A Tasting of Tuscan Sangiovese based Red Wines

It has taken me a VERY long time to even begin to understand Tuscany & the Sangiovese grape variety. Was I waiting for wines which could stand on the same level of pedestal as Bordeaux? I hope not. I have since discovered that I believe the true nobility of Tuscan Sangiovese is not really about showiness or bravado, but rather more about how wonderfully food friendly it really can be. That’s what inspired this particular tasting. 4 Sangiovese based Tuscans….each should shed a different light on what this grape variety is capable of. How often do opportunities like this come about?

2013 Casa alle Vacche Chianti “Colli Senesi”–we absolutely love this style of “country” styled Tuscan red wines.  We thankfully finally understand how incredibly food friendly they really are. The 2013 is 85 % Sangiovese – 15 % Canaiolo & Colorino blend of varying percentages….from mid slope–up to 1100 feet elevation in the Colli Senesi appellation.  A wonderful example of Tuscan Sangiovese reminiscent of the Old Days in deliciousness, food friendliness & gulpability BUT, with some oak qualities in smell & taste.  

2012 Tua Rita “Rosso di Notri”–in comparison, here is a superb, contemporary Tuscan thoroughbred– 50% Sangiovese & 50% (Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah) , grown in pebbly soils in the foothills of Suvereto out towards the Tuscan Coast.  What a considerable splash Tua Rita has made on the world wine stage with their contemporary crafted Sangiovese based red wines!

 2006 Melini Chianti Classico Riserva “La Selvanella”–La Selvanella was the first wine made from a single vineyard in Chianti and among the first in Italy. Gambero Rosso has declared La Selvanella a “crowning glory” and “standard-bearer of the zone’s most traditional style.”  Yes, a 2006 in all its glory! 

2006 Sesti Brunello di Montalcino–I don’t really know what to make of all of the different bottling I now see of Brunello di Montalcino.  I remember for the longest time in the old days, the standout was Biondi Santi, a winery whose first vintage was in the 1880’s.  Then back in the early 1980’s, maybe late 1970’s, Poggio Antico made quite the splash for their rendition.  The under dog for me around then was the Carpazo bottling, only because it was spearheaded by superstar consultant, Vittorio Fiore, who introduced me to the wine while on a wine visit to him in Italy sometime in the early 1980’s.  Since then, it is like the flood gates have opened for this wine appellation & I have since tried a considerable bunch.  Here is one of the standouts for me–a truly superb, majestic, 11 year old Tuscan aristocrat, which was aged for 39 months in 30hl botti & bottled unfiltered, unfined.

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