As most of our long time customers know I’m known around here as “The Italian Guy” So for this first edition of the Iron Bridge wine picks I thought it only fitting to pick some of my favorite Italian wines.
The ancient Greeks called Italy “enotria” or the “Land of Trained Vines” And nowhere in Italy says wine quite like Tuscany. With winemaking firmly rooted in tradition and “classical winemaking techniques” well into the 20th century, I’ve decided to pick some wines that showcase both the classic methods and the new breed of winemaking that has emerged over the last fifty years.
- Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia, 2003 Tuscany $195.00
85% Cabernet Sauvignon 15% Cabernet Franc
I have had the great pleasure of tasting 100’s if not 1000’s of wines in my three plus years working at The Bridge, and the 2003 Sassicaia is among the finest I’ve hade. The Original Super Tuscan, along with Antinori’s Tignanello, began a renaissance in Italian winemaking that continues to this day. Neither wanting to be constrained by the D.O,C.’s limiting rules They went out on a limb and marketed their wines as Vino da Tavola, a move considered crazy at the time. Since that time they have become synonymous with greatness in Italian wine. And in the late 90’s Sassicaia was embraced by the very system it bucked years earlier being granted it’s own D.O.C. the only single estate in Italy to enjoy this honor. With currants and blackberry this is a wine to be enjoyed with food. An elegant example of Cabernet, it reminds me of a great Bordeaux. If you are looking for big monster cab I would suggest you look elsewhere, but if you are looking for a simply sublime wine capable of ageing for 2 decades or more this is the wine for you!
- Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino 2000 $65.00
100% Brunello Clone Sangiovese
Brunello di Montalcino has quickly become one of Italy’s most renowned and longest lived wines. Until the 1960’s very few outside of Tuscany even knew of it’s existence, due to the fact that until 1947 there was only 1 producer and still fewer than 25 in 1970. Since then this number has grown to around 200 today. With production for all producers totaling around 300,000 cases annually it’s no wonder prices can quickly reach $150 a bottle or more. The Silvio Nardi is a relative bargain for what’s in the bottle! With beautiful black cherry fruit mixed with violets and spice box and a finish that lingers on the pallet but doesn’t overpower. Done in true “Old World” fashion, it is aged for two and half years in large Slovinian Oak barrels, and an additional one and a half years in bottle prior to release. This imparts to the wine a rather rustic character, which makes it ideal for a hearty “meat and potatoes” dinner. Ready to drink now or to cellar for another 10 years or more!
- Fattoria Lavacchio “Cortigiano” 2001 Tuscany $30.00
Located in the Tuscan hill town of Montefiesole, just outside of Florence, Fattoria Lavacchio is a boutique producer of fine wine and olive oil. Situated in the Chianti Ruffina sub-zone, an area long known for producing some of the finest and longest lived Chianti. Cortigiano is a blend of organically farmed Merlot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. A fabulous effort with beautiful plum and blackberries intermingled with a healthy dose of leather spice. Part of the new wave in Italian winemaking the Cortigiano is aged for 18 months in small French oak barrels and then another 12 months in bottle before it’s released. If this wine has one drawback it is it’s limited production of only 850 cases! So grab some while it lasts! Ready to drink now and over the next 2-3 years!