Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona is located in the town of Montalcino in the Tuscany section of Italy. The winery produces red wine, grappa, and olive oil. While they are best known for the Brunello di Montalcino (two non-Riservas and one Riserva), they produce five other red wines as well, using a number of different varietals.
The 2009 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Rosso Toscana was “mostly Sangiovese” (that is a quote from the winery’s website and they did not respond to a request for further information). The restaurant I sourced the wine at listed the breakdown as 50% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 10% Syrah. The wine was aged in Slavonian oak barrels and barriques (aging time unavailable). As a result of the varietal blend, the designation was IGT.
I had previously tasted the Ciacci Piccolomini Brunello di Montalcino Pianrosso and greatly enjoyed the wine. As I was dining at Basil T’s, in Red Bank, NJ, I came across the Ciacci Piccolomini Rosso Toscana IGT on their seasonal wine list. Their seasonal list is designed to move vintages that are at or nearing their peak. The list also offers a discount of 50% on the price. So, instead of the typical restaurant markup, you are paying close to retail for a bottle of wine. It’s a nice deal.
I decided to give this IGT a taste.
The Antinori family dates their family line in Italy to the early 13th century. The family were initially members of the Guild of Silk Weavers in 1285. Then, in 1385, an Antinori joined the Guild of Wine Merchants. Today, Marchesi Antinori is a wine empire. They produce wines from Tuscany and Umbria, and have formed joint ventures with other wineries in the United States, Chile, Hungary, Malta, Romania, and Italy.
The 2008 Antinori Tignanello was a red blend, comprised of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. The grapes were sourced from the Tignanello and Solaia vineyards, 30 kilometers south of Florence in the Tuscany region of Italy. The wine was aged in French and Hungarian oak barrels (60% new, 40% second vintage) for 12 months, and spent an additional 12 months aging in the bottle prior to release. The label listed ABV was 13.5%. The wine carried an IGT classification. There were 335,000 bottles of this vintage produced.
Tignanello was one of the Super Tuscan pioneers. Today, it is one of the more widely recognized names in the Super Tuscan universe. I had not tasted the wine for some time. Given my recent comments on Sapaio, Argiano Solengo, and Sassicaia (my favorite), I thought it time to turn my attention to Tignanello.
Bolgheri is located in the town of Castagneto Carducci in the Tuscany region of Italy. It is home to several wineries, including Podere Sapaio. Podere Sapaio produces two red wines and olive oil.
The 2008 Podere Sapaio Superiore was a red blend, composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. The wine spent 18 months aging in oak barriques, and then an additional 12 months in the bottle, prior to release. The label listed ABV was 14.5%. The Italian classification was DOC. There were 2,500 cases of this vintage produced.
There are a number of Super Tuscans that rank among my favorite wines to drink. As I was looking over the wine list at Undici in Rumson, NJ (They have over 600 wines, solely from Italy. Check out the list under “Menu” on their website. It is pretty impressive.), I came upon the 2008 Podere Sapaio. Knowing the region, but not the wine, I decided to give it a try.
Given my success with other Bolgheri wines, I had high hopes for this bottle.
Tavarnelle Val di Pesa is a small town in the province of Florence in the Tuscany region of Italy. The town is home to Poggio Al Sole winery. In addition to wine, Poggio Al Sole also produces olive oil. The winery was purchased by the Davaz family of Switzerland in 1977, and is run by Johannes and Kathrin Davaz.
The 2009 Poggio Al Sole Chianti Classico was 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine was aged in old oak barrels. The ABV was 13.9%. There were 40,000 bottles of this vintage produced. The wine’s designation was DOCG.
I discovered this wine by way of Restaurant Nicholas, a local restaurant. Nicholas Haray, the restaurant’s owner, has a knack for finding some lesser known gems in the wine world. The wines I’ve gotten from him tend to be hit or miss. I’ve had some outstanding wines and then I’ve had some less than spectacular wines, but no recommendation has ever been a bad bottle.
I was unsure what to expect from this bottle from Italy.
Castello di Ama is based in the town of Ama in the province of Siena in the Tuscany region of Italy. In addition to red, white, and rose wines, they also produce olive oil.
The 2011 Castello di Ama Rosato was 93% Sangiovese and 7% Merlot. The wine was produced by means of the saingee method. It was aged in stainless steel tanks for 4 months. Its ABV was 13.5%. The wine was bottled in February of 2012 and had an IGT classification.
Although I was very pleased with the Caves de Donnas Larmes du Paradis, the kind people at Basil T’s, a local restaurant, insisted I try the 2011 Castello di Ama Rosato.
I was very glad they made the recommendation.
The town of Montepulciano in the Tuscany region of Italy is home to the Avignonesi winery. In addition to six red wines, a Chardonnay, and a Sauvignon Blanc, the winery produces dessert wines, grappa, and olive oil.
The 2008 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was a red blend comprised of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo Nero, and 5% Mammolo. The wine was aged in oak casks (50% Slovanian / 50% French) for 18 months, and spent an additional 6 months aging in the bottle prior to release. The wine carried an ABV of 14% and a DOCG classification.
In May 2012, I wrote up the Casanova di Neri wine tasting dinner at Undici. In his comments on my post, The Winegetter, a fellow wine blogger, asked for my thoughts on Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, recommending both Poliziano and Avignonesi. As I had not previously tasted either, I diligently set out to procure at least one of the two.
I happened upon the Avignonesi. I was glad I did.
Kris Pinot Grigio is produced by the Franz Haas Winery in the Alto Adige section of northeast Italy. In addition to the Pinot Grigio, the winery produces a Pinot Noir and a red blend (Merlot, Montepulciano, and Cabernet Sauvignon).
The 2010 Kris Pinot Grigio was 100% Pinot Grigio. The wine was aged in stainless steel tanks for 3 to 6 months, and for an additional 3 to 4 months in the bottle prior to release. The labeled ABV was 12.5%. The wine carried a designation of IGT.
I have a few recipes that call for white wine. They usually use only 1 cup or less, so there is always something left over for the cook (me!) to sip. I was looking for a Pinot Grigio other than the large, commercial, overpriced brands *cough*SantaMargherita*cough*. The kind people at Wine Sellers recommended I try Kris Pinot Grigio.
I purchased a bottle and headed home. Several days later, I was preparing Swordfish Livornese, which just happened to require a cup of white wine (what a coincidence!).