Under the Tuscan Sun
This week our good friend Chris Blacklidge will be in store to help us fall in love with Tuscany all over again! It’s easy to love this region, but sometimes we need a little reminder of all its special varietals and charm. Located in central Italy along the Tyrrhenian coast, Tuscany is home to some of the world’s most notable wine regions. Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are primarily made with Sangiovese grape whereas the Vernaccia grape is the basis of the white Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Tuscany is also known for the dessert wine Vin Santo, made from a variety of the region’s grapes. Tuscany has thirty-three Denominazioni di origine controllata (DOC) and eleven Denominazioni di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). In the 1970s a new class of wines known in the trade as “Super Tuscans” emerged. These wines were made outside DOC/DOCG regulations but were considered of high quality and commanded high prices. Many of these wines became cult wines. In the reformation of the Italian classification system many of the original Super Tuscans now qualify as DOC or DOCG wines (such as the new Bolgheri label) but some producers still prefer the declassified rankings or to use the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) classification of Toscana. After Piedmont and the Veneto, Tuscany produces the third highest volume of DOC/G quality wines. Tuscany is Italy’s third most planted region (behind Sicily and Apulia) but it is eighth in production volume. This is partly because the soil of Tuscany is very poor, and producers emphasize low yields and higher quality levels in their wine. More than 80% of the regions’ production is in red wine.
Camigliano Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG, 2012 :: $52 Sale $46
Camigliano is one of the most historic estates in Montalcino. Acquired in 1957 by entrepreneur Walter Ghezzi, Camigliano was converted over time to the production of high quality wines, in particular of Brunello di Montalcino. The 1,300 acre estate is planted with over 220 acres of vineyards, 200 of which are Sangiovese vineyards. His son Gualtiero put a lot of effort into the modernizing the company. Through the construction of a new subterranean cellar and the demolition of the previous building, Camigliano restored streets and panoramic views, and regained an astonishing landscape of the high Maremma for the medieval town of 32 residents.
100% Sangiovese on the nose the Brunello is very spicy with chilies and peppers before turning to berries and strawberries. Full body, velvety tannins and flavors, as well as lightly salty undertones characterizes the palate. Ideal with many complex dishes such as red meat, feathered and furry game, also accompanied by mushrooms or truffles. Excellent with cheeses such as aged tomes, parmesan, and Tuscan pecorino.
Gagliole Chianti Classico, 2015 :: $22 Sale $18
Gagliole is a small gem that captures all of Tuscany’s beauty. Judiciously cultivated and groomed, small tracts of land created elegant geometric figures on either side of the impenetrable hills. Here, at 1,640 feet above sea level, vineyards of Sangiovese mature under the rays of the sun thanks to splendid exposure to the south-southwest. The age of the vines (3-30 years) is a testament to the painstaking process of reintegration that has taken place here.
90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot, the Rubiolo is characterized by its dark ruby red colour and strong cherry and wild berry aromas on the nose. It shows elegance and richness with its red cherries, mint, rosemary and rose notes. The Rubiolo is a vibrant fruit-driven wine. Ideal with red grilled meat, like Bistecca Fiorentina. Moreover, this is a light, fresh and fruity wine, suitable to accompany everyday meals.
Fattoria Del Cerro Rosso Di Montepulciano DOC Vino Nobile, 2013 :: $23 Sale $20
Acquired in 1978, the Fattoria del Cerro estate was already an established part of the Montepulciano winemaking community and under the Baiocchi family, who founded the estate in 1922. This long-standing tradition allowed Fattoria del Cerro to play a major role in the renaissance this area experienced with the creation of the DOCG appellations in 1980. Fattoria del Cerro emerged from this transitional period as one of the foremost producers of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Today, the estate is comprised of 1,485 acres of land. In addition to olive groves, wooded areas and fields, there are 230 acres of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano vineyards, 90 acres of Rosso di Montepulciano vineyards, 50 acres of Chianti Colli Senesi vineyards and 52 acres of other varietal vineyards.
90% Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese) and 10% Mammolo is a vivid ruby red color. It has an intense and fine bouquet on the nose with notes of wild black cherry, violet and a slight vanilla undertone. On the palate it is well-balanced and elegant with a slight initial tannic note. Ideal with appetizers, first course dishes with meat sauces, stuffed pasta or casserole dishes and grilled red meats.
Rocca Di Frassinello Le Sughere, 2013 :: $34 Sale $29
Looking to expand beyond the heavily saturated Chianti Classico area, Castellare turned to the natural outlet of Maremma. What started as a small expansion plan took on a new dimension, as a unique joint venture between Castellare and Domaines Barons de Rothschild-Lafite, the first partnership of its kind.The project couples Castellare’s experience in the growing and vinification of Sangioveto with Lafite’s experience in classic French varietals. Extensive research led to a site selection in the hills formed by the two sides of the old Aurelia in Monteregio di Massa Marittima. The first vineyards were planted on 17 acres in 2000; however, today, this successful project oversees almost 200 acres of vineyards in an unrivalled microclimate for native varietals.
50% Sangioveto, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Merlot Le Sughere di Frassinello bursts from the glass with an exciting melange of sweet red cherries, herbs, licorice and tobacco. It shows lovely mid-palate depth in a medium-bodied, sleek style supported by firm yet well-integrated tannins. Ideal with all roasts, grills, barbecues, and with sautéed fillets of beef. Great with cheese as well!
Tired of drinking the same wine over and over? Give our Wine Share a try! We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl and #Neverabadbottle so we can CHEERS!
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