Burton Anderson in his useful Wines Of Italy remarks that some Friuli producers are using more modern techniques including new oak to give the "depth and complexity that some critics regard as essential". I agree with his implied message here but it was interesting to taste the Ribolla Gialla 2001 from this estate because the producers feel that this traditional variety does need a little help and so have treated it to a deft touch of barrique. It makes an excellent wine too, although not to my mind particularly better than the other three. The estate's Franconia Rosso 1996 was also a pleasant drink, somewhere between Loire and Burgundy I thought, and very fine and fresh for its age.
And so to Fattoria Casaloste in Chianti, an estate that several authorities believe is on the up. They make a juicy Chianti Classico, a substantial Riserva and a special bottling called Don Vincenzo in a fairly modern style that is particularly apparent in the new oak on the last of these wines - I feel they would like to be making wines like Fonterutoli, to name one of the top exponents of this game. Casaloste's top wines from 1999 were very good as you would expect from this excellent vintage and the basic Chianti from 2001 is also going to be very drinkable once it has been in bottle for another year or so. Their top wine is the Don Vincenzo which was pretty serious and interesting in 1999 - surely at least in time - the 1995 however was a bit dried out, but this was a very early effort of the estate. I can see the Don V doing well - people are paying quite a lot for the more ambitious Chiantis these days - but I could worry a bit that this estate pays too much attention to oenolgists: the owners seem very pleased with their introduction of micro-oxygenation, etc, and I wonder if they are not in danger of being overly influenced by the international fashion for accessible wines. A good estate, but beyond that I will reserve judgement until I have tasted a few more vintages.