The Dozen Vol. 25 No. 08 Wine

The Dozen: The Quiet Tuscans

For centuries, Carmignano has produced fine red wine without a lot of notice.

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Tuscany is a sprawling landscape of hills, plains, and seasides that defy any easy blanket description, even with the wines it produces. As with most of Italy, it is mainly known for its reds, and, among the reds, Sangiovese reigns.

That said, each of the DOCs and sub-regions has its own regulations and traditions, which single out their wines as different. That is the case with Carmignano, a small but historic appellation away from the Chianti region on the northwestern side of Florence, a quiet but important area that needs more attention.  Although still using Sangiovese, it was the first in the area to permit Cabernet Sauvignon to be planted.

One of the most prominent estates in the region is Capezzana, the brand of the Contini Bonacossi family that has made wine there for five generations. Today’s Dozen features four Capezzana wines and an interesting Bolgheri wine made by the Gaja family from Piemonte, along with wines from Portugal and Washington state.

Find a good book, pour a glass, and take a seat on the patio.

2020 Esporão “Bico Amarelo” Vinho Verde ($11). Moderately tart with notes of baking spices and with a good stone-fruit finish.

2017 Esporão Quinta dos Murcas “Assobio” Douro Branco ($14). Lightly spicy cherry flavors (yes) with good wood notes and an almost lean texture.

2020 Ameal Vinho Verde Loueiro ($17).  I love this wine – lovely floral and tart green flavors of kiwi and fresh herbs with a little juiciness in the finish.

2019 Gehricke Russian River Chardonnay ($26). Good mellow apple flavors with some toastiness in the finish.

2018 Capezzana “Barco Reale” di Carmignano ($18). Very traditional and nice for the price – mouth-filling flavors of dark fruit with lots of tannins and barrel notes.

2018 Esporão Quinta dos Murças “Minas” Douro Red ($18). A traditional style – lively red berry aromas and flavors tamed by old-wood tones.

2016 Capezzano “Villa di Capezzana” Carmignano ($30). A lot like a Left Bank Bordeaux – lean with fruity cherry flavors and dusty tannins.

2018 Echolands “Les Collines” Walla Walla Syrah ($38). Like a few in the restaurant trade, Kansas City Master Sommelier and Master of Wines Doug Frost has become a winery owner, in his case in eastern Washington. Very nice intensity of fruits – currants, blackberries – with a nice, tangy earthiness and fine, walnutty tannins. It will age very well.

2013 Capezzana “Ehiaie della Furba” Toscana ($51). Lots of integrated barrel notes with tart berry flavors and smooth tannins.

2018 Gaja Ca’Marcanda “Promis: Toscana ($51). From the master of Barbaresco’s winery in Bolgheri winery – light in body but rich in flavors of blackberries and cranberries with a delicious and penetrating finish.

2018 Echolands “Seven Hills” Walla Walla Red Wine ($51). Silky, with savory blackberry flavors, a touch of spice, and with good acidity and tannins.

2015 Capezzana “Villa di Trefiano” Caramignano Riserva ($59). A very nice combo of rich black raspberry flavors and savory tannins.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

Feature photo credit: Capezzana

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