VOLUME 12
Featured in this issue

Version 3.0 of The Personal Wine Curator is on the way!

We're hard at work on v3.0 of PWC and it will be released this fall. You'll see lots and lots of improvements and new features. Many of the new features are a direct result of user suggestions. Almost everyone who has written to us will see something they have suggested! The tip of the iceberg will be new reports: almost 50 in all, with options for detailed or summary reports. And here's something else that's super cool: customized cellar lists. Many of our users have asked for the ability to determine which fields appear on your cellar list, and which don't, and in any order you want. Well, we're listening, and that's exactly what you'll able to do in v3.0! Stay tuned for news on other features. And keep the suggestions coming -- they make PWC the best wine inventory software available!

Super (Imposed) Tuscans: IGT and the quest for identity

The term “Super-Tuscan” is attributable to either Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, or the English journalist Bruce Palling, depending on the weather or the time of day or some other such capricious thing. Certainly it is not a term invented by the winemakers in Tuscany or the governmental agency that oversees the naming of appellations, but rather a name that was invented by an outsider. A Super-Tuscan is, of course, any red wine made in Tuscany which does not fit into the traditional recipes (or laws) for winemaking in the region, either by using Sangiovese exclusively, or by using French grapes in the blend or by themselves.

While Cabernet Sauvignon was planted locally for at least a hundred years prior, the trend for making these wines commercially available famously started at Tenuta San Guido in Bolgheri with the international superstar Sassicaia, made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes, the cuttings of which were brought back from Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. The Antinori family soon followed suit with the Sangiovese-Cab blend Tignanello and the rest is histoire.

Because the quality of these new fangled wines was so good, attempts were made to create a legal labeling system that would embrace the unorthodox wines, and the designation of IGT (an Indication of a Geographically Typical wine) was eventually invented. But what exactly is geographically typical about Cabernet and Merlot, two grape varieties that have flourished so brilliantly in Bordeaux for centuries? Or Syrah, which reaches such noble heights in Hermitage? It’s a bit like saying that a palm tree indicates the geographical typicality of New York City. And if a 100% Sangiovese wine is designated Toscana IGT, how is it geographically typical in the same way that a 100% Merlot Toscana IGT is geographically typical?

As for 100% Sangiovese wines, that grape was traditionally thought to need other local varieties to tame its wild nature and so by law, official appellations such as Chianti Classico required blending it with other local varieties until very recently. Other grapes used in the blend of a Super-Tuscan are Merlot and Syrah, which in addition to Cabernet are now permissible in certain official designated appellations. Now that the Italian government has modified the blending laws, it remains to be seen whether the best producers of Super-Tuscans will embrace the new laws and let their products be associated with the legal appellations. After all, if a company has spent years developing a proprietary brand name that sticks, like Tignanello, why would they choose to rename it something geographically typical? One such name might be “Situated Between the Greve and Pesa Valleys in the Heart of Chianti Classico exactly Between the Little Villages of Monteridolfi and Santa Maria a Macerata.” It’s not pithy, but it is precise. On second thought, we’ll just have the house Cab, please.

The Blend’s Monthly Featured Producer: CASTELLO DI BOSSI

The name Bossi is derived from the rare and prized boxwood that was used by ancient Romans to make money chests for their armies and is an apt metaphor for terrific wines of this quality estate in the southernmost appellation of Chianti Classico, Castelnuovo Berardenga. Owned and run by the Bacci family, whose two other wine estates include Renieri and Terre di Talamo, Castello di Bossi employs forward thinking and modern technology in their wine production, while maintaining a strong link to the illustrious past of the estate and the region. Proprietors Marco and Maurizio Bacci turn out consistently good wines that really do speak of the place from which they come and also have that clean, fresh, and balanced characteristic of the best modern producers. As an example of their commitment to excellence, they refused to release any wines under their estate label for the disappointing 2002 vintage. Bossi makes solid wines from Bordeaux varietals as well as terrific Chianti Classicos, and with the new estates is expanding into Morellino and Brunello, even Vermentino, all of which get glowing remarks from the press.

Recommended Wines:

wine labelThe Bacci family makes two superb wines from Bordeaux grapes (the other being the all-merlot Girolamo). Corbaia is a modern classic blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon that offers superb finesse and elegance. Fermented in wooden barrels and matured in oak for two years, it is then aged for one year in the bottle before being released. Retaining a Tuscan character, the wine is described as having jammy aromas of black currant, cherry, and cassis backed by hints of tobacco, chocolate and coffee. On the palate, it is supple, elegant and complex with rich texture and chewy tannins – savory, round and full. The finish is astonishingly lengthy as well. We sampled the wine recently at a trade tasting when suddenly, noticing the time, had to run outside to feed the meter. Upon returning, the taste was still hanging on – would that the time on the meter had lasted as long!

Pairs well with wild boar (cinghale), game meats, bistecca alla fiorentina, Parmigiano-reggiano and Pecorino. About $60 USD. (Importer: Winebow)

Catalog this wine in The Personal Wine Curator cellar software like this:

  • Producer: Castello di Bossi
  • Wine Name/Appellation: Corbaia
  • Vintage: 2003
  • Varietal: Tuscan Blend
  • Type: Red
  • Vineyard/Sub-sub:
  • Sub-region:
  • Region: Toscana
  • Country: Italy
  • Body: Full
  • Distinction: Super-Tuscan
  • Drink after: 2007
  • Drink by: 2023

PWC Tips and Tricks

Varieties aren't always varietals. Use the Varietal field consistently and correctly. CLICK HERE.

Did you know: you don’t need a cork to keep that open bottle of champagne bubbly?

In volume 4 of The Blend, we touched on the subject of when to throw away leftover wine. The shelf life is pretty much the same for all opened dry wines (2-3 days at most), yet sparkling wine has an added element to keep fresh: those festive bubbles. So, what’s to be done? Soda drinkers have been known to stick a metal spoon in the opening of the can before returning said can to the refrigerator, convinced that some special alchemy will take place when the lights are turned off. Not very practical in a 750 ml bottle with one and half glasses left at the bottom, even if it did work to preserve the bubbles. Vacuum seals and other toppers are often employed, but have difficulty staying on the cumbersome lip of a hefty Champagne bottle’s neck, though to be fair, certain gadgets are marketed specifically for these bottles. But what if the solution were much simpler than any of that? Well, if you have the courage to try such a thing, there’s really no better way to keep a bottle of sparkling wine sparkling overnight than simply putting the open bottle in your fridge. Assuming your sparkling wine is made in the traditional method (Méthode Champenoise), that baby has about 6 atmospheres of pressure in it and no mere cork is going to bolster its star power (that old monk Dom Perignon mythically said upon “discovering” the technique of a second fermentation in the bottle, “come quickly, I am drinking the stars!”). Lesser sparklers made from injection (à la soda-pop) will have a harder time keeping up, but then their bubbles peter out in many cases almost as soon as they are poured. After a night of drinking, fidgeting with gadgets can be tricky, so why bother? Stash your leftover Tête de Cuvée in the ol’ ice box and chances are your wine will be more effervescent for Sunday brunch than you will be from drinking it the night before.

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