Friday, March 29, 2013

Toscana: Feminine

What does it mean to call a wine feminine--beautifully perfumed, supple texture, delicate even?  We were discussing this way of describing wine the other day in the shop and found ourselves gravitating towards the Tuscan section of our store. 

And of the Tuscan winemakers in the shop whose wines we feel embody what's great about their terroir almost all are women: Giovanni Morganti (Chianti Classico); Dora Forsoni (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano); Elisabetta Fagiuli (San Gimignano); and the Padovani twins (Montalcino). We are thrilled to declare that these brilliant women are leading the current revolution in natural winemaking in the center of Italy, making expressive, elegant wines that are as addictive as they are powerful. A brief word on each: 

In the Southern limit of the Chianti Classico zone, Giovanna Morganti worked at the research laboratory and vineyards of San Felice in Castelnuovo Berardenga. She has a mere three hectares of vineyards and works according to the traditional rhythms of her territory such that the wine takes a thirty month journey before becoming available to the public. She describes her wines as "ferociously elegant." We can't agree more. 
Dora Forsoni cultivates the Prugnolo Gentile clone of Sangiovese in Montepulciano with her partner Patricia Castiglioni, a unique strain surviving from the 16th century that she describes as difficult to stop drinking (she calls it a "drug"). She also makes a delicious white wine out of the grapes that USED to be blended with Sangiovese in the past when that was the way to make a more thirst-quenching wine, so imagine: Malvasia Verde, Malvasia Bianco. Biancame, Trebbiano, and Grechetto brought up in concrete. After a day of pounding the pavement, this is an ideal aperitif to precede her red Vino Nobile (Dora calls this white her Vino Nobile as well). 

Elisabetta Fagiuoli, born in Valpolicella, has high altitude vineyards in San Gimignano overlooking the rest of Tuscany. Because of this elevation, she's most famous for her white Vernaccias, of which she makes four different kinds(!), all of which are of the stature of her compadre in world class white wines, Mme. Bize-Leroy in Burgundy. We're selling her Tradizionale bottling, which is vinified one year "sur lie" (the raw good stuff) before bottling.  And her reds are divine too!
Twin-sisters from Milan, Margarita and Francesca Padovani took over their mother's small farm in Montalcino in the late nineties, with the goal of making drinkable, honest wines in a region plagued by Parkerization (over-extracted, magazine score-fetching wines that say look at me but are impossible to drink). Whatever your experience of the Brunello clone of Sangiovese, the Fonterenza sisters make a variety of wines in levels of intensity from the most accessible to the most potent, all of which harmonize with food instead of making loud speeches from the glass. 

Le Boncie Chianti Classico 2008, $41 
Poderi Sanguineto Bianco Toscana 2010, $19 
Poderi Sanguineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2008, $42 
Sono Montenidoli Vernaccia di San Gimignano Tradizionale 2010, $21 
Sono Montenidoli Colorino Rosso Toscano 2010, $22 
Sono Montenidoli Chianti Colli Senesi Il Garullo 2009, $23 
Fonterenza Pettirosso Rosso Toscano 2010, $24 
Fonterenza Rosso di Montalcino 2009, $34 

Build your own Toscana six-pack from these wines and save ten percent!  Click here to order.

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