Our Cork Poppers group recently went Italian, sampling wines of Tuscany. After sampling the six wines our guide Dick brought, Cayton summed it up when he said, "This was the best! There wasn't a bad one in the bunch!"
We started the tasting with a Tenuta Caparzo Rosso Toscana IGT 2009.This blend of Sangiovese, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Colorino grapes was a full flavored hit, ruby red and smelling divine!
A little lesson, courtesy of Dick. Italian wines have several designations, which are based on certain expectations and growing requirements -- DOC and DOCG. You'll note that this wine is an IGT. These are also called Super Tuscan wines and as Dick said, some are indeed "Super!" This classification came out because some winemakers wanted to experiment with grape varieties and blends not allowed by the DOG regulations. They tend to have significant Sangiovese grape compnent with other grapes not traditionally associated with Italy (like Merlot or the Cabernet Sauvignon).
This wine (2009 vintage) is best consumed between 2011 and 2013, so if you take my advice and pick up a bottle or two (or as Clayton said, "This is worthy of a case!") don't save it too long. And really, why would you want to at a great $10 price -- an amazing bargain.
Next, Caparzo Rosso di Montalcino 2009. This was ruby red and very fragrant.
Rick said this was a little more aggressive than the first and a bit more peppery and spicy. He preferred this one but at $22.50, we're more likely to consider the Tenuta our go-to Italian.
The third wine was Villa Dante Toscana IGT 2004, and again a Sangiovese/Merlot combo. It should be allowed to breathe before serving.
This is another Super Tuscan and a reasonable $12.50. We nearly had a marital spat here when Roger said, "You must have a more discerning palate than I do," and wife Meredith replied with "Rog, you killed your taste buds a long time ago." (All was well in the end!)
Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico 2008 DOCG was next. "Classico" indicates it is from a limited area in the Chianti region. Rick loved this one and it has an aging potential of 5-6 years. That said, it was pricy at $18.
The Borgo Scopeta Chianti Classico 207 DOCG was $16. Rick declared it was "my new favorite" and we determined that Rick was the "new Barb" (Barb loves everything!)
Our last wine was a Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 DOCG. I declared "This is wonderful!" while Mike said, "I'd throw away my money on this." Wonderful, yes, but I'd think twice about $20 for a wine, although the label was gorgeous!
We kept our stomachs full with Pat's delicious cheese platter during this tasting including an amazing buttermilk blue that was again a hit.
After the tasting, Roger took us on a boat cruise along the Grand River.
It was a gorgeous day -- we've had a mighty hot summer, like so many have. But this Sunday was the perfect temperature, the sky blue, and the company wonderful!
We returned to a terrific dinner. Meredith had a fabulous pasta, keeping with our Italian theme, and even the table was set for the occasion.
I particularly loved her centerpiece.
Her party favors were gag gifts -- literally (very old and very bad wines that she said we should dump and not even consider drinking, along with lovely hand-knit dish cloths).
Rick and I brought a salad using our basil, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. We called it Caprese Panzanella. And we wrapped up dinner with a birthday celebration -- Rick, Dick and I all had summer birthdays and Barb made a completely decadent and delicious cake!
Another great tasting! I really do recommend all of these wines. Try one! And let me know if you like it!