Thursday, November 15, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: Sipping Some Tuscan Bargains

I have freely admitted before that I am a bit, OK, woefully, lacking when it comes to my Italian wine tasting skills. Maybe it's because I don't think to make myself look for Italian wines specifically. Maybe it's because they all have such long hard to pronounce words on the labels (and yes, German wines do that too). Or maybe it's because I grew up in an Irish family that drank beer. I know, I know - a Winey Mom from a bunch of beer drinking Irish folk? Hey, it happens.

So, when some folks from Banfi contacted me, I was a little bit intimidated. Banfi? That big, well known Italian wine name? Tuscany? That magical land spoken of in hushed and reverent tones by foodies and wine lovers alike? Gulp. On the other hand, it will be the rare region that intimidates me into turning down free wine. So I accepted.

So very glad I did too!!! My first forage into the Tuscan landscape came in a bottle of Col di Sasso (2010, 13%, Tuscany, Italy). It's a blend (and we know how I love my red blends) of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. Col di Sasso means "stony hill", so that gives you an idea of where these grapes were grown. It's a bright cherry red in color around the edges - a deeper red in the center. The nose was of cherry and grape jam. Those came through in the taste, as did some blueberry and a hint of something darker. Cocoa maybe? It had a nice balance to it and finished of warm tannins on my tongue. Very nice, these tannins. They allowed the fruit to shine through, but let me know there were around as well.  I'd never had this particular blend before, not to mention from Italy. So was it any good?

Hmm, how about if I say "vino fantastico"? Translation: awesome wine. Or you could translate it as "go buy some now". Oh, and if I tell you that this wine retails for around $9 a bottle, would that help in the translation? Sip it alone or, since we are fast approaching Turkey Day, sip it on Thanksgiving. It would pair well with a big old roast gobbler. 

(Quick side note here: As luck would have it, I attended a wine festival shortly after tasting Col di Sasso, and I kid you not...take a look at the picture and the size of the bottle of Col di Sasso I found. Sadly, it was not for sale. And to be honest, it was really heavy. But don't think I didn't consider a well timed (if not well concealed) theft for a split second.)

Whew. I'd gotten through the red. Now it was on to the white wine offering. This came in the form of Le Rime Pinot Grigio (2011, 12.5%, Tuscany, Italy). It was a very pretty pale, summery yellow-green color that gave off an aroma of melon, tart berries and tart citrus. And that taste!! Lemon and lime, some kiwi, an edge of fine minerals with just a hint of sweetness (honeysuckle) at the end. It felt tangy and juicy in my mouth and pretty much made me want to run right out and book a flight to Tuscany for next summer. I will buy this again and again. And yup, it retails for around $9 as well. Win-win situation, huh?

OK, I'm hooked. Italian wine is now on my repertoire...and I will actively be searching out Banfi Tuscans in the future. After all, I'm two for two with them. Up next, however,  will be a bottle of their Chianti which I am really looking forward to!

Arrivederci for now!

And cheers!

I was sent these wines for review purposes. The opinions in this review are my own. Pin It

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