The Cellar: Italian Reds + Whites

Friday, April 12, 2013


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This week we will be focusing on 2 fantastic Italian blends – both of which are available locally.

2011 Maculan Pino & Toi, Veneto, Italy - $12

This week’s first Italian is a white blend which I read about in a recent edition of Food & Wine Magazine. In the article, wine editor Ray Isle competed with Italian-wine pro Joe Bastianich to see who could pick the best

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under $15 bottles of wines. Ray’s pick for best northern white was Maculan’s 2011 Pino & Toi from the Veneto.

The name, Pino & Toi, references the varieties from which this wine is made: “Pino” stands for the 25% Pinot Bianco and 15% Pinot Grigio, while the “Toi” stands for the 60% Tai (formerly Tocai Friulano), which makes up the majority portion of the wine. All the grapes are sourced from various vineyards in and around the town of Breganze, where the Maculan family winery is located. This wine is intriguingly aromatic boasting a massive array of ripe green and stone fruits including apples, pears and peaches. While medium-bodied and rich in flavor, the wine does have hints of lemon and just enough acidity on the finish to leave your palate clean and refreshed.

2009 Tenuta Frescobaldi di Castiglioni, Tuscany, Italy - $25

This week’s second Italian is a red blend from one of my favorite Tuscan producers; Marchesi de Frescobaldi. The 2009 Tenuta Frescobaldi di Castiglioni, which was awarded 91 points by famous wine critic James

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Suckling, is a classic Bordeaux style blend with an Italian twist. It consists of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, with the 10% Sangiovese at the end making it uniquely Tuscan. The grapes are sourced from Frescobaldi’s 320 acre Tenuta di Castiglioni Estate, which is located in the municipality of Montespertoli in the province of Florence. 

The beginning of the 2009 Tuscan growing season brought endless rainstorms, which severely tested the vineyard staff as they labored to balance vine growth and control pests. Luckily, a warm summer and close-to ideal conditions in the fall meant optimally-ripened grapes resulting in a great harvest. After blending, the wine was aged for 12 months in oak barrel allowing for all the flavors to come together. The result is a fantastic wine – a real dinner wine that I want to eat something gamey with. Decant for an hour and enjoy the deep and concentrated savory flavors. On the nose I detect chocolate covered black cherries as well as an earthy component, while on the palate the fruit becomes much brighter with noticeable acidity. This is not a fruit bomb but a deliciously dry and balanced, medium + bodied savory red.


Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question. Follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook to stay connected to the local wine scene or sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.


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