by The Wine Advocate, the Giorgio Primo IGT 2007 is a blend of 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petite Verdot. Slightly savory with black fruit and dried black cherry notes, the 2007 shows purple flowers, earthy mid-palate tannins and hints of graphite and tumeric.
A blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot, the Giorgio Primo IGT 2008 scored 94 points with Wine Spectator and 93 points with The Wine Advocate. With a similar fruit profile as the 2007, the 2008 is less floral with meaty aromas, early tannins and baking spice notes.
With the appearance of Derenoncourt at the end of 2008, Cabernet came to carry the blend with 60% to 35% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. “Proprietor Giampaolo Motta and consultant Stephane Derenoncourt have achieved remarkable polish and elegance here,” wrote Galloni in The Wine Advocate, after awarding the Giorgio Primo IGT 2009 93 points. In magnum, the dark berry fruits of the 2009 are juicy and fresh, with bright acidity that peaks through velvety cocoa tannins. And while the 2009 is fresh on the palate now, it’s a clear indicator that Motta made the right choice regarding potential ageability, because these three vintages will keep singing for many years to come.