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The Wines of Toscana

Wines of ToscanaAsk a room full of people what their favorite region of Italy is, and the unanimous answer might very easily be Toscana. But ask them why, and you'll likely receive a multitude of answers: picturesque rolling hills, ancient walled villages, signature dishes of Bistecca alla Fiorentina and Coniglio al Vino Bianco, the duomos and plethora of priceless art....And someone is certain to mention the wine: probably Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino— or possibly the darlings of Toscana's modern persona, the Super-Tuscans.

Though each one of these celebrated categories is unique, they all bear a substantive relationship to Sangiovese. In 1990, nearly 10% of all Italian vineyard land (more than 247,000 acres) was planted to some form of Sangiovese (it offers many clonal variations and names to match: Brunello, Prugnolo Gentile, and Morellino, to name but the most familiar). Sangiovese constitutes the principal variety of Toscana's finest reds, the sole grape permitted in Brunello di Montalcino, and the basis of Chianti and the vast majority of Super-Tuscans. In order to begin to understand the nature and significance of its many manifestations, however, one must undergo a brief immersion study in the region's history, the evolution of its wines, and the producers who have championed both.
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Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Scalabrone Rosato 2015 750ml
Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Scalabrone Rosato 2015 750ml
Price: $18.99

Rich cherries, succulent raspberries and fresh-cut herbs dance with crushed flower petals and a kiss of orange zest in this refreshing, aromatic ’15 Rosato Scalabrone. A rare Super-Tuscan rosato, this wine hails from Antinori’s Guado al Tasso, and it’s a food-friendly, genial introduction to this storied Bolgheri esate. Zingy acidity keeps this wine nimble, but it offers a delightful complexity that is sure to delight Antinori fans. A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 30% Syrah, each grape varietal ferments separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel; after blending, the wine ages first in stainless steel and then rests in bottle before release.
Chateau Viranel Saint-Chinian Tradition Rose 2014 750ml
Chateau Viranel Saint-Chinian Tradition Rose 2014 750ml
Price: $19.99

Fattoria Aldobrandesca Aleatico Sovana Superiore 2011 500ml
Fattoria Aldobrandesca Aleatico Sovana Superiore 2011 500ml
Price: $19.99
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Rich yet nimble, this ’11 Aleatico shows its ripe vintage in its succulent fruit, intense aromatics, and perfect balance between sweet fruit and mouth-watering acidity. Crushed rose petals, tropical fruits and red berries unfold to reveal notes of tea, raspberry jam, and flowers; elegant and never cloying, this wine almost skips across the palate, propelled by its sprightly acidity. This mono-varietal Aleatico dessert wine derives from vineyards of tufaceous rock; after picking, the grapes were divided into two parts. One part was vinified immediately, while the other was left to dry partially before soft pressing and vinification; the parts were blended before aging and being bottled.
Il Conventino Rosato 2016 750ml
Il Conventino Rosato 2016 750ml
Price: $19.99

The product of a classic, ripe vintage in Toscana, this ’16 Rosato wafts with Sangiovese’s juicy cherries and berries, crushed wildflowers, fresh Tuscan earth, and kisses of baking spices, all conveyed in a sprightly, food-friendly palate. Unusually concentrated and perfumed, this wine is explosive yet dry, and quite a value at less than $20 a bottle! Located at approximately 1,150 feet above sea level between Val di Chiana and Val d'Orcia in Toscana, the Il Conventino winery was one of the first in the region to adopt the practice of organic farming. This rosato is 100% Sangiovese, which sits on its skins for just two days before the juice is removed to ferment and age in stainless steel for about six months before bottling. Il Conventino makes just 300 cases of its mono-varietal Sangiovese Rosato a year.
Castello di Selvole Chianti Classico 2012 750ml
Castello di Selvole Chianti Classico 2012 750ml
Price: $24.99

2012 gave Toscana a warm vintage, and Castello di Selvole turned its raw materials into a radiant, open-knit Chianti Classico. This mono-varietal Sangiovese ’12 Chianti Classico rests its juicy red fruit on a foundation of underbrush, sun-warmed earth, roasted herbs, and cigar wrapper. Jaunty, tasty and polished, this Chianti Classico pulls you back to the glass. Crafted in a mix of traditional and international protocol, this wine ages in barrique before bottling, where it rests for three months before release. A definitely delicious, food-friendly wine, this Chianti Classico is ideal to enjoy right now.
Collemattoni Rosso di Montalcino 2014 750ml
Collemattoni Rosso di Montalcino 2014 750ml
Price: $24.99

Much has been made about the difficulty of the 2014 vintage, but you wouldn’t know it from this savory-sweet, brooding Rosso di Montalcino bottling. Succulent red and blue fruits play with olive tapenade, cedar, cigar wrapper, sweet baking spices and coffee in this nimble, satisfying wine. Wrapping its sweet fruit around a savory core, this Rosso holds you in delightful tension, and its sprightly, sophisticated mouth-feel completes the experience. Once the grapes are picked and gently pressed, the juice undergoes fermentation and maceration in stainless steel tanks for 30 days; the wine is then aged in Slovenian oaks casks for twelve months and aged in bottle for at least six months. Collemattoni was certified organic in 2012, ensuring transparent terroir while maintaining a commitment to the earth.
Le Mortelle Vivia Maremma Toscana DOC 2015 750ml
Le Mortelle Vivia Maremma Toscana DOC 2015 750ml
Price: $24.99

2015 offered the Maremma coast a cool, classic vintage with perfectly balanced, ripe grapes; the resulting wine reflects its growing year in a fresh, harmonious palate that is both juicy and bright. Orchard and citrus fruits dance with fresh-cut herbs, lemon zest, crushed white flowers and a kiss of savory minerals in this kinetic, aromatic ’15 Vivia Maremma Toscana. This textured, full-bodied ’15 Vivia Maremma balances its bright, bracing acidity with its copious dry extract and its piquant minerality--it’s a food-friendly beauty that will please the palates of wine-lovers. A blend of 50% Vermentino, 40% Viognier and 10% Ansonica, the grapes for this wine fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine aged for about three months in vat followed by three more months in bottle before release, making for a drinking experience that punches well above its $25 price point.
Le Mortelle Vivia Maremma Toscana DOC 2016 750ml
Le Mortelle Vivia Maremma Toscana DOC 2016 750ml
Price: $24.99

Reflective of its warm, dry year that ended in an ideal harvest, the ’16 Vivia Maremma Toscana is a lively, explosive and intense wine. Juicy tropical and stone fruits dance on a foundation of fresh-cut herbs, white wildflowers, citrus zest and crushed rocks in this straw-yellow wine. Bright acidity keeps this wine nimble, and its rich texture makes it a pure pleasure to drink. A blend of 50% Vermentino, 40% Viognier and 10% Ansonica, the grapes for this wine fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine aged for about three months in vat followed by three more months in bottle before release, making for a drinking experience that punches well above its $25 price point.
Le Mortelle Botrosecco Maremma Toscana IGT 2013 750ml
Le Mortelle Botrosecco Maremma Toscana IGT 2013 750ml
Price: $26.99

A spicy, juicy, intense Super Tuscan, the ’13 Botrosecco layers its succulent red fruit on a bed of white pepper, fresh-cut herbs, underbrush and crushed flowers. Holding its sweet fruit in tension with its savory spices, this wine caresses the palate with a velvety feel as it builds to a vibrant finish. This blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc ferments in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks; the wine ages for a year in oak barrels and rests in bottle for a few months before release.
Le Mortelle Botrosecco Maremma Toscana IGT 2014 750ml
Le Mortelle Botrosecco Maremma Toscana IGT 2014 750ml
Price: $26.99

A mild, cool 2014 growing season gave the grapes for this Bordeaux-style blend a long hang time, allowing them to ripen fully while retaining freshness. This is an exceptionally elegant Botrosecco bottling, layering its succulent red and black fruits with forest floor, peppery spices, saline minerals, cigar wrapper and fresh loam. Caressing yet vibrant, this wine unfurls savory notes on the palate, complemented by sweet tannins and a velvety mouth-feel. This blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc ferments in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks; the wine ages for a year in oak barrels and rests in bottle for a few months before release.