There is probably no wine region in Europe that has the diversity of Tuscany. It is almost as if producers there took a page out of the California Playbook. Its wines are made with native grapes as well as those more familiar to France. While it is famous for its three Sangiovese-based classics – Chianti, Brunello and Vino Noble di Montepulciano – it is equally known for its IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) Super Tuscans. These are quality wines that don’t meet the regulations for DOC or DOCG.
This edition of The Dozen tries a small sampling of that diversity from one producer – San Felice – whose provenance raises another interesting point. Some wine lovers still hold the quaint view that the best wines are made only by small family producers. While we should do what we can to support these families, the truth is, good to great wines are made by wineries owned by big corporations. That is the case with San Felice, which is owned by a financial services firm, Allianz, a practice of ownership more prevalent in France where some of the best chateaux on both Left and Right Banks are bank-owned.
Following the San Felice wines, we have some very good and very interesting choices.
2020 San Felice “Perolla” Toscano Vermentino IGT ($15). Very refreshing – lots of green fruits, but with a somewhat creamy body.
2018 San Felice “Ancherona” Toscano IGT ($31). Mellow apple fruitiness with lots of soft oak notes, good richness in body, and crispness in the finish.
2020 San Felice Toscana Rosato IGT ($8). Tart fruitiness with a somewhat chalky texture and a crisp finish.
2019 San Felice Chianti Classico ($17). Tart berry flavors with a hint of dried herbs, warm wood tones, and dusty tannins.
2017 San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva ($26). Lots of pizzazz, with concentrated berry flavors and an almost floral lift in the middle. Only moderately tannic.
And here are additional members of The Dozen worth considering.
2020 Centorri di Pavia ($10). Spritzy, fresh, floral fruitiness, like vinous cotton candy – moderately sweet, crisp finish.
2020 Cala Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé ($22). Very refreshing with crisp, orange, citrusy fruitiness and some chalky minerality.
2019 Trivento Mendoza Malbec Reserve ($11). More raspberry than the usual blackberries – a touch earthy with a tart finish.
2019 Trivento “Maximum” Mendoza Red Blend ($11). Some cranberry notes along with the blackberries – crisp with earthy and green herbal notes in the finish.
2018 Cannonball California Cabernet Sauvignon ($14). Good blend of blackberries, earthy minerality, and light tannins.
2019 Frank Family Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($53). Lots of tart berry juiciness and a lingering note of sweetness to go along with the dusty tannins.
2018 Cliff Lede “Magic Nights Rock Block” Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon ($110). Very complex – long flavors of intertwined red and black fruits with a lot of dark chocolate earthiness and enjoyable 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.