Exploring the wines of the new Tuscan revolution
When people think of Tuscan wine, they think of Chianti, and rightly so because the Chianti region occupies the majority of the wine producing area of central Tuscany, and is the third largest Italian region in terms of DOC/G production.
Most people are aware also that forty years ago, there was a revolution in Tuscan wine precipitated by a perceived drop in quality of Chianti. At this time, a number of producers stopped adhering to the rules of the Chianti DOC and started producing the wines they wanted to make with a heavy focus on quality. Today, these wines—most notably Sassicaia and Tignanello—are known as ‘super Tuscans’ and are recognized as amongst the very best Italian wines.
What few people know, is that a similar revolution has been taking place, quietly over the last ten years and today we are enjoying the first fruits. This time, producers are seeking to produce quality wines by rediscovering both traditional methods and old grape varieties that were eclipsed by mass production and the ubiquitous Sangiovese.
With the help of my friends at Ottimi Vini in Sansepolcro, I’ve been discovering some of these wines as you will know from previous posts, such as the one about Stefano Amerighi. So, when I was looking for an interesting wine for my peposo last week, it was to one of these that I turned. I personally believe that when cooking with wine, it’s best to use a good wine, certainly one that you would enjoy drinking and preferably the one that you are going to drink with the finished meal.
Panaccio 2011 is a local wine from Arezzo and is firmly in the tradition of the new Tuscan wine revolution. Produced by Giancarlo Casini, from vines established in 2005, it’s a surprising wine since it contains four grape varieties: foglia tonda, widely grown in the Arezzo region after it’s (re-) discovery in the nineteenth century; canaiolo, well-established in Tuscany and once second only to the Sangiovese; barsaligna, a recently re-discovered local variety; and, extraordinarily, sagrantino, an Umbrian grape seldom seen in Tuscany.
The result is a dark ruby wine with a rich, fruity nose, sapid with very light tannins and a 14,5% alcohol volume. It’s a very drinkable wine, perfectly compatible with Tuscan cuisine, which is why I chose it for my stew. It would also go well with a rich meat ragù of beef, duck or wild boar, or even lasagne. This wine is definitely on my winter drinking list.
Toscana Rosso, IGT
Azienda Casini Giancarlo
Loc. Antria, 64/Q 52100 Arezzo
What’s your current favourite Tuscan, Umbrian, or Italian wine? Would love to hear in the comments.