Tasted: Dante Rivetti Vertical

1988 — First year of production for this Bricco Riserva. A striking wine that has retained its splendid body for 21 years. Intense ruby color without signs of decay or orange tint. The nose is dense, sweet, and juicy with notes of raspberry, currant, cocoa, chestnut honey, pomegranate, dried mushrooms, face powder, and amaretto, followed by decisive mineral notes and freshness. In the mouth, the wine was alive, fresh, and well structured, ample and meaty, consistent, with vibrant, clean earthy notes, solid tannic structure and a long finish.

1989 — A more important and more celebrated vintage than the 1988, with splendid vivid color, articulated tertiary aromas that vary from prunes preserved in brandy to wilted rose to spices. Pronounced minerality with graphite notes, and even greater presence and vitality than the 1988. In the mouth this wine rewards you with energetic, incisive tannins, still a little timid, but with solid structure. The tannin still bites and lays the foundation for living, juicy matter, very fresh and with a long finish. This wine clearly still has room to evolve.

1990 — Surprising intensity and vibrancy in the bright ruby color, articulated fresh and vibrant aromas of mint raspberry, brush, and graphite. In the mouth, this wine is big and rewards you with its earthy substance. The tannins are well defined and work in perfect balance with a sweetness, and a warm, velvety softness. An extremely delicious and enjoyable wine.

1995 (for this vintage, the classico was tasted, not the riserva) — The color was not as bright as the previous vintages and the nose, despite showing some sweetness, was not as rich with nuance and complexity. It was, however, remarkably fresh. In the mouth, the wine was pure, stony, incisive, balanced and delicious but lacking muscle and a little too linear.

1996 — The color alone was amazing, shining ruby red with vibrant reflections. The intriguing nose explodes with complexity, richness, and definition, dense, warm, profound, engaging and with a lot of grip and smooth notes of raspberry and prune, dried flowers, violets, brush, licorice, spices, hints of minerality, leather, and game intertwined. The wine was even better in the mouth, dense and thick, with juicy consistent fruit. The tannins were well represented but not aggressive, with pronounced earthiness, energy, articulation, and dynamism, and a vibrant finish with calibrated acidity and notes of earth and cocoa.

1997 — Very intense color, warm and expansive nose, very juicy, with notes of leather and spice. Juiciness dominates in the mouth, with ripe, fleshy fruit that spreads out over the palate, with substance and heat, but brought to life with a flavorful, mineral note that gives the wine dynamism, backbone, and strength.

1998 — Intense ruby red with an autumnal, captivating nose. Notes of tobacco, rhubarb, spices, currant, wilted rose, and raspberry, hints of cocoa and earth intertwined in an elegant balanced frame. The mouth is sweet at first, with earthy well-constructed tannin, fluffy but still rich with pulp and crunchy, great balance and delicious. Ready to drink now but still very young.

1999 — Yet another example of the greatness of this vintage and it potential to develop splendidly over time. Vibrant, bright ruby red in color with a “mysterious” compact nose, still not revealing itself but playing with wild notes of brush and graphite, with hints of prune, cloves, mint, and spices that intertwine and enhance one another. In the mouth, the wine is surprising for its strength, wholeness, and richness. Very dense with great breadth and volume, overflowing energy that has yet to be tamed and will give long life to this wine.

2000 — This is another hot vintage and it shows its limits (although with a few exceptions) and is not as good as the 1999 and 2001. Very dense bright ruby red color full of light. Intense, compact, warm nose, with pure juicy fruit but lacking nuance. In the mouth, the wine is juicy, ample, enjoyable and matched by significant tannic structure. But backbone, flavor, and intensity belong to the better vintages and while this wine is ful of lingering flavor, it lack that “magic” that makes other vintages great and more dynamic.

2001 — This wine is very young, “to buy and lay down in your cellar,” as the Brits say. Bright ruby red color full of reflections. The nose is not yet expressive, still compact, dominated by stony minerality but it gives you the impression that the raw material is significant and dense. This is confirmed in the mouth, where the wine shows overpowering structure in its body and its solid tannins, with barely containable character, full of energy, and with calibrated acidity and remarkable incisiveness and freshness.

— Franco Ziliani

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