Schumacher was known as the "Rainmeister" such was his talent, but today, he ended up spinning out of the race. Certainly, his Mercedes Car is about as much use in a Formula 1 race as a VW campervan, but even factoring this in, Schumacher of old wasn't to be seen. He was hounded by his protege, Felipe Massa, beaten by his team mate, Nico Rosberg, and was overtaken by Mark Webber - a man who used to learn about driving around circuits in his early days by watching Schumacher's Ferrari lap him.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going to criticise Schumacher. The man has won 7 World Championships, 91 races and holds every record in the book. He doesn't need to race in F1, he does it because he loves doing it. He, is constantly in the top ten at the start and finish of every race, beating people who were in prams when he started racing in Formula One. But still, the star has waned and he simply isn't as good as he was a handful of years ago.
I tried two bottles of Vin Santo, and they reminded me of two versions of the German driver - the ageing Schumacher of this year and the driver we saw in a Ferrari in 2006. The first, a 1990 Villa di Vetrice Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina showed some lovely prune aromas with sweet caramel, bonfire toffee and a lot of dried orange peel. A little aged but still with glimmers of stardom. There is a sweet spice coming through on the nose with a lovely bright, reduced orange juice aroma. Very concentrated and with some deep sweet, unctuous aromas. The palate is dry, spicy and with a salty element coming off. It has a complex start - many layers of dried fruit, honeycomb and beeswax, and then it dries up to a rather simple, unbalanced finish. It is nice, and the dried fruit and salty, leathery flavours continue for a long time on the finish, but there isn't the cleanliness from the acid. It lingers a bit, and gets spicy at the end. It is a tasty wine, but it is just a few years past its best. You can see that it was good once, but is now simply holding on, outperforming some younger stars, but is no longer at the height of its game. 85pts
The next wine, a 1992 Carpineto Farnito Vin Santo del Chianti, and is as good as it will ever get. I tried this wine for the first time in 2008 at VinItaly, and it was wonderful, but with a firey temper (like a young Schumacher). The three years between then and now, it has softened into a stunning wine. Soft fleshy fruits like peach, with dried apricots and a little bit of caramel coming through. There is some more dried peel with some floral notes and just a touch of marmalade coming through. The palate has an initial sweetness, followed by delightful dried fruit flavours, lots of dry honey with gentle spice and a lot of floral notes. Superb balance, very clean on the finish with a peach cobbler flavour throughout. 95pts
Like Schumacher in his last year at Ferrari, the Farnito is as good as it will ever get. I don't want to try this wine again as I don't want to ruin my memory of it. But when you are passionate about something, like Schumacher is about driving and I am about wine, you can't help going back to a thing you love. I know, like Schumacher's return to F1 with Mercedes Benz, that when I can't resist the pull of this wine, I'm going to go back to it, taste it, and the greatness will have gone.