WINE REVIEW: Two Interesting Tuscan Sangiovese Wines
by Andrew Chalk
2016 Basile, ‘Cartacanta’, Montecucco Sangiovese, DOCG, Tuscany, Italy ($18)2015 Peteglia Montecucco Sangiovese Riserva, DOCG, Tuscany, Italy ($40)
The Montecucco DOCG is located in southern Tuscany between the famous wine producing towns of Montalcino (Brunello di Montalcino) and Scansano (Morellino di Scansano). It is relatively unknown, perhaps partly due to only being designated a DOCG in 2011 and partly to having fewer than 500 planted acres (2017 figures). Wines with this designation must be made with at least 90% sangiovese, the premier red grape of Tuscany. The DOCG’s obscurity redounds to the consumer’s advantage in that prices tend to be lower than more established areas.
2016 Basile, ‘Cartacanta’, Montecucco Sangiovese, DOCG, Tuscany, Italy ($18)
Basile is an interesting producer in being dedicated to ‘zero environmental impact’. In pursuit of that aim all grapes are farmed organically (CCPB certified) and power is supplied by a solar bank. Production is a miniscule 4,200 cases with all members of the Basile family playing a part.
This wine is comprised of 90% sangiovese and 10% merlot. It is fermented in stainless steel and then aged for 12 months in a mixture of new and used French oak from the Central Massif (Allier and Tronçais) in Bordeaux barriques (225L) and tonneau (900L) barrels. It was then aged in bottle for a minimum of 5 months. It is not filtered, so may contain tiny particles of grape matter. This is a feature, not a flaw, and consumers, seeking a departure from homogenized wine, are increasingly willing to accept it.
Appearance: Translucent core, fading to transparent rim. Bright maroon color;
Nose: Herbal, basil and thyme. Strawberry, raspberry;
Palate: Medium plus acid, medium tannin. Medium body. Tannin texture grippy. Red fruit flavors (above) predominate. Long, earthy finish;
A pleasant wine that is ready to drink. Best with pasta, veal, pork chop dishes. Fair value.
2015 Peteglia Montecucco Sangiovese Riserva, DOCG, Tuscany, Italy ($40)
Peteglia has a one page web site (with a promise that the rest is coming) so there is less readily available information. However, from the label the ‘riserva’ designation tells us that the minimum alcohol must be ½ % higher at 13.5% and the ageing must be at least 34 months with a minimum of 24 months in oak and 6 months in bottle. In principle, the riserva Montecucco wines should age better, longer.
Appearance: Virtually opaque core leading to pale rim. Murky, ruby color;
Nose: Intense black cherry, tomato leaf. Woody notes. More ebulent nose than the previous wine;
Palate: Medium plus acid, medium plus tannins with a grippy character. medium body, intense cherry flavors, well-integrated oak.
This wine displays a breed befitting its riserva status. It may also be its extra year of age. However, it will keep and improve for several years as the tannin recedes. If drinking now quaff it at a sipping pace or pair with fatty meat dishes.
Both of these wines are fairly priced and posit the taster a choice - value or breed. They both have their place.