Frassina Rosso 2012

Sign, signs, everywhere are signs ….  You know that song by the Canadian group, Five Man Electrical Band?

Well … although I purchased this wine because it was identified as 100% Sangiovese by the store, I found that it is actually a Tuscan blend.  Guess I should have done the same quick mobile internet check that I did when I bought the Ruffino Aziano.  And, indeed, a quick online look tells us that this Rosso is made from 35% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Syrah, and 10% Ancellotta.  But the sign said it was just Sangiovese!  D’oh!

Winemaker:  Frassina
Wine: Rosso
Vintage: 2012
Varietal:  Red Blend
Appellation:  Toscana, Italy IGT
Price: $21.99 at The Grateful Red

Notes:  The color of this Tuscan red was a deep ruby.  On the nose I found pepper and spice, tangy berries and musty sod.  The body was medium and acidity was high.  Alcohol came in at 14%, and tannins were medium with an aggressive attack.  On the tongue I got flavors of cherry, tea leaf, oak/wood, and lots of pepper.

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Ali Sangiovese 2013

Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!  In my continued search for and experiments with Sangiovese varietal wines, I managed to run across this one very recently at my local Whole Foods.  What a fun little surprise.  I say it’s a surprise because not more than a month ago, this selection wasn’t on their shelves.  How very nice of them to aid me in my research!  lol  This Italian red was made by Donna Laura SRL and imported into the U.S. by Banville & Jones.  It is named in honor of Alicia, daughter of Lia Tolaini-Banville.

Winemaker: Donna Laura SRL
Wine: Ali Sangiovese Toscana
Vintage: 2013
Appellation: Toscana, Italy IGT
Price: $10.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  The color of this Tuscan was a dark burgundy.  In the bouquet I caught whiffs of berries and damp forest floor.  It was light-bodied with high acidity and medium tannins.  Alcohol was at 12.5%.  I found this Ali pleasant enough in the flavor department albeit gentle on the palate.  I tasted cherry drops, black pepper, tea, and a sage-like herbal note.  I think it would most certainly make a decent accompaniment to a variety of pasta dishes or perhaps light meat dishes.

Another Inexpensive Sangiovese

This is the last of the Sangiovese varietal wines available at my local Whole Foods.  As I was told by others (I think it was winegetter), the variations in the different bottlings are interesting.  I’m happy to say that despite my focus on budget-friendly wines, I haven’t had any 100% Sangiovese that I’d label as plonk.  That may be the result of the smart people buying for the local retailers, of course.  At any rate, I now find myself faced with the need to wander farther afield to find more for my sampling purposes.  Oh, boy!  Field trip!!

Winemaker:  Il Bastardo
Varietal: Sangiovese
Vintage: 2012
Appellation:  Toscana IGT, Italy
Price: $7.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  This Sangiovese was an extremely dark burgundy in color.  On the nose I detected scents of wet earth, tangy berry, with notes of mocha and chocolate.  It was medium-bodied with high acidity and medium tannins.  Alcohol was at 13%.  On the palate I caught flavors of oak (initially quite present, but settling with oxidation), plenty of blackberry, pepper, some dusty soil, and pomegranate on the finish.  It certainly had enough structure – tannins and acidity – to stand up to foods and just enough in the flavor profile to make it sufficiently interesting on it’s own.  Amazing?  Well, no.  But it’s a good bargain purchase.

La Bastarda Bianco di Toscana 2012

Here is a light, refreshing white blend from Tuscany by Renzo Masi.  I had this at the pub I’ve mentioned before where they have a lot of live music.  The establishment is called Iota Club & Cafe.  It’s a very popular spot in the local area and attracts a lot of fine musicians.  The club has very recently retooled it’s wine list, and this was a new addition.   I look forward to trying some of the other new items as well.  Although I did get some odd looks from a few folks who saw me drinking a light white wine in what is generally a beer-swigging joint, I lifted my wine glass with pride and confidence.  Of course, nobody but the bartender saw the label on the bottle!

Winemaker:   Il Bastardo by Renzo Masi
Wine:  La Bastarda Bianco di Toscana
Varietal:  White Blend
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Toscana, Italy IGT
Price:  $7.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:   This Italian white blend was very pale yellow in the glass.  On the nose I caught floral scents and pear.  On the palate I found flavors of pear, peach, young honeydew melon, grass and peach pit.    The finish is extremely quick, ending with what I can only describe as a sip from a mountain stream – you know, cool water with a slight mineral taste to it.  It was light bodied, acidity is good, and alcohol is at 12.5%.   The mix of grapes here is 70% Trebbiano and 30% Chardonnay.  I think it’s a nice, light, brisk summer cooler.  Actually it’s a lot like a wine cooler.  And this is one to definitely serve chilled.  As it warmed to room temperature it developed a chalkiness that became a little distracting.  So ice it down, and serve it up.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.