Tuscany is perhaps the heartland of Italian wine, while there may be higher profile wines made in Piedmont and Veneto’s Amarone is certainly sexy, when we think of Italy, we think of Tuscany. Tuscan wine is as ancient as the region’s history but typically it is Chianti we think of, or the more prestigious Chianti Classico, and the legendary Brunello di Montalcino, all crafted from 100% Sangiovese, the grape that is synonymous with this region.
In the 1970s Bordeaux varietals started being planted in Tuscany, and the stringent DOC regulations that insisted upon Sangiovese gave way to a willingness to experiment, perhaps boosted by the success that grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon were having in America. The term Super Tuscan was coined and perhaps a new way of thinking about wine in this ancient wine region.
The Maremma Toscana DOC was created in 2011 as a way to provide flexibility and perhaps from a branding point of view, a step above the IGP wines for the region beyond Sangiovese designations. This 100% Cabernet is also 100% organic and 100% delicious. With classic red fruit aromatics that Cabernet is known for, as well as a touch of baking spice.
The Pomino Bianco DOC is perhaps the foremost in Tuscany for white wines. Previously one of the signature whites of Tuscany had long been Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a crisp, mildly bitter wine that dates to the 13th century. The wines of Pomino Bianco DOC are most notably white wines produced from Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco, or Pinot Blanc, as well as vin santo, a sweet late harvest style wine.
The Frescobaldi Pomino Bianco is a regional flagship and offers up effusive aromatics of honey, white flower and sweet ripe stone fruits The palate is rounded, ripe and tropical in nature, with streaks of key lime and hints of honey. It’s a worthy white wine for a region like Tuscany that’s known for excellence in quality to price ratios.
2015 Lucente, Tuscany, Italy $25
The Lucente is the little brother, or sister if you like, to the legendary super-Tuscan Luce, from Frescobaldi. The Luce, often retailing for a benjamin ($100) is a stellar wine, but truth be told, this much more affordable bottling comes from many of the same vineyards, and for $25 is a ridiculous bargain.
The Lucente is a similar blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, and man it’s delicious. Aromatics are a mix of savory herb, bright raspberry and mocha. The palate is elegant and refined. Blue fruits, tobacco, exquisite tannin and a finish that lasts long after that Tuscan sun has set.