Friday, January 28, 2011

A "Super" MiniTuscan.

Wine: Verrazzano Rosso, 2007 Minituscan (Sangiovese, with small quantities of Canaiolo and Merlot); Greve in Chianti, Italy

Paired with: Episode of Iron Chef America

Comments: I've long felt that the Italian concept of a thinking wine (as summed up in our first post) was created after tasting either a Barolo or a Super Tuscan. Super Tuscans are so much I like in a wine - big, complex, and the result of winemakers saying, "We're not doing it your way no more."

Quick history lesson. In the 1960s the Italian government set up DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) and, soon after, DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). Following the lead of the French, they wanted to keep regional specialties pure by setting up a certification system that ensured products are made in a certain place a certain way. Good for shoppers wanting a quick easy way to get the real stuff, not so good for the winemakers who could only make wine the way the government said they could. 

Enter the rebels, the guys who probably got bored making Chianti. Granted, there are some great Chiantis, but how boring is it always doing the same thing? These wine makers started playing around, throwing out the required grapes and using what they thought would work. Likely, this resulted in a lot of swill, but the end result for a few was some of the world's best wines, Super Tuscans. Big, bold, complex. The type of wine that you can get lost in.

Fast forward a few decades. Super Tuscans, like any successful rebel, are now entrenched in the establishment. Regulated, somewhat. And, as the careful skill and small batches warrant, expensive.

Now we have Verrazzano winery, supposedly once the winery of the same Verrazzano who discovered New York harbor and now has a bridge to Staten Island named after him. Not sure if that's an honor or not. The wine makers at Verrazzano decided that Super Tuscans had gotten a little stuffy, a little rigidly defined. So, they introduced the MiniTuscan. These wines are designed as an entry-level Super Tuscan. Not as bold or complex, but nonetheless interesting. And for the price, we were willing to experiment. 

And, honestly, this experiment is worth the price. It's not something you're going to crave, but it's still one of the better $11 bottles we've found at our local wine store.

Tasting Notes - no-food: Honestly, we'd have to say it smells like tannin, no fruit or flowers here, just dryness. The taste wasn't bad, a little dry and tart but with a pleasant currant finish

Color: deep plum fading to pink on the edges

Price: $11

Verdict: Tuesday, though to be fair, this could probably be a Friday with the right pairing.