For a fellow that grew up drinking and eating Italian cuisine, there are times when I get totally spoiled, actually I get spoiled a lot, at my local wine shop The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. I was actually participating in a wine tasting that was curated for an Instagram blogger that I introduced her to the shop. She is going to start working on her designations, I imagine, that if I was younger, I might as well, just to have. Of course, I would probably have to use fancy descriptors to get the designations, and I would probably flunk the course, so I will just enjoy the wines, at my age.
The Isole e Ollena Cepparello Toscana IGT 2018 is the flagship wine of the winery. The De Marchi family consolidated two neighboring properties back in the Fifties, the estate vineyards of Isole and Olena. Here is a winery that is from the Tuscan region, made from all Sangiovese and is entirely in the boundaries of the Chianti Classico zone. You may ask, why isn’t the wine using the more prestigious and readily known Chianti Classico appellation, and it is because they make the wine strictly with Sangiovese and do not blend it, as Chianti laws require. Since 1980 when they started the Cepparello label they originally had to use the basic Vino da Tavola designation and even then, it was recognized by those in the know, that this was not a table wine, and when the laws changed in 1992 it became a Toscana IGT or popularly now known as Super Tuscan wines, because they do not play by the traditional rules of the region. The wine is aged for about fourteen months in oak and then about another twenty months in the bottle. My immediate notes that I wrote down for this wine was “FULL” and “CHEWY,” which I realize is very terse, but for me and my normal disdain for descriptors, it was plenty of information for a future purchase. I occasionally mention a bit more as this ruby/purple wine has notes of dark fruits and hazelnuts and violets, while on the palate the cherry and cassis and some spices, along with the full tannins and a nice long finish of terroir and spices, makes me think that this wine should be bought and cellared for several years more, for all the complexities and nuances to merge perfectly.
Then we tasted Tommaso Bussola Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2016 from Azienda Agricola Tommaso Bussola. In 1977 Tommaso Bussola took over his uncle’s estate and in the early 1990’s a new winery was constructed. This wine is made with the classic trio of grapes Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara to get the proper accreditation. After the harvesting of the grapes, they were allowed to partially dry and were crushed in January. The wines were racked after sixty days and then again ten days later. The juice was then aged for twenty-four months in a mixture of a quarter of the new in new Slavonian Oak, a quarter in new American and French Oak, and the balance in second time used barrels. My notes on this wine were “wonderful” with a great nose and a taste of black cherry and a finish that just lingered on and on. In fact, another time that I tasted an earlier vintage, the finish lingered and finished so well, that when I got home, I made a special tweet about having the wine, and I usually show more restraint, but I was totally happy with this wine and I think that I may have surprised some of my usual crowd. This is one to really go looking for, in my humble opinion.