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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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Tenuta di Trecciano Chianti Colli Senesi 2018 750ml
Tenuta di Trecciano Chianti Colli Senesi 2018 750ml
Price: $13.99

Light, tangy and refreshing, this ’18 Chianti leaps from the glass in a profusion of youthful red and blue fruits, warm earth, violet petals, baking spices, and white pepper. Dusty tannins, electric acidity, and a subtle thrum of earth make this Chianti a food-friendly delight. This mono-varietal Sangiovese derives from compact red soils that are high in minerals; grapes ferment for 30 days in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ages for seven months in botti, followed by four months in bottle prior to release. more info
Collemattoni Rosso Toscano Adone 2018 750ml
Collemattoni Rosso Toscano Adone 2018 750ml
Price: $18.99

This rare Montalcino Super Tuscan is a knockout at its price point. Delicate aromatics of ruby fruits, underbrush, truffles, violet petals, and spices spring from the glass of this charming, enveloping 2018 bottling. These notes echo on the enveloping and plush palate, which is energized by lively acidity and a solid core of minerals. Enjoyable upon release, this wine will age nicely over the next five years. A blend of 95% Sangiovese Grosso with 5% Merlot, grapes ferment for ten days in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ages in botti. more info
Trecciano Chianti Colli Senesi Riserva 2015 750ml
Trecciano Chianti Colli Senesi Riserva 2015 750ml
Price: $19.99

Charming and fruity, this ’15 Chianti Riserva puts its lush cherries and brambly berries in the spotlight, framing them with baking spices, warm earth, violet petals, and new leather. Round yet sprightly, this wine fills the mouth with a sweet inner perfume as a thrumming iron-ore bass line moves it to a brisk, food-friendly finish. Named after the red earth of its vineyards, this Chianti Riserva is an ideal Tuesday-night wine. After being hand-picked, Sangiovese grapes ferment with selected yeasts for about two weeks in temperature-controlled stainless steel; the wine ages for 18 months in botti, followed by at least four months of bottle rest before release. more info
Cecilia Imago Elba Rosso 2018 750ml
Cecilia Imago Elba Rosso 2018 750ml
Price: $19.99

Mostly Sangiovese with a touch of Syrah, this Elba Rosso offers a sea-swept, mineral-laden spin on Super Tuscans. Ripe red and blue fruits cavort with peppery spices, warm earth, pressed wildflowers and a touch of licorice in this delicious red. Coming from a small island off the coast of Toscana, this unique red is full-bodied, spicy, open-knit and utterly charming--Cecilia’s Elba Rosso will be perfect as your new “house” red! A blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Syrah grown in limestone-rich marl, grapes ferment for a week on the skins in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ages in stainless steel and rests in bottle prior to release. more info
Le Mortelle Vivia Maremma Toscana DOC 2018 750ml
Le Mortelle Vivia Maremma Toscana DOC 2018 750ml
Price: $24.99

2018 started cool, turned hot, and ended temperate, which gave grapes a long, luxurious hang time; the ’18 Vivia reflects its growing year with its intensity and its balance. Crisp orchard fruits, juicy stone fruits and zippy citrus are sprinkled with white flower petals, dusty minerals, and wild Mediterranean herbs in this wine’s creamy, round palate. Saline minerals and vivid acidity propel this sea-swept white to a clean, delicious finish. 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. more info
Le Mortelle Botrosecco Maremma Toscana DOC 2016 750ml
Le Mortelle Botrosecco Maremma Toscana DOC 2016 750ml
Price: $27.99

A benchmark growing year, 2016 offered Tuscan vine-growers ideal warm weather, and the ’16 Botrosecco bursts with notes of sun-warmed red and blue fruits, hot stones, melted chocolate, balsamic herbs and a smear of berry jam. Open-knit and opulent, this wine snuggles the palate with chewy tannins, silky acidity, and elegant minerals that linger on the deeply pleasurable finish. Packing a punch at its under $30 price point, the ’16 Botrosecco is a must-have red. A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc, Botrosecco’s grapes ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for about two weeks; the wine ages for a year in stainless steel and rests in bottle for a few months before release. more info
Tenuta San Guido Le Difese 2017 750ml
Tenuta San Guido Le Difese 2017 750ml
Price: $29.99

Ready-to-drink upon release, the sappy ’17 Le Difese is a delicious, open-knit treat! Juicy red and blue fruits layer with fresh loam, baking spices, crushed herbs, and touches of underbrush, dried cherries, and cigar wrapper in the silky, aromatic ’17 Le Difese. Fine-grained tannins cling to the cheeks as the wine’s kinetic acidity powers it to a lingering, precise and food-friendly finish. The third label of Tenuta San Guido, the pioneering Super-Tuscan estate that transformed Italian winemaking in the late '60s, Le Difese provides a rare opportunity to experience a taste of the legendary Sassicaia for just $30. A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese grown in limestone-rich soils, Le Difese ferments in temperature-controlled stainless steel and ages for eight months in oak barrels that previously aged the estate’s Sassicaia and Guidalberto. more info
La Sala Chianti Classico 2015 750ml
La Sala Chianti Classico 2015 750ml
Price: $29.99

Peppery spices, crushed herbs, violet petals, warm loam, and a kiss of oak frame the juicy red and blue fruits in this zesty, full-throttle ’15 Chianti Classico. This appealing wine wraps its sweet fruits around a savory mineral core and finishes with lovely dusty tannins that linger on the palate. Deriving from grapes grown in in the San Casciano Val di Pesa located in the western section of the Chianti Classico zone, this Chianti Classico is mostly Sangiovese with about 10% Merlot; grapes enjoy temperature-controlled fermentation, and the wine ages for a year, half in French oak barrels and half in steel, before bottling and resting for six more months. more info
Fontodi Meriggio 2018 750ml
Fontodi Meriggio 2018 750ml
Price: $36.99

Fontodi claims that the ’18 Meriggio Bianco is the most complex and freshest that it’s ever seen, and we have to agree--this wine is fascinating! Juicy yet finessed, ripe yet steely, intense yet focused, the ’18 Meriggio has a lot to give white wine lovers, layering its succulent stone and crisp orchard fruits with crushed river rocks, fresh herbs, white wildflowers and a dusting of peppery spices. Weighty yet nimble, this wine whooshes across the palate, propelled by its twin engines of savory minerality and keen acidity, as it builds to a resonant, complex and refreshing finish. Enjoyable upon release, this sophisticated white will drink beautifully over the medium term. Deriving from Fontodi’s organically tended, north-facing La Rota vineyard, this wine is mostly old-vine Sauvignon Blanc blended with about 10% Trebbiano; grapes ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ages on the lees for six months, mostly in stainless steel, with a small percentage in amphora. Only 300 cases will be imported to the USA. more info
La Rasina Rosso Di Montalcino Speciale "Ines" 2014 750ml
La Rasina Rosso Di Montalcino Speciale "Ines" 2014 750ml
Price: $39.99

While La Rasina usually crafts its Rosso di Montalcino from its younger vines, in the challenging 2014 vintage, the estate opted against bottling any Brunello at all and put all of its best grapes into its Rosso instead, creating a “Speciale” wine named after maker Marco Mantengoli’s grandmother, Ines, who passed away on the day the wine was bottled. This ’14 “baby Brunello” is a rustic beauty, crackling with vibrant acidity and filling the mouth with juicy red and black fruits that layer with dusty earth, new leather, herbs, violet petals, cigar wrapper, and telltale Montalcino cypress needles. Beautifully balanced, this wine seamlessly melds its fine-grained tannins, elegant acidity, sweet fruits, and subtle minerality in a captivating whole. Deriving from organically tended vines, Sangiovese Grosso grapes ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and this wine, a declassified Brunello, ages for 24 months in botti, followed by six months in bottle before release. more info