Imagine having two different wines from Tuscany, both pure Sangiovese and totally different from each other. That happened when I picked up these two wines from my local wine shop The Fine Wine Source, and it can get fun when I wander in there, especially these days, when shopping local. Tuscany may be the most romantic of all the wine regions of Italy, even made famous by the cinema and famed for some forty odd sub-regions of wine making. The three most famed sub-regions of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile de Montepulciano and all use the Sangiovese grape, though it has many local names for the same grape, in fact forty-one percent of Tuscany uses Sangiovese, even with the invasion of the French varietals that have been making inroads in Tuscany and Italy. The dark berries of Sangiovese are known to be prized for its high acidity, firm tannins and generally well balanced, in fact it probably is the most grown varietal in all of Italy.
The Bibi Graetz Casamatta Rosso 2015 was a new wine for me. Bibi Graetz was an artist first and finally fell in love with his family’s vineyard that originally only produced wine for the family and in the mid 1990’s he began making changes and with his family estate and another twenty small organically farmed plots, he now manages seventy-five-acres to produce his wines. Casamatta is considered his house wine, and like some of his other wines, it has a unique name as it means “Crazy House.” 2015 was a great vintage year across Italy and it was excellent in Tuscany. Casamatta uses the youngest fruit grown from his estates around Florence and Sienna. The fermentation is less than a week in Stainless Steel and then all the juice was the different plots are then blended together and aged for six months in Stainless Steel to maintain the freshness of the fruit. It was a very fun wine with cherries and raspberries and some notes of chocolate to me. It was a very different glass of Sangiovese and better with lighter dishes instead of big heavy Italian dishes, actually great to start the dinner off, in my book and would get the taste buds requesting more.
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015 is the perfect way to finish a big Italian dinner with the big plates of food. The original Palazzo goes back to the 15th Century, and run by the Tuscan family Tircerchi. The Gnudi Angelini family has owned the estate since 2002. Societa Agricola Altesino is one of the leading estates in Montalcino and was the first to introduce a “cru” single vineyard wine in its Montosoli label. Brunello di Montalcino was the first region to get the DOCG designation. They have over a hundred acres planted with vineyards on the estate and the majority is Sangiovese. The basic Brunello di Montalcino is aged for four years, with a minimum of two years in large Slavonian Oak casks. The wine is a beautiful garnet color and an enticing nose of cherries, red fruit, and lavender. A big chewy wine, is the best way for me to describe it, and it will hold its own for a good twenty years. A really solid wine, but over the years, I have learned to expect the best from Altesino.