While to many wine enthusiasts Tuscany is synonymous with Chianti, the cultivation of classic Bordeaux varieties across Tuscany has resulted in a range of highly-acclaimed, now iconic wines. Circumventing the restrictions of the original Chianti DOC requirements, the so-called Super-Tuscans use Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to add structure and depth to the local Sangiovese, while some examples are made with 100% Merlot. The resultant variety in blending reflects the fluid approach to and interpretations of terroir in this region. Last week saw the release of three new reds from 2016 (a hot and very successful vintage for the Super-Tuscans) that together encapsulate both the diversity and precision of these wines.
Tenuta Sette Ponti: 2016 Orma
Named after the seven bridges that cross the river Arno between Florence and Arezzo, Tenuta Sette Ponti has been in the hands of the Moretti Cuseri family since the 1950s. Orma, meaning 'trace' or 'footprint' in Italian, is their most recent acquisition and represents Antonio Moretti Cuseri's mark on a different area, Bolgheri. Here, the Tuscan tradition of blending Bordeaux varieties is long established and Orma benefits from deep, pebble and clay soils and a southwest perspective which allows for maximum ripening, giving power and body to the wine. The location also benefits from the fresh, cooling effect of the nearby Mediterranean which offers protection from the harsher, inland weather conditions. The result is an exuberant and characterful wine which also demonstrates great finesse.
Castello di Fonterutoli: 2016 Siepi
Overlooking Siena, the Siepi vineyard has been in the Marchesi Mazzei's ownership since the mid-15th century. It is planted with a mix of Sangiovese and Merlot, and the vines benefit from a very specific micro-climate with significant temperature differences between day and night, as well as clay-rich, limestone and calciferous sandstone soils. 2016 Siepi comprises Sangiovese and Merlot in equal volumes, with the terroir adding a complex mineral quality to the plush, full flavours of plum and berries.
Petrolo: 2016 Galatrona
The Galatrona vineyard at the Petrolo Estate made the shift to Merlot in 1990 when it began to produce what is now their signature wine. The estate is in the Colli Aretini, the wooded, hilly area of south-eastern Chianti where there's little in the way of agriculture beyond olive groves and vineyards. It's an historical place, and the estate has Roman roots. At Petrolo, Luca Sanjust thinks of his wines and winemaking as looking towards the past and the area's heritage, while being pulled into the future by modern practices and developments. While Luca believes Petrolo has phenomenal terroir, he also admits that great wines are only achieved through painstaking care in the vineyards, throughout the year. It's a philosophy he carefully applies, together with careful selection at harvest and a lighter touch in the cellar. /RRS
Offered subject to remaining unsold; for shipment late spring 2019