TN: Super Tuscans (Reasonably priced)


Last night our tasting group met to taste Super Tuscan’s that were priced reasonably (whatever that means) and (mostly) available in the market place. We had a nice selection. Although nothing blew us away, it was a very interesting tasting. Given the mix of styles, vintages and grapes, it was perhaps not surprising but there was a lot of disagreement. Lots of wines got first and last place votes. Three wines tied for first place.

The wines were consumed blind for a couple of hours and then revisited once revealed. Scores were tabulated first for the group. Breads and cheeses were available.
A White Starter

  • 2014 Teruzzi & Puthod Vernaccia di San Gimignano - Italy, Tuscany, San Gimignano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano
    A blast from the past. 15 years ago, we used to drink a lot of this. Its been a while. Still priced around $15. Light golden in color. The nose is tight at first. Some weird notes but eventually it settles down with some peach and melon notes along with a bit of hay. Jeff mentioned almonds which I agreed with. On the palate, this is tart, mostly grapefruit with some lemons. Biting, perhaps a bit much on the finish. Almost tannic. Still, for the price, this is an excellent value. I would suspect the 15 to be a bit better. (87 pts.)

The Red Flight

  • 2003 Le Cinciole Camalaione Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    This was divisive. Although it got no first place votes it was tied for the groups #1 wine. It also got some poor scores including my last place vote. Purple in color, ruby at the rim. The nose has dusty leather, dried cherries almost craisins, and a green streak. To me more herbal but Jeff said Alfalfa. Maybe. Anyway, that should have been a clue to think 03 I suppose. On the palate, I found it hollow with a clipped yet tart finish. It was certainly drinkable but not something I particularly want to drink. Some had it higher as I said. (87 pts.)
  • 2012 La Spinetta (Rivetti) Terre di Pisa Il Nero di Casanova - Italy, Tuscany, Terre di Pisa
    Ruby in color, clear but a bit flat. This looked like it had some age and I was surprised to see it was a 2012. I don’t think this was a proper bottle given that. The nose was dominated by a green streak, call it herbal or even dill with little fruit. Very soft on the palate. Some black cherry fruit but the green carries over. Tart acidity. One of the few wines we agreed upon as it was easily the last place vote. NR (flawed)
  • 2014 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Ateo - Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Sant’ Antimo
    Though this finished second last, it did get a first and a third place vote. So the night went. Ruby/purple in color. The nose is dusty with cherries and a slight almost vinegar note that increased with air. The palate has some cherries but pretty simple. Clipped on the finish. A victim of the vintage? Not sure, but disappointing. (87 pts.)
  • 2013 Ca’ Marcanda (Gaja) Promis Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    Another divisive wine. About half liked it and half did not. I liked it but not for the $49 price tag. Purple/ruby in color. The nose has black raspberries, cherries and some charcoal. A bit dusty. On the palate, this is slightly candied. Black raspberries and cherries. medium tannins. Nice wine. A bit of depth but not a ton. Slightly clipped on the finish. (90 pts.)
  • 2012 Montepeloso A QUO Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    This ended up being the WOTN for the group (on tie breakers) with 2 first and a third. For $23, that is pretty good value. Purple/ruby in color. The nose has sandalwood, cherries, cassis, and tobacco. On the palate, this is delicious. Black raspberries, dusty with black licorice and just a hint of barnyard that comes out with air. Nice finish. Seems like it has some upside but drinking great right now. (90 pts.)
  • 2008 Fattoria di Fèlsina Berardenga Fontalloro - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    Another excellent wine but for $48, it gets hard to justify that cost. I was frankly surprised at this as i expected a bit better. Ruby/purple in color. The nose is a bit dusty with dark cherries. On the palate, a bit sweet on the front end with dark cherry fruit. Firm tannins. I suppose it may still develop a bit, and I did enjoy it, but it was below expectations. (90 pts.)
  • 2014 Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    Another divisive wine. It got two first place votes including mine and a third. I will say my first round with it was disappointing. Light bodied and off aromas. When I cam back to it, however, it had put on weight and sorted itself out and was getting better IMO at the end of the night. Ruby, clear and bright. The nose has cassis, slight cherries and a bit of herbal notes. On the palate, the cassis dominates. It is light to medium bodied. Mild tannins. I doubt it gets much better but for what it is, i enjoyed the energy and the fruit. At $30, its debatable though. (91 pts.)
  • 2013 Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    This is always a hit in these tastings although it was pretty middle of the road this time. $33. Purple in color. The nose is dusty with cherries and blueberries. Pretty ripe. On the palate, this is very easy to drink. Some depth. Delicious if a bit ripe. Nice finish. (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Domus Vitae Dragone Toscana IGT - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
    $18, there is some value here. It is also pretty divisive mostly due to the Brett. Jeff called is sewer gas. Lou loved it. For me, it was pushing my (tolerant) limits. Inky purple in color. The nose has a ton of barnyard, some spice and dark cherry fruit. The barnyard continues to the palate as does the fruit. A bit drying on the finish. Lou said there is some bottle variation on these. (87 pts.)
  • 2012 Podere Sapaio Bolgheri Volpolo - Italy, Tuscany, Bolgheri
    Ruby/purple in color. The nose is dusty and pretty tight. With air, some cassis and plums come out. On the palate, this is medium weight. There is a nice complexity here. Cassis and plums. Good finish. International tasting, but that’s fine. $29. (89 pts.)

I like these kinds of tastings. It does put a premium on quality but lets one factor in value as well. We all had a lot of fun and laughs as well. There are a couple I might seek out, especially on a restaurant list if offered for reasonable mark ups.
Posted from CellarTracker

Thanks for sharing those notes.
I have some of the 2013 Montepeloso which I like, although it seems that a bit of aging will help.
IIRC the blend was something like 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 50% Sangiovese.
My notes say it was better on day two when the fruit receded and savory notes came to the fore.

I just received an email from Grapeswine advertising a special on the 2012 A Quo.
Case price is just $18.99.
Text in the email says the 2012 blend is more interesting than what I posted above;
grapes used includes Montepulciano, Alicante Bouschet, and Marselan.
(Actually I think the blend I listed is from a different Maremma wine I have.)

Thanks for the notes, Loren. Although from the notes, they appear to be more “Meh Tuscans” than Super Tuscans.

I really enjoyed the notes.

In the future, it would be interesting to have one wine with a higher price and/or higher rating going in to see its comparison.

Thanks for all the notes, Loren!!!

I have had the Ca’ Marcanda (Gaja)Promis” Toscana IGT only of the listed items. I cannot recall if it was the 2002 vintage or not, but I think it was. :neutral_face:

I believe that the “Promis” was 50/50 Merlot and Sangiovese. When I drank it, it was a very crowd-friendly red - smooth, darker fruited, medium-to-full bodied. It was certainly overpriced in our little NW Louisiana shop, but it was a “safe” recommendation for customers who wanted to try a non-domestic red, without it actually tasting like anything from another country! :wink:

I realize that this may not make sense, but there were a handful of patrons who expressed an interest in trying out different wines but, in truth, did not report back as enjoying anything from Chianti, Rioja, Burgundy, Bordeaux, etc. (true-blue New World palates dedicated to Rutherford Hill Merlot, Caymus Cabernet, and a few Chilean and Australian reds).

Anyway, I always enjoy reading your notes, and I wonder if you have tried the Maremma/Toscana Alicante-blends (Alicante in this case being Grenache, I believe).

I had the 2010 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona ‘Ateo’ [Sant Antimo] over the last few days, as a midweek, leave open in the fridge kind of drinker. It was ok, and likely a better vintage than what you had, but I would not go out of my way to drink/buy again. Even at almost age 10 its still seems quite primary oaky/grapey to me. It didn’t go all that well with food either, a licorice/mint kind of note emerged when paired up with sourdough bread pizza. It’s nice that they are trying international varietals in Tuscany, and normally I like the merlot heavy ones (this is half cab, half merlot) but this didn’t shine for me.