One of the great things about finally getting out, was going to my wine shop, it had been about two months since I had set foot into The Fine Wine Source. Rest assured, I did not have to reintroduce myself to everyone there. While my Bride went to a birthday party for a one-year-old, I decided to go and get the monthly club wines. Once a month, they charge our credit card at a special rate for two bottles of wine that they are featuring and feel is a great value. I also have to mention that they do not carry any popular brands of wine that one can find at supermarkets, convenience stores or gas stations.
The second wine that was selected for the month of January was Podere Ciona Semifonte 2017 and I have tried many of the wines made by this winery. I was reading the history of the winery on their website “Franca and Franco Gatteschi were looking for a place in the countryside to retire to, after many years of working in Italy and abroad, when they came across a small, beautiful, albeit run down property: 100 acres of land, mostly wooded with 10 acres set aside for cultivation, of which 2.5 acres already had vineyards; a house from the 18th Century, abandoned for more than 40 years; and, above all, a view without equal on the Chianti hills, with Siena in the distance.” It really sounds idyllic and makes one ponder how this property was neglected and ignored for years. “They purchased the estate at the beginning of 1990 and they immediately started the reconstruction work on the main house (it took nearly three years). They also set up a small but well- equipped wine cellar for making wine. In 1996 they permanently moved to live on the estate and the following year, the great 1997 vintage, saw the birth of the first “official” wine of Podere Ciona: A Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva.”
The Podere Ciona Semifonte Gaiole in Chianti IGT 2017 and is termed a Tuscan Rosso wine. Toscana IGT is the most famous of the IGT designations and it actually has three sub-regions already, and there are ten provinces that are allowed this designation. Tuscany is the home of Italy’s most famous IGT category, but it was where this category forced the hands of wine classification for a new designation, because some of the wine makers felt constrained by the current rules, and originally had to use the lowly Vino de Tavola or Table Wine designation for their new wines. Finally, in 1984, Sassicaia was granted its very own title of DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia and the floodgates were opened. IGT is Italy’s version of the Common Market’s designation of IGP. This particular wine is eighty-five percent Merlot and fifteen percent Alicante Bouschet, the same varietal that they add to their Chianti Classico. This is a high-altitude Merlot planted on a mix of quartz and clay of vines that average about fifteen years of age. The wine has been aged for twelve months in French Oak and then cellared for eight months in the bottle, before being released. There were about five-hundred cases produced and according to The Fine Wine Source they have the lion’s share of the production. The wine is described as being a bright purple-red with aromas of plums, herbs offering layers of flavors with spices in the finish. Since, I always mention how much I enjoy Merlot, I guess this will be a no-brainer for me.