26 Jul Italian stallions
Ahhhh, Toscana, bella, bella, bella! The Tuscan hills, a gentle rolling landscape, a white gravel track winding through the vines. Off in a corner a rustic pantiled farmhouse with driveway dotted by needle-like, black cypresses. The sun dipping at the golden hour of near dusk, warmth rising out of the dusty grasses at the tail end of summer’s lease. Are you feeling me?
Sangiovese, the noblest of Italy’s grapes, is commonly labelled under its regional name. It is widely grown throughout Italy. In Tuscany, it is the foundation of Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano and one of Wine Bluffer’s favourites, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Sangiovese is naturally high in acidity and aroma and often tempered by the addition of a little Canaiolo for a softer and more rounded effect. Certainly, some Chianti Classico and Vino Nobile benefit by blending in this way.
In Central Tuscany, where these wines hail from, the common style is of traditional sun-dried tomato and leather flavours developed in old barrels that won’t impart vanilla. This makes for a superb complement to red meats and there you will typically you will find Cinghiale (Wild Boar) on the menu. Back in Blighty you could pair it with a good and juicy steak, left to rest a while after the heat of your barbecue. Or wild mushroom sauce over your tagliatelle would form an equally admirable companion.
If I haven’t lost you by now to Villas in Tuscany dot com then there are four delicious Tuscan examples of 100% Sangiovese to choose from on OAK N4’s wine list. Isole e Olena, Chianti Classico, with its highly perfumed sour cherries, Petali Rosso Cantalici, an organic wine with refreshing red fruit in the mouth. The intensely perfumed blackberries, blackcurrants and cherries from Brunello di Montalcino, Cantina di Montalcino and lastly but not at all least Cepparello, another from Isole e Olena in the northern Chianti. This is a true ‘Super Tuscan’ with bags of punchy cherries and a touch of spice and oak.
Ahhh Sangiovese, bella, bella, bella. If you can’t get to tuscany this year then get up close and personal with one of these masterful and muscular Italians instead. Salute!
by Wine Bluffer