Daniel Crawford of Le Caveau hand selected the wines for the evening, and shared his amazing knowledge of the wines, winemakers, and Tuscany.
Classification of Tuscan wines: Similar to the classification system used by the French.
DOCG - Denominazione di Origine Controllata et Garantita - guaranteed quality, highest category
DOC - Denominazione di Origine Controllata
IGT - Indicazione Geografica Tipica (similar to Vin de Pays)
VdT - Vina da Tavola (table wine) - lowest category
Daniel explains there are 6 DOCG's and 34 DOC's in Tuscany.
Pairings: Daniel advises the food should either compliment or contrast with the wine you are drinking. For example, the Vernaccia we tasted had almond notes, so we tried pairing with almonds. If the wine was acidic it might help cut through the fat of a cheese, so try a fatty cheese with acidic wine, etc.
1) 2009 Mormoraia Vernaccia di San Gimignano - $12.99
Varietal: 100% Vernaccia (vur-notch-uh), aged on lees in stainless steel tanks
Dan's Notes: With a pale canary yellow color, this intensely aromatic white displays notes of apple and rose petal, while the crisp dry palate boasts bright flavors of almond, wild flowers, and grapefruit. True to type, the finish is subtly bitter.
Winemaker Info: Mormoraia (more-more-ee-uh) stretches out over 100 hectares, 30 of which are dedicated to the vine growing and 10 to the cultivation of the olive trees. The estate is set in the heart of Tuscany, on the green hills next to San Gimignano, in a panoramic position of rare beauty. The farming of vineyards and olive groves is carried out with great respect for the territory and environment under the supervision of the owner Mr. Guiseppe Passoni.
TWITs Notes: we don't smell much of anything, perhaps it is a shy wine? although it has beautiful legs and a lovely color. we definitely taste the almond and grapefruit notes. Very nice wine. Vernaccia means indigenous.
2) 2007 Terenzuolo Merla della Miniera Toscana IGT - $24.99
Varietal: 85% Uva Merla (Canaiolo Nero), 15% Tintoretto (Colorino)
Dan's Notes: This wine is dark with aromas of earth, chocolate covered cherries, wild herbs, and black plums on the nose. On the attack moderate tannins are matched by layers of dark fruit. It has tart acidity to balance the richness of the fruit.
Winemaker Info: Ivan Giulani (has been making wine since 2001) is the only producer of wine made with Uva Merla grapes. Uva Merla (thick skinned tannic grape) is the local clone of Canaiolo Nero, while Tintoretto is the local clone of Colorino in the commune Fosdinovo.
TWITs Notes: I absolutely love this one, it has all of the aromas that I adore in a good red wine, and it has the right touches on the palate to back it up.
3) 2008 Mormoraia Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG - $12.99
Varietal: Sangiovese blend
Dan's Notes: "The 2008 Chianti Colli Senesi is an attractive red laced with berries, dried flowers, and sweet baking spices. This mid-weight Chianti is best enjoyed sooner rather than later. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2013." Antonio Galloni, October 2010. Wine Advocate.
Winemaker Info: Maceration for 12-15 days with remontage. The wine is aged in oak casks of varying sizes for a period of 4 months. Bottle aged for 1 month in the cellar at 16 degrees celcius.
TWITs Notes: Very nice Chianti, but doesn't move me as much as the previous wine did.
4) 1998 Mormoraia Neitea - $21.99
Varietal: 70% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
Dan's Notes: This Toscana Rosso has a deep ruby red color containing intense heat that blows off after letting the wine catch its breath with a good decant. Vanilla and liquorice on the nose gives way to ripe berries and tobacco on the palate.
Winemaker Info: This Super Tuscan was fermented in steel tanks with repeated punching down of the lid. Maceration lasts for 15-20 days followed by drawing off into oak drums to be refined for 12-14 months. Assemblage occurs in steel tanks resting the juice 1 month before bottling.
TWITs Notes: Lighter red color, Super Tuscan, very tasty! I bought a bottle of this one!
5) 2001 Kopke L.B.V. - $24.99
Dan's Notes: "Rusty ruby in color with a tawny edge. The nose offers raspberry, raisins, toffee, cherry cough drop and mocha aromas. Medium weight, warming and dry on the palate, this one grew on me by day four when it had mellowed a bit. Laser like acidity keeps it in check, with flavors of strawberry, citrus, a back drop of pecan and some mild-mannered mouth coating tannins. The finish is long but shows a bit of the warming spirit." 11/29/10 Roy Hersh, ForTheLoveOfPort
Winemaker Info: Kopke is a German Diplomat, this is the longest continuously produced Port (since 1638)
TWITs Notes: Per Dan, the letters are hand-stenciled on the bottle. LBV means Late Bottle Vintage (meaning style of Port produced from a single vintage), lovely aromas, perfumey, definitely raisin on the palate, reminds me of an Amarone. Per Dan, the grapes are treated similarly to an Amarone, but not quite the same. The method is Passito. He also went into detail about Tawny versus Ruby Ports (click link then scroll down to the Barron Food Lovers Companion section).
We also spoke about Vin Santo (or holy wine).
Discussion about Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun's. He may not charge you a corking fee, if you bring your own wine, so long as you share a glass with him.
Word to the wise: he is also partial to Dale's Pale Ale.
Links: Website focused on Tuscan Wines.
Tuscan Wine Guide