Bibi Graetz Testamatta 2015, IGT Tuscany
Native Sangiovese nose, that of cherries, tomatoes, liquorice and meat ones, leather and spices. On the palate, blackberry(cherries as well), coffee bean and chocolate aromas, with toasted oak and fruit character on the finish. Savoury, robust, full-bodied(14% ABV), it is complicated and harmonious, with soft tannins and a good freshness that accompany towards an elegant and persistent finish.
If a bottle of Testamatta 2015 were a painting, then its nose and palate will be the colourful expressions in broad strokes. If the warm tones in that picture were accenting the Toscana dusky purple and burnt-orange of the colour, its structure should reflect the sturdiness of Romanesque column.
Why should you keep some bottles?
First, rarity and tradition style. In a region where many have re-planted vines in search of higher yields and more international-styles(in particular for IGTs, and even Chiantis and Brunello di Montalcino), winemaker Bibi Gratetz stands apart for his love of old-vine Sangiovese. He stands by the quality of Tuscany’s native grape and the importance of older vines. As a result, he is one of the few Tuscan producers with vines 60+ years of age, meaning that his wines display an incredible depth and complexity not seen elsewhere in the region.
Second, 2015 was a phenomenal vintage for Tuscany, with James Suckling describing this 2015 vintage as "spectacular". With 99 points, the Testamatta is one of the very best, and Suckling has called it "a stunning wine". In fact, for James Suckling, and for the same year, this wine tops both Sassicaia & Ornellaia!
Third, consistently high quality and the top score of almost full 100 points since 2006 the first making, which starting its culmination of accolades to this best-ever 2015. Made in small amounts of approximately 1000 cases, it is the flagship wine of what many call one of the true 'garagistes' of Tuscany.
Last but not least, the superb making. It is produced entirely from Sangiovese grapes, carefully picked and selected by hand. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature, with daily punching down. The finished wine ages in small French barrels for 16-18 months before bottling; hence the wine is woody and big, integrated though. Fermentation takes place in open-top barrels of 225 litres with 6-8 manual punch-downs per day, a measure more for big wines. In the fields, the 80-year-old vineyards on galestro and clay with international Guyot and Goblet training systems support this excellent style.
James Suckling awarded 99 points on the wine says, "A stunning wine. This is the best Testamatta ever made. Fascinating aromas of red fruits, tea, bark and wet soil as well as fresh leather. Full body, silky tannins and a juicy finish. I love the tension and texture of this great red. So gorgeous to taste now but better in 2021. *Top 100 of 2017* (8/2017)
"Testa Matta" may mean, particularly in art, amusingly eccentric. Indeed, this is a mad wine.