Lots of Style Variety Under the Tuscan Sun
Tuscany is anything but monolithic in its style and tastes, and these 10 wines show it: There’s the Chianti sensitivities of Ruffino applied to an IGT or “super Tuscan;” the French-style Monteverro blends from the Maremma region; classic, fruity, yet somewhat-brooding Brunellos from Piccini; and affordable, mostly traditional Chiantis; one from organic grapes; and from Badia, a Coltibouono. We’ve even thrown in a white wine for variety.
2011 Ruffino “Modus” Toscana rosso IGT ($25) — An enjoyable and typical mix of Chianti and Bordeaux styles with merlot and cabernet sauvignon to give fruitiness and sangiovese to provide acidity and raspy tannins. Dark fruits, some chocolate, some coffee.
2010 Monteverro Toscana chardonnay ($100) — More California than European in style, this is a big complex wine with eau-de-vie notes and flavors of roasted apples, some caramel, and lots of toasty wood.
2010 Terra di Monteverro Toscana rosso IGT ($60) — Bordeaux blend with a fair amount of red fruit and a little lingering sweetness at the end — cherries, some caramel, some chocolate, dusty tannins, a tad chunky.
2010 Monteverro “Tinata” Toscano rosso IGT ($100) — My Pick of the Litter: An excellent syrah/grenache blend with some light smokiness, ripe and smooth cherry flavors, a little dark chocolate and a good rasp in the finish. Smooth tannins, nice savory notes and pleasant minerality.
2010 Monteverro Toscano rosso IGT (140) — Made from all Bordeaux grapes, the wine has a soft, almost powdery fruitiness — mainly cherries — but with good pecan-shell tannins at the edges and fair acidity in the finish. Toss in some chocolate shavings at the end.
2012 Coltibuono “Cetamura” Chianti ($10) — Very nice rounded cherry and red raspberry fruit with a little chocolate, good acidity and balance, and typical sangiovese raspiness in the finish. Excellent value.
2011 Coltibuono “RS” Chianti Classico ($15) — More lush fruit than most chiantis, with lots of cherries and cranberries packed in, but well-structured with a dusty, lean finish.
2010 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico ($20) — Made from organic grapes, it is fragrant and powdery in its tastes with juicy cherries and a fair finish — but a little sappy in the end. I tried this over several hours, and it seems to have some problems in knitting together.
2009 Piccini “Villa al Cortile” Brunello di Montalcino ($60) — Big and almost juicy with layers of complexity — rich fruitiness, barrel notes, raspy finish, firm tannins. Long on the palate.
2008 Piccini “Villa al Cortile” Brunello di Montalcino riserva ($80) — Very, very good, smooth and mellow, with dark cherry flavors, some balsamic and gamy notes, and a raspy sangiovese finish.
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