Italian wines with the Manchester derby
Football talk, I'm afraid. It's half-time in the Manchester derby game. City started off badly, went 1-0 down. The prize? A place in a cup final, City's first since 1981, although this semi is over two legs.
Podere Le Boncie Chianti Classico Le Trame 06 Tuscany, Italy
A conundrum of a wine. It's from Randall Grahm's Bonny Doon operation. It's mainly from a vineyard farmed biodynamically in San Benito County, yet it contains an ingredients list that most emphatically is not an indicator of typically natural wine making. Yet you have to respect the honesty and integrity that led to that list appearing on the bottle. It reads:
I've been thinking quite a bit about Sangiovese of late. It's a difficult-yet-interesting grape variety, and I've been dwelling on its merits as I've been preparing to write up (at last) my Chianti Classico trip, and also an amazing tasting from last year of Soldera's remarkable Brunellos.
It's been a busy day. After seven months of just wine, I've taken on a science gig, producing a report from a two day conference on evaluating medical research. Feels a bit strange to be back in the world of science, but I figure it is important to keep up with it, seeing as wine science has been such an important (and modestly lucrative) field for me. A change of scenery helps keep you fresh.
Continuing yesterday's theme of Chianti Classico, this is a paradox of a wine from Chianti producer Fattoria Le Fonti. It's an IGT Toscana Sangiovese weighing in at 14.5% alcohol from a 2 hectare single vineyard. It's sweetly fruited, lush and ripe (in a modern style), yet also shows a hint of volatility, as well as some earthy, spicy notes (more traditional). The overall effect is pleasing and complex, but it's not an easy wine to come to terms with.
One of the estates I visited on my recent jaunt in Chianti country was Castello di Brolio, Barone Ricasoli's imposing property strategically placed on the border between the ancient city states of Florence and Siena. (The bomb-scarred Castello is pictured.)
Two wines tonight, one of which I've mentioned on here before - the Les Nivieres Saumur 2005 from Waitrose (£4.99) is a lovely wine - essence of Cabernet Franc. It's edgy and a bit green, and I probably scored it a little to highly last time, but I really enjoy it, while acknowledging that Loire Cabernet Franc may not be everyone's cup of tea. I think the sappy, mineralic greenness complements the fruit really well. Tannins are very grippy, which makes this a food wine. But it's an antidote to new world sweetness, and at this price it's hard to beat. It just makes the branded competition look a bit daft.
Two more Sangioveses opened this evening, in service to my readers - and prompted by my recently roused curiosity about this variety.
Further to my comments on the Querciabella yesterday, some more thoughts on Sangiovese.
Another wet day in London. Elder son and younger son turned out for the same U11 cricket team tonight. Dodgy looking weather meant the match was restricted to 15 overs a side, and going in at no 3 elder son batted well, ending up with 18 not out. Then the heavens opened and the game was washed out. I can't remember the last day when it didn't rain, and we are almost into July.