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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 2005
Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico 2005 750ml
Price: $24.99

Castello di Cacchiano has been in the Ricasoli-Firidolfi family since the 11th century, and many generations have produced such wines as Chianti Classico, Prosecco, and Vernaccia. High standards of production for their Chianti (what is now called Chianti Classico) were established by the Barone Bettino Ricasoli 150 years ago, and their first bottlings came in 1974 under the widowed Baronessa Elisabetta Balbi Valier. The widow retired in the mid-90s and passed this part of her business to her son Giovanni (his younger brother, Marco, now runs Rocca di Montegrossi). With 31 hectares of vineyards sitting at 400 meters in the Monti commune, the current baron has turned his attention to Chianti Classico, doing away with the Super Tuscan "RF" formerly produced at Cacchiano. He makes only one bottling each vintage, and exceptional vintages are called Millennio,’ virtually a riserva but not officially labeled as such. Giovanni finds Merlot to be an excellent complement to the traditional Tuscan grapes and aims for 85% Sangiovese with 15% Merlot, a blend that he adjusts based on vintage conditions. He also keeps up production of Rosso Toscano, an everyday wine that is produced every year, and the traditional Vin Santo.
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.
Talenti Rosso di Montalcino 2012 750ml
Talenti Rosso di Montalcino 2012 750ml
Price: $24.99
Currently Unavailable.

Always delicious, in 2012 Talenti’s Rosso di Montalcino shows a juicy, earthy, sauvage profile. Ripe, succulent red and blue fruit sit on a framework of leather, meaty notes, savory minerals, saddle leather, licorice and wildflowers; vibrant yet silky, this wine holds delicious tension in its finish. Talenti’s Rosso di Montalcino acts like a little brother to the estate’s classic Brunello; it has all of the Brunello’s characteristics shown on a slightly smaller scale. Made from grapes harvested from younger Brunello vines, this wine matures in oak barrique for two years and in bottle for one. The resulting wine possesses an enchanting balance between ripe red fruit, spunky acidity, nice minerality, spicy Montalcino terroir, and velvety tannins.
Talenti Rosso di Montalcino 2013 750ml
Talenti Rosso di Montalcino 2013 750ml
Price: $24.99
Currently Unavailable.

Classic, balanced and laser precise, the ’13 Rosso di Montalcino presents its pure Sangiovese Grosso fruit on a bed of spice, wildflowers, cypress needles, chestnuts and fresh-cut herbs. Delicate yet powerful, this wine augers well for the estate’s 2013 Brunello, and its easy-drinking structure invites you to enjoy it both early and often. Talenti’s Rosso di Montalcino acts like a little brother to the estate’s classic Brunello; it has all of the Brunello’s characteristics shown on a slightly smaller scale. Made from grapes harvested from younger Brunello vines, Talenti’s Rosso di Montalcino matures for eight months in a combination of oak tonneaux and barriques and for four months in bottle. The resulting wine possesses an enchanting balance between ripe red fruit, spunky acidity, nice minerality, spicy Montalcino terroir, and velvety tannins.