Italian wines continue to rise in popularity and there is nothing more popular than the new wave of Super Tuscans which blend sangiovese, the traditional Chianti grape, and Bordeaux varietals, such as Merlot to create a sum certainly greater than the parts. Most recently one of our discovery wines, Brunito Rosso 2019 is what we would call a ‘mini’ Super Tuscan, hailing from vineyards lying between Siena and Montalcino and made by the da Vinci Co-Operative of winemakers. Dark red in colour with plum, mint and green tea aromas. This is a full-bodied red, packed with cherries and raspberries, a perfumed note of spice and a long finish. Irresistibly impertinent. And at a very accessible price in the context of its more famous brothers and sisters. Good with game, beef and pork.
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Sangiovese dominates red wine making in central Italy. Its name is said to derive from ‘sanguis Jovus’, or the ‘blood of Jove’. Giacomo Tachis once said that the story of Tuscan wine is the story of Sangiovese and the way in which it has adapted to different soils and climates. This story has become all the more compelling in the past two decades as the higher yielding clones of the post war years, planted in lesser sites (as volume was prized over quality in the 1950s, a time when there was a shortage of wine) have given way to lower vigour clones with smaller berries and looser bunches. The last two decades have seen it emerge as one of the greatest grapes of the peninsula, especially as top producers like Isole e Olena, Fontodi, Costanti and others have used a massal rather than a clonal selection to re-plant their vineyards. This gives them clones that perform well in their own soil and climate, an important consideration with an unstable and temperamental variety like Sangiovese. It is far more sensitive to site, and far less clonally stable, than other temperamental varieties like Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. Better clones, better vineyard management, lower yields and a more discerning eye to quality have all resulted in a proliferation of high quality wines emerging from Chianti. The rest of the world has noticed, and promising plantings, with the newer clones, can now also be found in California and Australia‘s Heathcote region.