I had a couple more Italian wines while I was at my local wine shop The Fine Wine Source. Both of the wines were based on the Sangiovese grape, the workhorse of Chianti and Tuscany. It is always fun to taste similar wines next to each other, even when they carry different designations, but the rules of some regions are quite strict, to maintain the image and quality of the land.
Piaggia Vannucci Pietranera Toscana IGT 2020 is a very interesting wine with probably the most famous entry level designation, which when the DOC laws were codified, many of the winemakers felt that the rules were too stringent and they rebelled. The Piaggia estate is in the commune of Poggio, in the province of Prato. The winery was purchased and developed by Mauro Vannucci in the mid Seventies. Part of the vineyard was in the Carmignano DOCG designation, and he felt that the sun, along with the dry clay soil would produce a great wine. His first wine was produced in 1991, and his daughter Silvia is now the current owner of the winery. The estate is now about twenty-five hectares, of which fifteen are vineyards. The Pietranera label is their pure Sangiovese wine that they are producing for a popular price wine that offers the terroir of their land. The grapes are pressed and the juice and skins are placed in small vats for fermentation with natural yeasts, with constant racking of the wines for about twenty days. The malolactic fermentation goes for about three months after the juice has been transferred to small wooden barrels, and then is stored in bottle for an additional six months before release. The wine was a pretty ruby red with a classic nose of cherries and spices. The palate appreciated the cherry jam flavor, with a touch of cocoa and spices, balance tannins and a moderate count finish with some terroir. I think this wine will be best enjoyed while it is young.
Azienda Agricola Lanciola Le Masse Di Greve Chianti Classico 2016 is just a few kilometers outside of Florence and the land as a vineyard is recorded back to 1587 to the Ricci family, and today it is owned by the Guarnieri family. The estate is about eighty hectares of forty for vineyards and forty for olive groves. The vineyard is basically planted with Sangiovese, but they grow a small amount of Canaiolo, Colorina, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Fourteen hectares of the estate is in the designation of Greve, which is in the heart of Chianti Classico. The terrain is hilly with southwestern exposure on a bed of shale. The wine is ninety-five percent Sangiovese and five percent Canaiolo. Initial fermentation is done in Stainless Steel tanks and the secondary fermentation in two-year old oak barriques and twenty-five quintal barrels for twenty-four months, followed by six months resting in bottles. The wine is a pretty ruby shade with a nose of sweet cherries and vanilla. A medium bodied wine offering the red fruit, vanilla and some spices, with balanced tannins and a medium count finish of fruit and terroir. This is a wine that I think would be best enjoyed in its youth, or perhaps just a few years in the cellar.