Friday, April 4, 2014

Going Italian At Whole Foods: Verrazzano Rosso Mini Tuscan

Attention Whole Foods shoppers - through April, Whole Foods Market shines the WFM spotlight on Italian wines at great prices.  The grocery chain is also hosting a pair of virtual tasting events to help spread the word about their great Italian value wines.  Get the details on the wines and the April 10th virtual tasting event on Twitter here.

You can search the hashtag #WFMWine on Twitter to see how much fun we all had on the previous virtual wine tasting on March 13th.  We hope you can join us on Twitter on April 10th!

Today we sample one of the wines to be featured on the April tasting event.


Twitter Tastings

Thursday March 13, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT:

Banfi Principessa Gavia Gavi 
Ruffino Orvieto Classico
Gran Passione Rosso
Donnafugata Sedàra

Thursday April 10, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT:

Presto Prosecco
Caposaldo Pinot Grigio
Monrosso Chianti
Verrazzano Rosso


Verrazzano Rosso Mini Tuscan $15.99

Castello di Verrazzano is in the northern part of the Chianti Classico D.O.C., with its limestone-rich soil imparting a luxurious minerality to the wines made there.  Wines have been made there, by the way, since the 1100s, while the castle itself dates back to the seventh century.  With a timeline that long, you might think they would have plenty of old vines on the property.  That's not the case, though.  Their farming technique has them "renewing" plants so that the average age of the vines us only twelve years.

If the estate's name looks familiar, maybe it's because it's the name of the famous navigator and explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano.  He was born in the castle in 1485.  As an adult, Verrazzano explored much of the east coast of what we now call America.  So grateful for his work was New York City, they named one of their big bridges after him.  They even start their marathon on it every year.

The Verrazzano Rosso Mini Tuscan 2012 is made in a way similar to that of Chianti: a blend of 80% Sangiovese grapes and the rest a mix of red Canaiolo grapes and white Trebbiano and Malvasia varieties grown in the Greve district.  Aging takes place over ten months, in large Slavonian oak barrels.  The Mini Tuscan's alcohol content is only 12.5% abv, and the restraint is appreciated.  The wine comes bottled with a stylish, black artificial cork.  Mini Tuscan, I suppose, is a humorous homage to the Super Tuscan label used by maverick Chianti producers who wanted to put Bordeaux grapes in their wines and Bordeaux prices on the sticker.

This wine's medium ruby color and sweetly floral, slightly spicy nose are inviting enough, while the palate shows pretty cherry, currant and pomegranate. Nice acidity and a soft tannic structure fit together well.  There us a hint of tartness and a bit of cranberry on the finish, which I like quite a bit.  The aromas and flavors are great, the structure is wonderful.  With the flavors and spices, plus great acidity and a medium mouthfeel, I thought it would be a great wine for a Thanksgiving feast - even for a backyard barbecue.  Put it on ice for a little bit to give it a chill and you've a nice, easy-drinking red for the summer.