Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Diverse Super Tuscans at Italian Village Chicago

Diverse Super Tuscans at Italian Village Chicago Team Dinner

We held a tech leadership team dinner meeting on the eve of a team workshop and dined at our usual venue for such dinners, Italian Village, Chicago, in the Central loop, not far from our office, this continues our regimen of numerous dinners which I've featured in many earlier blogposts about our wine and dinners at Italian Village, Chicago's oldest, longest running continuously family operated Italian restaurant.

We selected from the extensive Best of Wine Spectator Award winning wine list two vintage Super Tuscan Red Blends. This provided a mini-horizontal tasting of two diverse nine year old vintage wines - an interesting pairing with our Italian cuisine selections of Lasagna, Fettucini Alfredo and their chef's signature Gnocchi sautéed in a vodka, spicy arrabiata cream sauce with crumbled Italian sausage, topped with parmesan cheese. 

Caiarossa Aria di Caiarossa Toscana IGT Super Tuscan Blend 2013

Caiarossa was founded in 1998, taking as its guide the principles of organic agriculture for the cultivation of the vineyards and that of geo-dynamics and the oriental discipline of Feng Shui for the construction of the cellars.

The name of Caiarossa was coined as a homage to the soil, which is characterized by the presence of jasper, rock and pebbles intensely red in colour, the creative name inspired by Gaia, mother of all the gods of Mount Olympus, goddess of fertility and of Nature, of the very Earth itself.

In 2004, the estate was acquired by Eric Albada Jelgersma, whose family owned two Grands Crus Classés in Margaux, Bordeaux, Château Giscours and Château du Tertre, which were both sold in 2021.

The company logo and label features an ancient clay head of Etruscan origin representing the Greek god Dionysus and dating from the fourth century B.C. The figure was discovered near the city of Volterra and now the property of Eric Albada Jelgersma. 

Cairossa owns 175 acres of land, half of which is covered with oak, cork oak, and holm oak woods. The soil composition is quite varied: calcareous at lower altitudes, rich in sandstone and sand, iron-rich at higher altitudes. The first 40 acres of vineyards were planted between 1998 and 2000.  An additional 37 acres were planted between 2008 and 2013 on the southern slopes of the Nocolino hill, a site a few kilometers away from the center of Riparbella with clayey soils.

After research to select the appropriate grape varietals that would best express the site, seven red grape varieties were planted: Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Alicante, and Syrah along with three white grape varieties: Viognier, Chardonnay, and Petit Manseng

This release is a blend of Cabenert Franc, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The predominant Syrah is from the three acre Podere Nocolino, Podere le Lame vineyard. It was aged in barriques and tonneaux for about 14 months, using 15% of new oak. Then 6 months in concrete tanks before bottling.

Bright purple garnet colored, full bodied, aromatic, expressive vibrant cherry, plum and raspberry fruits more reflecting the Syrah than the Bordeaux blend components, accents of  bitter dark chocolate, tobacco, vanilla and earthy mushroom on a bold acidic finish. 

RM 91

Tenuta di ArcenoValadorna Toscana IGT 2013

The is from the Tenuta di Arceno estate, situated at the southernmost-edge of Chianti Classico in the butterfly-shaped commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, home to several world-renowned producers. It is the closest in proximity to Siena and often referred to as ‘the most Senese Chianti Classico.

The ancient Tuscan estate produces a broad diverse portfolio of the highest quality wines across two classification levels – three wines based on the region's native Sangiovese grape in the Chianti Classico DOCG collection; and three wines that comprised of estate grown international varieties under the Toscana IGT designation. 

Sitting adjacent the ancient walled town of San Gusmè, the estate covers 2,500 acres of which 220 acres are planted to vines – the remaining land is preserved for native vegetation including 125 acres of olive orchards. The vineyards are separated into 63 distinct blocks, planted to 50% Sangiovese and 50% international varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

This Merlot-led blend is sourced primarily from the Valadorna and Capraia blocks, which produce the estate’s most complex and mineral-based expressions of this variety. The blocks are located within the cooler part of the estate with sandy brown soils that produce lower yields than typical. It is naturally irrigated by a stream that winds through the property. These blocks are often the last Merlot blocks to ripen on the estate.

Winemaker Notes: "The 2013 was a classic vintage, yet on the cool side, which favors the perfect ripening of Merlot. The Valadorna Merlot was picked on October 1st, allowing ample time on the vine for perfect maturation and tannin development. The nose jumps from the glass with exotic spices of jasmine, cumin and vanilla bean. The fruit expression is of raspberry and black cherry. The mouthfeel is dominated by long flexible tannins framed by slight tingling acids. The immediate sensation of blueberry pie gives way to an uplifting bright sour cherry finish. As the fruit subsides, what remains on the palate are hints of sweet cedar and cigar box notes. The 2013 is an elegant vintage and will age gracefully."

This release is a blend of Bordeaux varietals, 74% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot.

This was rated 95 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, and 94 points by James Suckling.

Dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, complex but well integrated, intense, firm and tight black fruits with notes of tobacco, tar and dark chocolate with bright acidity and firm tannins on the lingering finish. 
RM 93 points.