As the proud home of both Ornellaia and Sassicaia, Maremma is one of Tuscany’s most-prized production regions. In the last 50 years together with Bolgheri, it has altered the Tuscan wine world, taking away importance from the wines of Montalcino and Montepulciano.
Another major producer in Maremma is Monteverro. Owned and operated by Georg Weber since 2003, the Tuscan producer has experienced international success in its short history. Regularly put in the same league as the top wines of the region, the first wine retails for upwards of 70 euros. This second wine is made up of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Cabernet France, 20% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot.
Plum red in the glass with a clear-brown hue.
The nose is rather reserved. There are notes of both blackcurrant and Cassis and yet these are almost hidden behind fresh herbs, oak and cigar tobacco.
The attack is smooth and silky: there are profound notes of forest fruits – mainly blueberry and wild strawberry. The body too is smooth with red cherry and blackcurrant. This leads onto a finish which is quite heavy on the tannins but eventually gives way to vanilla and smoke.
Whilst the wine is already showing off some fine fruit, it probably is a tad young. With a few more years in the cellar, those hefty tannins are likely to let up a little and expose a touch more of the finely composed silky body and character-defining structure.
There are a few things I can’t turn down: Red Toscana IGT wine is one of them. I’ve been a fan of the stuff since I can remember and, unlike most of the other production regions I favour, I can actually afford the Tuscan wines.
Whereas Tuscany might be most famous for its Chianti, Brunello and Vino Nobile, its ‘new’ wines are the most interesting: in Bolgheri for example where the traditional Tuscan practise of using pretty much only Sangiovese in winemaking has disappeared – they hardly use it at all there. Toscana IGT (literally Tuscan country wine) has little to no restrictions. Many of the producers of ‘Supertuscans’ usually blend Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah with a small amount of traditional Sangiovese to create, mellow, fruity cuvees – this is, by far, the most common approach in all non DOC and DOCG red wine from the region.
This wine is made of 70% Sangiovese and 30% ‘other varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon’. It is aged for about six months in oak. The Carpineto winery was founded in 1967 and is known for both its DOCG wines from Chianti Classico and Montalcino. Dogajolo is a flasgship product made using grapes from all over the Tuscan countryside.
Ruby red with a hint of maroon at the rim.
The initial feel is of red berries and forest fruits with a distinct note of vanilla ice cream. There are raspberries in there too and a distant but not unimportant aroma of wood.
The attack is characterised by the red berries: Cassis, cranberry and raspberry but, before their full juiciness is exposed, the vanilla kicks in – this completes the body: long, warm and elegant and leads nicely onto a balanced and hearty oak note and a long, off-sour finish.
A very warming wine and, due to its inevitable youth, one that reminds strangely of summer rather than the typical seasons one would drink red wine. I can imagine it slightly cooled, served on a balcony thanks to its freshness and the liveliness of the red fruit and yet I feel the vanilla note takes a bit too much prominence away from the red fruit too early – I think, with a few more months in oak or indeed the cellar, this wine would feel fuller – there is great potential here it wine is fantastic with both white and red meat, salad and hotpot – a rare product: a food wine suitable for pretty much anything you want to put on the table.
Toscana IGT, Italy
When the Swiss Widmer family took over the Brancaia estate in Tuscany's beautiful Chianti region at the beginning of the eighties, it didn't take long for them to produce world-class Chianti Classico (just two years).
Hitting the Tuscan wine scene right when the Supertuscan boom was rocking the wine-drinking world, the winery launched a series of non-DOC wines based on both the local speciality Sangiovese and French-imports Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Thanks to growing demand, the company expanded, obtaining two new wineries and this wine is made from grapes grown on all three estates hence the name 'tre' - this also refers to the three different varietals in the final cuvee - one that is aged for at least 12 months in French oak.
A rather translucent red, this wine is much lighter in colour than is usual in Tuscan wine with a bright pink hue.
Bright red fruit lead by cassis is the first on the scene in the way of fruit. Soon to follow are blackberries and blackcurrants with a unique sense of cranberry and citrus fruit. Wood is in there too, as is an earthy-mineral mixture, the nose is however dictated by fruit.
Cassis, cranberry and black berries are the first notes to pick out in the attack. A racing acidity picks up which makes the wine rather light and refreshing: those long satin-smooth notes and textures typical of the other Supertuscans isn't in this wine and, whilst that's what this kind of wine is treasured for, it does make this particular bottle rather unique. It also makes it a perfect companion to food: particularly cheese, game and lamb.
Far from being the most elegant of Tuscan reds, this is a typical example of the combination of styles some wineries specialise in. The Swiss owners clearly have brought a part of Switzerland with them in the creation of this wine: the perfect companion to food, the rougher, wilder side of wine that is particularly present in Northern European reds together with the fuller body and sweeter notes of sunny Tuscan rosso. I don't understand a recent Decanter review where this wine was awarded 95 points....it's very good, it's not an all-time great though.
As one of Tuscany’s biggest winemaking names, Ornellaia’s third wine Le Volte is a common find in wine stores and larger supermarkets the world over. Made using a range of varietals from a number of vineyards all over Tuscany, the wine represents a typical Supertuscan cuvée: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, for authentic Tuscan character, a decent helping of raunchy Sangiovese.
For those who are keen followers of the Supertuscan scene, Le Volte is no stranger and alongside Luce’s second wine: Lucente (Review here), it really shows that if you are a red wine drinker, there are almost no wines elsewhere than can compete in this value for money category – if you’ve got £15-20 to spend on red: I can’t think of a better way to use it than by purchasing the Supertuscan wines’ little brothers. There are of course many ways to use this money wisely: Antinori, Frescobaldi, Ornellaia, Luce, Tenuta San Guido or indeed Brancaia and, whilst the big name wines really are in a class of their own: the second and third wines of these producers are certainly enjoyable and much more affordable. (Please note that this wine was not decanted before tasting).
Deep red, purple on the hue but body is very dark – almost Mahogany.
The nose was a composed one with plenty of red and black fruit, most prominent were mild notes of Blackberry, cassis and red plums. The fruit tones were strong but also confined – nothing was too sweet and nothing too sharp. A thick sense of dark chocolate was also to detect and there was a pleasant aroma of smoke and dark wood on the nose.
The attack was fairly sour to start (probably due to the lack of decanting) but this soon gave way to sweet and lush black berries with cassis and blackberry being the obvious notes. Red plum and blackcurrant also came through but this slowly slipped into a chocolate and smoked-wood taste which eventually gave way to a spicy and earthy finish light on tannin but crispy enough for a finish.
A very-well composed cuvée with the delicate but fragrant Merlot providing the fruit, the Sangiovese the Tuscan flair and the small amount of Cabernet holding it all together. Perfect on its own, with hard Italian cheeses or with lamb or beef dishes.
-Sud de France
-Pinot Blanc (Weißburgunder)
-Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder)
-Pinot Meunier (Schwarzriesling)
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-Medium / off-dry
-Brut Zero/ Brut Nature
-Medium / off-dry