Stefan, Manager at Majestic Wine Worcester, explores one of his favourite Italian wine regions; Tuscany…
In my opinion, Tuscany is one of the best regions in the world in terms of art, beauty, food and wine! Famed throughout the world for its cultural centres Florence, Pisa and Siena, it is also the home of Sangiovese. The grape is the only one that can be used in Brunello di Montalcino and is the base for the blends used in Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the famous Super Tuscans such as Tignanello and Sassicaia. Prices for the differing styles vary drastically, from low end for basic Sangiovese up to exclusive prices for the best Brunello’s and Super Tuscans.
Of the famous hill top towns in Tuscany (the region is undulating, one factor which makes the scenery so stunning) I’ve been lucky enough to visit both Montalcino and Montepulciano. My trip to Montalcino wasn’t solely wine related: I was there (along with a few thousand others) to watch the finish of a Tour of Italy cycling stage on a day where the weather was Biblical, with torrential rain, wind and a shroud of mist cowering over the town. Just walking around you could feel the importance of wine in everything in the town, and a real pride in their wine. The same can be said of Montepulciano, with stunning views from the town across the rolling vineyards. A fair few of the producers have their own shops off the quaint square, so I managed to have a look in a few, including Poliziano, my personal favourite.
I’ve decided to showcase a couple of examples of the differing styles of Sangiovese from this area.
The first is the Banfi Mandrielle Sangiovese, on offer at £5.99 if you buy 2 or more, down from £8.99. This is a soft, ripe and juicy expression from the acclaimed Banfi stable, with plenty of ripe cherry flavours making this a perfect partner to Tomato based Pasta dishes.
The second is the Avignonesi Rosso, the house wine of the Montepulciano based Avignonesi estate. Comprising of Sangiovese blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this wine displays more body and weight along with a complex cherry and blackcurrant flavour. Complimenting Beef dishes, this is excellently priced at £7.99 when you buy 2 or more, down from £9.99.