This past Wednesday, I was afforded the opportunity to taste a selection of wines from Querciabella, a fine Tuscan estate, with Giorgio Fragiacomo who manages their international sales. Giorgio explained the wines are made utilizing biodynamic viticultural methods and a common sense approach to natural winemaking; which from what I could gather is the use of natural yeasts but with a willingness to step in and help guide the wine when and if necessary.
A 2004 Camartina Super Tuscan blend was the highlight of the tasting showing dark cassis, tobacco, liquorice and an incredibly succulent palate although the humorously labelled Batàr was also a revelation as it showed the potential for Tuscany to carve a niche for Super Tuscan white wines. Although, not currently available there was rumour of a potential older vintage offering from the estate. Let's hope so.
Is there any wonder that Italian wine sales are so healthy these days? When you can find such value throughout the country and at all price points, I often find it hard to leave the Italian section of any wine store.
Talamonti Tre Saggi (NSLC, $16.99)
This Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is a fairly crowd pleasing medium to full-bodied red wine with notes of cloves, vanilla extract and flavours of black liquorice complimented by a soft, easy to drink finish, albeit a touch on the warm-side.
Suggested Serving: Pasta with tomato sauce and Italian sausage
Querciabella Mongrana (Bishop's Cellar, $28.52)
Although the estate is located near Greve in Chianti in Tuscany's Chianti Classico region, they produce this wine using grapes (Cabernet, Merlot, Sangiovese) from the warmer climate of the Maremma, found along the Tuscan coast. The 2009 vintage of this wine has gained critical acclaimed from the likes of James Suckling who described its aromas as "blueberry and light jam" but I thought there was also a savoury edge that was quite intriguing. An impeccably balanced wine which really shines on the dinner table. These wines really benefit from a bit of aeration, which in my mind often means just letting it sit in a big glass for ten to fifteen minutes.
Serving Suggestion: Grilled Lamb Skewer with Rosemar, Zucchini and Tomato
Mark DeWolf is the Food & Drinks Editor of Occasions Magazine, a sommelier instructor and owner of By the Glass.