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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
Currently Unavailable.

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.
Bibi Graetz Casamatta Bianco 2015 750ml
Bibi Graetz Casamatta Bianco 2015 750ml
Price: $18.99
Currently Unavailable.

Crushed white flower petals, a kiss of spice, and a spritz of lime frame the sprightly tropical and juicy orchard fruits in the ’15 Casamatta Bianco. At once textured and lively, this wine balances its zesty acidity with a creamy mouth-feel, creating a captivating drinking experience that over-delivers on its modest pricing. A blend of 60% Vermentino with 30% Trebbiano and 10% Moscato, Casamatta Bianco’s grapes ferment separately with natural yeasts; then the component wines are blended, and the finished wine ages in steel and then in bottle before release.
Il Conventino Rosato 2016 750ml
Il Conventino Rosato 2016 750ml
Price: $19.99
Currently Unavailable.

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.
Livio Sassetti La Querciolina Sangiovese Montecucco 2014 750ml
Livio Sassetti La Querciolina Sangiovese Montecucco 2014 750ml
Price: $19.99
Currently Unavailable.

Rich, earthy and inviting, this ’14 Sangiovese Montecucco bursts with red and blue fruits, warm loam, peppery spices, crushed wildflowers, and a touch of warm saddle leather. The wine whooshes across the palate with considerable verve, showing surprising breadth on the palate, fine-grained tannins, and a succulent finish. Deriving from sandy-soiled vinegards, organically grown Sangiovese grapes macerate for about two weeks in temperature-controlled stainless steel; the wine ages for year in barriques followed by a year in bottle before release.
Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Vermentino 2014 750ml
Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Vermentino 2014 750ml
Price: $22.99

Bursting with citrus and orchard fruits, fresh-cut herbs, wet river rocks, and crushed white wildflowers, this ’14 Vermentino exudes freshness, sunlight, and purity. Vibrant and precise, this wine almost glimmers on the palate where it releases a lovely saline minerality as it builds to a nicely acidic finish. Antinori's Guado al Tasso, whose lands range right up to the Tyrrhenian Sea, is an ideal site to coax the best from Vermentino; add the climate and the estate's limestone and granite soils to the estate's winemaking skills, and you've got a recipe for delicious wine. After fermenting each grape lot separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, the estate assembles and ages a blend that perfectly transmits its Bolgheri terroir.
Sardi Giustiniani Quinis Rosso 2007
Sardi Giustiniani Quinis Rosso 2007 750ml
Price: $24.75
Currently Unavailable.

A grandfather's legacy also runs through the veins of Jacopo Giustiniani.  A New York restaurateur and winemaker, Jacopo made sure he learned everything he could about winemaking from his grandfather Sebastiano in the 1980s. In between running Ristorante Sant Ambroeus and Bar Felice, an authentic Italian wine bar with a full menu of traditional dishes of Toscana, he flies home to the Sardi estate to tend to each year's harvest. The property, which dates back to the 19th century has vines as young as 3- to 30-years-old.  Situated 50 to 130 meters above sea level with porous soils of limestone sand and clay, the land and its southern exposure to the sun help Jacopo produce full-bodied wines of ripened fruit. Constant attention is given to the wine during the vinification process, and the family vinifies naturally to showcase the quality of the grapes.
Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico 2004 750ml
Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico 2004 750ml
Price: $24.99

The Ricasoli-Firidolfi, one of the oldest families in Tuscany, have owned this winery since the 11th century making in this stellar year a wine of  fine texture dried cherries flavor.
Castello di Selvole Chianti Classico 2012 750ml
Castello di Selvole Chianti Classico 2012 750ml
Price: $24.99
Currently Unavailable.

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
Currently Unavailable.

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
Currently Unavailable.

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.