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August 03, 2006

02 Tenuta di Valgiano, Colline Lucchesi Palistorti

We're inventing a new fruit. It's called the Italian cherry. And it doesn't grow anywhere in the world, but deep inside the rootstock of sangiovese grapes from Toscana's best estates. This wine is my proof. It's the reason we age wines--and the reason we don't have to age this one. Its old, dying soul is fresh with the sappy flesh of cherries tinged with tangerines, cola, stewed beef, tomato paste, and a rustically tannic, acidic, spicy, bloody mineral finish. And then, black pepper an hour later. I wonder if they ever eat anything in Lucca, or if they just drink this wine.


Anonymous Damien said...

I think you are onto something with your identification of the smell of Sangiovese. Why not call it just that?

This reminds is a great French wine phrase a friend of mine uses a lot when tasting fresh, pure Pinot Noir; "Ca pinote". "This pinots". It does not suggest berries, cherries, or any other fruit that has no genetic relation to grapes, just pinot.

I love putting my nose into a glass and smelling, gasp!, grapes. Perhaps a simple descriptor like that is not as flashy, seductive or evocative as the myriad other terms that writers use, but I find it to be amongst the most flattering because it suggests that the winemaker had the wisdom to let his or her grapes shine through.

Perhaps an Italian reader can suggest a comparable phrase to indicate that a wine smells like noting other than healthy Tuscan Sangiovese. "Ca giovese" seems a bit too corny.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

Damien, it's great to reduce a wine to its elements and find that there's no simpler way to describe it than by its varietal. Certainly most terroiristes would agree with that.

But I remember what it was like to have never had sangiovese and to want to try one, or to barely know pinot noir--much less something as esoteric as the "iron fist/velvet glove" of Volnay.

So I like to reduce a wine to its brute flavors and then somehow associate those flavors in a unique way with the grapes. Sure, a lot of wines taste like cherries, cola, and earth for example--but the way Tuscany shows that profile is significantly different than an Oregon pinot or a Loire cabernet franc might.

I try to put you there.

10:18 AM  

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