Friday, January 27, 2012

Winestein: Geography benefits Tuscan wines

Tuscany is a region in France. In the map above, it's the dark region in the whole country of Italy above. From the Times-Tribune: Winestein: Geography benefits Tuscan wines For more than a week, the eyes of the world have been fixed on the coast of Tuscany and the spectacular images of the Costa Concordia cruise ship on its side after it ran aground on the island of Giglio. Following the dramatic coverage and seeing the jagged coastline of Tuscany and thousands headed to Tuscany to see the wreck, it led me to think about the wines of the region. Tuscany's association with the Tyrrhenian sea is the secret of its wine quality. Tuscany enjoys a warm, Mediterranean climate, yet is far enough north with rolling hills that temper the heat and allow grapes to develop a food-friendly acidity. As in California, surfing and a relaxed lifestyle are hallmarks of this coastal region. Tuscan wines may be designated as from "Maremma" which means by the sea. The Tuscan subregion has soil outcroppings comprised of fossilized seashells. Miles inland, it's not uncommon to see ancient sea shells in the soil. Checchi Bonizio 2009 Sangiovese di Maremma is sweet up front. Tastes of black fruit and pepper, give way to nice acids and a bit of a pucker. This is a commendable, affordable, Chianti positioned for the New World market. $10. … Gabbiano 2010 Chianti is fairly standard, inoffensive, but easily forgettable, even among entry-level Chiantis. $9. The Tuscany region's relationship to the sea is evident even many miles inland. On a clear day from the famous walled hilltop city of Montalcino, one can see the sea. I can imagine the people of Montalcino, perhaps from the Castello Banfi, focusing on the distance, wondering if they can see the white hull of the Costa Concordia. Falling somewhere between the basic sangiovese and the heralded Brunello di Montalcino, Banfi 2009 Rosso di Montalcino shows a combination of earthiness and dark fruits on a light frame with crisp acidity, if not much depth. Special order in Pennsylvania. $22. Tuscany produces whites, but they are secondary to the sangiovese-dominated reds. This time of year, when coastal temperatures are in the 50s, those Chiantis and other reds hit the spot.

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