My excuses are lined up in advance. Mr Purple Teeth prefers wine with black fruit flavours to red, and much of the wine produced in the north of Italy, with it's most famous grape, Sangiovese, has a distinct red cherry flavour. What I guess I'm saying is, we've ruled out Tuscany's darling Chianti. While Amarone della Valpollicella can sometimes find its way onto our wine racks, the more basic Valpol wines made from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara also tend to be tart and red.
However, perhaps what we're really doing, is not so much ruling out Italian wine, as ruling out inexpensive Italian wine.
Mr Purple Teeth's criteria for a good wine starts with Cabernet Sauvignon. He claims not to know much about wine, but he certainly knows what he likes. Last year, on a night out with his then boss and team, he was somewhat horrified to hear that an Italian wine was being ordered. A pleasant surprise awaited him. This was no Chianti. It was however from Tuscany. In fact, this wine from the Antinori family estate in Bolgheri is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Syrah. Antinori, perhaps inventors of the Super-Tuscan with Tignanello back in the 70s, are a family producer with a long history of excellent wine-making in Tuscany and Umbria.
Tonight, I decide to release the wine trapped in the bottle. After all, it is Tuesday. It is recommended with game/roast meats and, as the weather has turned autumnal, I'm making Wild Boar Sausage and mash with cavallo nero (an Italian connection?) and onion gravy. Comfort food demands comfort wine.
Grown on the the Guado al Tasso estate near the Tuscan coast some 60 miles southwest of Florence, the grapes receive cooling sea breezes, and are grown in the DOC area that has become synonymous with super-Tuscans, the Bolgheri DOC, made famous by Sassicaia, perhaps Itayl's most expensive wine.
The name of the wine translates as "The Burnt". This probably refers to the somewhat smoky nose that leaps out of the glass. Pronounced berry fruit is also present along with deep black plums, bordering on prune. It definitely hits the black fruit note. This may be due to the amount of time the bottle has languished in the non-ideal confines of my kitchen. It's rich, with a great structure, as you'd expect from a Cabernet dominated wine. Full bodied, and smooth, there are spicy notes of pepper and nutmeg along with a hint of something lighter, perhaps coffee or sweeter clove. It's got a long and complex finish and there's a lot going on for a wine at this price-point.
I do hope Mr PT will approve when he finally gets to taste it. I suppose I'd better go and make that meal!