Selections for April 2017

Grab this vintage!

2010 TERRABIANCA ‘Piano del Cipresso’ – Toscana, Italy

We would urge you to try this now WITH PROTEIN even though it’s still in need of a year or two to fully soften and bloom.  Why drink a wine that’s not quite all it will be?  Because NOW is when you can get MORE.  LATER it will be GONE.  Get it?  We think this is just your FIRST bottle of Cipresso; you’ll know when you appropriately have it at table.

Yes, this 100% Sangiovese will go the way of all those 2010 Brunellos which have come and rapidly gone based on acclaim.  All that is 2010 and Tuscan is transcendent, and we were pleasantly surprised to still be able to access this wine from a great year.  “Cipresso” is 100% Sangiovese grown mostly on the original Terrabianca Estate north of Siena and south of Florence.  Doesn’t that mean it should be called “Chianti” or “Chianti Reserva”?  Normally, but the wine also sources a little Sangiovese from the producer’s Maremma holding, still within Tuscany but west of Chianti proper and thereby disqualifying the moniker. 

A year in oversized French Oak barrels calmed the wine a bit, but when you feel it in your mouth you’ll have to “come to grips” with its significant tannins.  This 2010 is still a baby, but hard to resist when you smell its appealingly-rustic dusty cherries and iron, and savor the juicy mid-palate of ripe cherries and chocolate. 

Bistecca Fiorentina would be a classic accompaniment, but a good ol’ ribeye will also do the trick!

We do this a lot         

2013 Poliziano – Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy

Your wine club budget accommodates many wines we call “World Class.”  Others go un-shown because of their prohibitive prices.  Chateauneuf-du-Pape can only rarely squeeze in, while its neighbors Gigondas and Vacqueyras qualify more often.  – And so it is in southern Tuscany where one famous Sangiovese, Brunello di Montalcino, has been hyped out of the club range.  Our solution:  Head next door to another hill town, Montepulciano, for THEIR very worthy version of the varietal.  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has frequently occurred in your club not only for its goodness; its more modest price point also works.

What’s the difference between Brunello and Vino Nobile?  I’d sum it up with one word:  Nerve.  Brunello is typically a little more full-bodied while Sangiovese as declared by Vino Nobile is more vibrant and zesty with zingy cherries and raspberries; even a sense of grapefruit when you’re sniffing “blind”.  Certainly, the soil differences contribute to this but there’s a variation in recipe to be considered as well.  Brunello is typically done with the “Sangiovese Grosso” clone and must be 100% varietal, while the wine in your glass today represents the Prugnolo Gentile clone of the grape and some blending is permitted. 

This Poliziano is composed of 85% Prugnolo Gentile, with the remainder committed to local varieties Canaiolo and Colorino along with international star Merlot.  Normal-sized barrels – mostly used – and oversized casks were both employed for a 14-16 month nap before bottling.  Sniffed and tasted alongside the Cipresso described above, one can sense the higher level of “energy” in this wine.  Part of that is attributable to its relative youth; this wine is three years younger than the other.  The other factor, no doubt, is the inherent “zest” of Vino Nobile, a quality which equips this for cellaring up to a decade!