Historically, I have favored oaky, buttery, CA chardonnays. This is mostly due to my dislike of reds because of tannins and headaches in the morning. Regarding my dislike for reds in general, I have been to Porto and do enjoy colheitas and 10/20 year-old tawny’s – especially those with a fire-brewed “barbecue” hint – which to me is absolutely fabulous! In addition, I don’t like LBVs, since to me they taste like grape juice and ethanol. Outside of Portugal, I don’t like cabs because of dryness, and disfavor merlots due to acidity(?), but learned that I can tolerate table reds.
A friend recently informed me about super tuscans, and how the chianti-centric Sangiovese grapes were blended, with additional info on how a lot of original reds came from Spain as well. So I tried several super tuscans , and personally, they smelled like ink (sharpee) and tasted like bazooka bubble gum.
Given the above, if I like colheitas and older tawny’s, and want to branch out of Portugal into super tuscan reds, where could I start?
Cru Beaujolais seems like a better place to start than Tuscany. See if you can find yourself some Chateau Thivin or Foillard. Trousseau from the Jura region would be another. Ganevat is a good producer to start with.
I’d post this in the Wine Talk forum if you want to get more answers
Don’t ask a wine to be what it isn’t supposed to be. Italian reds are traditionally built to be fairly dry, especially the classic areas like Tuscany, and generally have food in mind. If you think most Californian Cabs are too tannic, chances are most Super Tuscans will be by a factor of 2 or 3.
From what you wrote about your likes and dislikes, you want sweet. Cali Chards are notorious for hiding more residual sugar that you think behind the oak and butter. That’s where a lot of the rich texture comes from, and why many other whites that are truly fermented dry feel ‘thin’. You also are looking for lower acidity. Some grapes and certain growing regions will just have more acidity than others. That’s what they should be, and you don’t want them to be otherwise.
What I would recommend if you are looking to explore what may be drier options:
Cali Zin blends. Not the garbage grocery store mass production blends which are as guilty of hiding sugars as the Chardonnays. Without knowing where you live, can’t give too many recommendations, but names like Ridge, Bedrock, Seghesio should show up among others. Ask your wine monger.
Spanish Garnacha. Aka Grenache. Warmer climate, lower acidity wines that can be found in most markets and at a LOT of price points so you can do a lot of experimentation.
If you are set on Italy, look to Puglia. Primitivo, Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera are the grapes. Lots more natural fruit, less acidity, somewhat atypical to the rest of Italy, and relatively undiscovered so lots of value if you can find them. Frappato from Calabria and Sicily also fits but can be harder to find.
you mentioned not liking LBV Port. I would recommend trying one again if you can find one with some bottle age. They don’t need the age like the Vintage Ports, but are very capable. Some houses like Smith Woodhouse have 2004 iirc as their current release. Aging can soften that initial attack that may have hit you like ethanol.
Above all, keep trying things as you go along, especially if someone else has it open for you. A large portion of wine drinkers will tell you their palates have shifted over time, often to the drier side. Also having wines more often with food can increase your tolerance for drier wine. Or not, and you may always strongly prefer sweeter wines. It’s your mouth, and you are NEVER wrong to drink what you enjoy.
Beaujolais is relatively low in tannin and the acid is the bigger driving force behind what makes this grape so gulpable yet not without complexity. Although you mentioned not liking acidity I think when you see how gentle and appetite whetting the acidity in Beaujolais is you will begin to appreciate it. It all comes down to balance.
Did some more reading, and it appears that regarding classification, most reds collapse into Bordeaux’s, Rhone’s, and Bergundy’s(?). While it’s apparent that some suggestions involve co-epicurean/culinary consumption of the more dry reds, I would say that the majority of my consumption is sport-based involving long hours of computer work, with an occasional cheese or cracker. So I think I am learning that I don’t like a lot of boldness, so in a way I don’t want to “fight with a bully” at a dinner table, but rather want subtle aromas and sweetness, and the acidity I am learning could actually be higher. However; it’s the tannins that wreak havoc with me.
Right now, I need to find out via tasting the major differences between beuajolais, high-quality zinfandels, grenache, an d @Matthew’s suggestion to consider Italian Puglia, Primitivo, Negroamaro, Malvasia Ner.
Earlier this week I did get a hit on a nice red Pinot Noir – that seemed to slightly pull me in the way a 40 y.o. old tawny does, so maybe Pinot Noir is doable(?) Overall, it would be nice to tag up with a red that pulls me in the way a 40-y.o. tawny induces notes of fire-brewed, floral, and slight dark chocolate down my throat and neck at first small sip. You can actually feel it traverse down your neck after a very small sip – so that would be nice to replicate on a much smaller scale via red with little boldness. Hopefully, you can appreciate what I am saying, and simply feel that a 40-y.o. tawny pulls me in instead of fights with me.
Well if you like red Burgundy you will like Gamay which is the grape they grow in Beaujolais. Just for your reference you should know that the Beaujolais region is at the southern-most part of what is still, or at least used to be, considered Burgundy.
Younger, more accessible version of the Brunello, but already with an excellent structure and a great personality, Rosso di Montalcino is a very important wine for Tenuta Il Poggione.
Produced entirely from Sangiovese grapes, sourced in the estate’s younger vineyards, Rosso di Montalcino is aged for 12 months in large casks before a period of bottle aging.
The wood aging, although not obligatory for the production of Rosso di Montalcino, tones down the tannins typical of a young Sangiovese and gives this red wine a complexity of aroma and structure that make it a great “Young Brunello”.
I would shoot for a California Pinot over burgundy or Oregon. in broad strokes, you’re gonna notice that cali pinot is much more fruit forward and has lower acid than oregon or burgundy.
I also agree with cali Zin, primitivo if you want an italian red, or possibly amarone (though you’re moving into something with a little more tannin there), and definitely agree with gamay (beaujolais).
with your original question, I agree with all posts above. you basically say you want a super tuscan and then describe that you want it to have qualities fairly opposite of a super tuscan.