Wine Review P2: Marchesi de' Frescobaldi, "Tenuta dell'Ammiraglia" Range

Disclaimer: this review is of samples that I received from the producer’s US importer. My review of the wines has been conducted in compliance with my Samples Policy and the ISA wine tasting protocol and the opinions I am going to share on the wines are my own.

Marchesi de' Frescobaldi's "Ammiraglia" LineupAfter learning about the producer, Marchesi de’ Frescobaldithe estate “Tenuta dell’Ammiraglia and the “Ammiraglia” wine range in general on our previous post (should you have missed it, please refer to it before reading this one), let’s now focus on the actual contents of the three bottles that I got to taste and move forward with my tasting notes.

In an effort not to make this post too lengthy, if you are interested in some very cool facts about the various grape varieties from which the wines in the Ammiraglia lineup are made (i.e., VermentinoCabernet SauvignonCabernet FrancMerlotSyrahSangiovese and Ciliegiolo), by all means check them out on our Grape Variety Archive page. As always, such information is taken from the excellent guide Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, Allen Lane 2012,

As usual, for my review I will use a simplified version of the ISA wine tasting protocol that we described in a previous post: should you have doubts as to any of the terms used below please refer to that post for a refresher.

1.  Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, Vermentino “Ammiraglia” Toscana IGT 2012 ($18)

Marchesi de' Frescobaldi, Vermentino "Ammiraglia"The 2012 Vermentino Ammiraglia was 12.5% ABV and was made out of 100% Vermentino grapes harvested from just 5 HA of vineyards in the Tenuta dell’Ammiraglia estate, which achieve a good 5,500 vines/HA density.

After the grapes underwent a partial cryomaceration phase, the must fermented for 10 days at 68F/20C in stainless steel vessels, with no malolactic fermentation. After that, the wine rested for 4 months in steel vats, plus one additional month in bottle before becoming available for sale.

The fact that part of the grapes did cryomaceration and that the wine did not do any oak are both indications that the wine was made in such a way as to emphasize primary and secondary aromas and that it is intended for immediate consumption, not for cellaring. The Vermentino Ammiraglia retails in the US for about $18.

In the glass, the wine poured a light straw yellow and moderately thick when swirled.

On the nose, the bouquet was quite intensequite complex and fine, with aromas of grapefruit, citrus, honey, orange blossoms, with herbs and almond hints. One important factor to keep in mind to fully appreciate its aromas is service temperature: if you serve this wine too chilled, its bouquet will be restrained and will not do it justice. I noticed that a temperature of about 53-55F/12-13C is where the wine’s aromas peak, so bear that in mind if you buy a bottle.

In the mouth, the wine was dryquite warmsmoothfresh and tasty. It was balanced and medium-bodied, with intense and fine mouth flavors of citrus, almond, minerals and evident iodine notes. The finish was quite long (to reinforce the wine’s mineral and iodine flavors, the aftertaste leaves you a slight feeling almost of saltwater in your mouth!) and the evolutionary state was mature (meaning, drink it now, it will not benefit from cellaring).

Overall, I really enjoyed this Vermentino: ideally, I wish its aromas were a touch more intense, but its aromatic palette is quite complex (if tasted at the right temperature) and very enjoyable, as are its balance and tasty mouth flavors. And at a retail price of about $18, I think this wine delivers plenty of bang for the buck.

Rating: Good to Very Good and Recommended, given its great QPR Good to Very Good – $

(Explanation of our Rating and Pricing Systems)

2. Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, “Terre More dell’Ammiraglia” Maremma Toscana DOC 2011 ($18)

Marchesi de' Frescobaldi "Terre More"The 2011 Terre More was a whopping 14.5% ABV Bordeaux-style blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 5% Syrah grown in 55 HA of vineyards in the estate with a good density of 5,500 vines/HA, on par with the Vermentino.

The must fermented for 10 days in stainless steel vats at 82F/28C and underwent 12 days of maceration as well as full malolactic fermentation. The wine finally aged for 12 months in second or third time used French oak barrique casks before becoming available for sale. The Terre More retails in the US for about $18.

In the glass, the wine poured ruby red with purple hints and unsurprisingly (given its ABV) thick when swirled.

On the nose, the bouquet was quite intensecomplex and fine, with aromas of wild cherry, plum, blackberry, leather, coffee, tobacco and black pepper, with the tertiary, spicy aromas given by the oak aging being a little dominant over the secondary, fruity aromas (despite the wise choice of second/third time used barriques).

In the mouth, the Terre More was drydefinitely warmquite smoothfreshtannicquite tasty. I have to say that the wine’s muscular ABV was very evident, and tended to tip the wine mouthfeel a little bit off balance. The tannins were firm but quite integrated, despite the wine’s young age. The wine was full-bodied and had intense and fine mouth flavors of plum, blackberry, coffee (quite evident) and black pepper. The finish was quite long and the evolutionary state ready, meaning you can drink it now but it will most likely benefit from a few years of additional in-bottle aging.

Overall, I ended up having mixed feelings about the Terre More: I quite liked its bouquet (despite the slight prevalence of oaky, tertiary aromas and it being not as intense as I would have hoped), but was not entirely convinced by its mouthfeel: despite its pleasant flavor profile, the heat of the wine’s ABV was in my view a little too evident. Truth be told, it is still a very young wine and a few years of cellaring would likely be beneficial. Having said that, with a retail price of $18, I think this wine is still a pretty good deal to pair with a juicy steak just off the grill.

Rating: Fairly Good Fairly Good – $

(Explanation of our Rating and Pricing Systems)

3. Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, “Pietraregia dell’Ammiraglia” Morellino di Scansano Riserva DOCG 2010 ($25)

Marchesi de' Frescobaldi "Pietraregia"As mentioned on our previous post, the 2010 Pietraregia started off on the right foot by having a nice cork closure. 😉 Beside that, the wine was 14% ABV and was a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Ciliegiolo and 5% Syrah.

The must fermented in stainless steel vats for 10 days at 86F/30C, underwent 20 days of maceration on the skins and did full malolactic fermentation, The wine aged for 24 months in French oak barrique casks and 2 additional months in bottle before becoming available for sale. The Pietraregia retails in the US for about $25.

In the glass, it poured dark ruby red and thick when swirled.

On the nose, its bouquet was quite intense and a bit narrow, with aromas of plum, blackberry, violet and black pepper, but certainly fine. It is interesting to note how few spicy tertiary aromas the wine picked up after spending 24 months in French oak barrique casks. Honestly, I would have hoped that the nose of this wine delivered a bit more than it did.

In the mouth, the Pietraregia was drywarmsmoothfreshtannictasty. It was a full-bodied wine with intense and fine mouth flavors of plum and dark chocolate. The finish was quite long and its evolutionary state was ready (you know what that means: fine to drink now, but if you cellar it for a few years it will likely improve over time).

Overall, I liked the Pietraregia: while I wish it had more to give in its bouquet, in my view the pleasant mouthfeel of this wine definitely made up for whatever it lacked in its aromatic palette. Once you sip this wine, it will make you happy, especially if you still remember that you paid some 25 bucks for it, which I think is more than adequate for what you get.

Rating: Good and Recommended Good – $$

(Explanation of our Rating and Pricing Systems)

So, to sum things up real quick:

1. I am generally pleased by the quality that the three wines of the Ammiraglia range that I got to taste delivered, of course given their price points.

2. Personally, I would definitely buy the Vermentino and the Pietraregia, which in my view are good value for money, while (once again, personally speaking) I think I would pass on the Terre More as, while it certainly is not a bad wine, it does not quite meet my own tastes.

And of course, many thanks to Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi’s US importer for providing the samples.

As always, if you get to taste any of these wines, please share your experience in the comment section!

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0 thoughts on “Wine Review P2: Marchesi de' Frescobaldi, "Tenuta dell'Ammiraglia" Range

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you for stopping by and giving us your feedback, Isaac. Your opinion perfectly matches mine: the reds were solid, but the Vermentino definitely stood out. I am very glad you had an opportunity to enjoy it and you took the time to share your thoughts. All the best! 🙂

  1. Pingback: Wine Review P1: Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, “Tenuta dell’Ammiraglia” Range | Flora's Table

    1. Stefano Post author

      Hi! Thank you very much for stopping by and leaving a comment!
      A wine chemist, this is so cool and interesting! So, do you work for a university/research facility or for one or more wineries? And do you happen to collaborate with enologists in fine tuning the best wine making processes for a specific wine or am I 100% off mark? Sorry about all the questions, but I am very interested in what you do! 🙂
      I very much like your blog too, which I have just started following.
      If you are interested, you may also want to check out my wine and photography blog (a sister blog to Flora’s Table) at http://www.clicksandcorks.com
      Hope we’ll keep in touch!
      Take care

      1. adelaidefoodies

        Hi Stefano. I work for Universities and our group is the only kind in SA. We do collaborate with enologist. Some people are involved in the wine making process. I am mainly synthetic which means I produce wine compounds for others to investigate and compare with the ones found in wine. Followed your other site as well. I hope to read more wine related posts on your blog!

        1. Stefano Post author

          Thank you for your kind reply: very cool!
          I generally publish a couple of photography posts and then a couple of wine related posts and so on, so stay tuned as the next one should be on wine! 🙂

  2. apuginthekitchen

    Stefano, as always an excellent review. All sound like a good value and a pleasant experience. I wouldn’t say no to any of them. Adding to my list of need to try wines. I wish you had an online wine store, I would be your best customer based on your excellent reviews I know I would never be disappointed.

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you very much for your kind words, Suzanne: these are indeed good wines with an interesting quality to price ratio. I am pretty sure you would not be disappointed if you tasted them. Thank you also for your suggestion regarding an efficient way to source the wines that I review. Let me give it some thought and maybe I could come up with an idea or two…
      Thanks again! 🙂

  3. talkavino

    Very nice in-depth review, Stefano. Not trying to nit-pick, but it looks like the fermentation temperature for the second wine (Terre More) is incorrect in the producer’s notes – 28C is only 82.4F, so considering that the wines are from Europe, I would assume the Celsius number is a correct one – you might want to point it out back to your source…

    1. Stefano Post author

      Hi Anatoli, no nit-picking at all: actually, thank you so much for catching that! Most temperatures I converted myself into F, but that one and a few others were in the producer’s data sheets and I should have double checked them. I will edit the text right away. Once again, thank you for pointing that out! 🙂

  4. laurasmess

    As always, a great review Stefano. It’s a little funny, as when I read through the post, the one that jumped out as ‘delicious’ was the Terre More… but that was your least favourite in the end. I love spicy, deep chocolate and coffee reds with a warm finish and quite a lot of tannin. I also love the sound of the Pietraregia though, particularly as it was your favourite 🙂 I’m not sure if I can find either over here (in Australia) but I’ll have a look! I always gravitate towards Australian wine so I’d love to try some other varieties from overseas. Thanks for the tips and the thorough reviews.

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you very much for your kind and articulate comment, Laura!
      I know what you are saying about the Terre More: you know, I liked its bouquet too, but to me one of the most important things in a wine is balance when you actually taste it and the Terre More just had that ABV “warmth” that in my view was a little bit too pronounced. Clearly, we are kind of nitpicking here and, as you are suggesting, there is not one single style that appeals to everyone (thank God!)
      Should you have the opportunity to lay your hands on any of these bottles, please let me know your take of them!
      Oh, and I *love* Australian wines too! 🙂
      Take care

      1. laurasmess

        Oh, I’ll definitely let you know if I can purchase some of these wines Stefano. I appreciate each and every one of your reviews, it’s exciting to discover ‘new’ varieties and winemakers. Wine is truly one of the great pleasures of life 🙂 Glad to hear that you like our Aussie vintages… I am pretty proud of what our wonderful winemakers are doing over here. For a convict country, we’re not doing too badly! 🙂

        1. Stefano Post author

          Thank you for your very kind words, Laura! 🙂
          I totally agree that wine is one of the pleasure of life: very well said! 🙂
          And yes, there is some really great Australian (and New Zealand) wine that winemakers Down Under have every reason to be very proud of!