Tiny Bottle Tuesday – Getting Really, Really Small

A while back, I was asked if I wanted to participate in a “unique opportunity” to taste “over 50 of Italy’s finest wines” on Zoom over the course of a few days.

I said “sure” thinking I would be swamped with several cases of wine, but I would be partaking for the sake of the greater good, naturally. When I got the notice from UPS that a singular package was on its way, weighing in at just over a kilogram, I thought they were sending along some accompanying materials (tech sheets, promotional materials, and such).


That was the wine. All of it.

This is what showed up:

One rosé, six whites, and 23 reds.

Truth be told, I have been sitting on these tiny bottles for two main reasons: there were sooo many of them (52 20ml “bottles”) and, well, 20ml is roughly 2/3 of an ounce (not even a “shot” worth) and I found that pretty darned stupid.

I was not able to attend the online Zoom session for these wines however many months ago, so the 46 tiny little vials (I really can’t call them “bottles” with a good conscience) sat in my office for a while.

Then, one day, in hopes of making some semblance of order in said working space, I opened the box to see what it might contain. I discovered two very important facts: there were two of the tiny vials of each wine (which amounts to a whopping 40ml or 1.33 ounces of wine, still not much, but…), and there were some pretty impressive names printed in 3 point font on their teeny labels.

So I thought “What the heck?” and decided to crack a few to see how it went.

To quote Larry David: “Pretty, pretty good…”

While the wines were all quite good, there was not a lot of it…

Thus, I decided to offer up a few of these wines on this Tiny Bottle Tuesday for your perusal. If their bigger (really, really bigger) iterations hold true to these minuscule samples of their potential goodness? Yeah, I could sign up for that.

2019 Argiano Rosso di Montalcino, Italy: Retail $24. 100% Sangiovese. Two mini 20ml (1.3 oz, total) “bottles.” Mini Tasting. Not enough wine here (40ml) to get excited about, but this is pretty exciting. With a rich nose of plum, blueberry, and a vanilla-oaky deliciousness, I was looking forward to the palate. Well, um, it was good. Very Good. Excellent. On the verge of Outstanding, even. Holy cow. They only sent me a little over an ounce of this wine? Are you freaking kidding me? From what I had though? Yowza, and near a whoa. Excellent. 92 Points.

2015 Cave D’Onice Brunello di Montalcino Sensis, Tuscany, Italy: Retail $65. 100% Sangiovese. Another teeny tiny bottle selection with my glass consisting of two 20ml “bottles” (just over an ounce, total). Rich black (dark cherry, raspberry, plum), blue (blueberry), and red (Bing cherry) fruit on the nose, with a rich and luscious mouthfeel. Pretty close to a Yowza. Rich, in that reserved, Italian way, plenty of tartness and plenty of tannins on the backend to suggest further aging. Very nice. Excellent. 92 Points.

2016 Cave D’Onice Brunello di Montalcino Sensis, Tuscany, Italy: Retail $65. . 100% Sangiovese. As I poured this from two mini-bottles, I stressed that I had mal-joined these mini-bottles from the other note, but no fear, all good here. Yowza. Really fresh black fruit (blackberry) but also a scintilla of freshness that is difficult to place other than perhaps elderberry(?). The palate is much the same with all of that mouthwatering tartness. Yum. Another stellar wine in a very tiny bottle. Excellent. 91 Points.

“You have to be messing with me” was my original thought.

2016 Tenuta Il Palazzo Chianti Riserva, Tuscany, Italy: Retail $16. Sangiovese blend. Another tiny taste from a couple of teeny bottles, this moderately ruby wine has some dark and red berry fruit on the nose, primarily plum and blackberry, but also some tangerine and bright cherry. What one would expect from a Chianti Reserva: reserved fruit, plenty of acidity, and just a touch of tannins on the finish. Perfectly quaffable and I would consider this a solid deal at the retail price. Very Good. 89 Points.

2018 Tenuta Il Palazzo Sal Terrae Toscana IGT, Italy: Retail $50. A Super Tuscan blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Another teeny bottle sent from the consortio, it is quite dark both in color and aromas in the glass with ripe plum, blackberry, and a healthy dose of spice. The palate is rather rich, laden with fruit, but balanced by a vibrant tartness, whoa. The finish is fairly long and accentuated by some rather chewy tannins, suggesting the need for at least 3-5 years of cellar time, a lengthy decant, or both. Outstanding. 93 Points.

2015 Giovanni Sordo Barolo Gabutti, Piedmont, Italy: Retail $45. 100% Nebbiolo. From 2-20ml bottles. I saw this wine listed all over the place when it comes to the retail suggested price, so I adopted a bit of an “average” price for this light ruby-colored wine. A really engaging nose of fresh rose petal, red berry fruit (wild cherry, red raspberry), a bit of vanilla, and hints of oak. Almost a Whoa based on the nose. Initially, a bit subdued on the palate, but then the tartness rushes in, followed by some subtle fruit, and then, eventually, an intense finish punctuated by the fairly aggressive tannins. Whoa. But this needs a ton more time. Excellent. 92 Points.


About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Wine and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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