All wine reviews, Italy, Tuscany, Uncategorized

Aia Vecchia LAGONE 2007

Owners: Filippo and Alessandro Pellegrini 
Winemaker: Nicola Scottini
Grape: Merlot 60%, Cabernet Sauvignon 35%, Cabernet Franc 5%.
Region: Tuscany, Italy

When I was on the road selling wines, it sometimes happened that I would come across a real steal, and present it to all my favorite customers (the wine store owners).

They loved the wine, or the idea behind it – but not all of them were then capable of passing that enthusiasm on their own customers. Or, they simply forgot about that particular wine, because somebody else showed them something else.

Maybe I should feel sad when walking to my former customer’s store just to find out that some wine, I sold them 3 years ago, still sits there. Or, at least part of the case. But instead of feeling sad, it’s just the opposite. Especially when it comes to treasures that are already sold out on the market, and the wine store (and therefore his customers) doesn’t have the clue what they sit on.

That’s how I found some rare vintages of wines that I loved and got the oportunity to buy them. Like buying your own staff back (but it really wasn’t my staff to begin with). And that’s where I recently discovered last 2 bottles of 2007 Aia Vecchia LAGONE. A beautiful wine, super Tuscan, that is truly a steal for the price!

Aia Vecchia is the name of an old building (where the company resides), located deep in the Tuscany countryside between Bolgheri and Castagneto Carducci. This is a place with perfect soil, sunlight exposure, elevation –  all those elements that, when combined, allow to grow a high quality fruit.

Family Pellegrini, who grows grapes n the area for several generations, owns 69 hectares of the land here. 48 hectares out of it are planted with vines (and most of it belongs under the Bolgheri DOC).

The blend of LAGONE was aged in various types of barriques for at least 12 months and  refined in bottle for an additional 6 months.

Tasting notes:

When I opened this ruby colored wine, and sniffed it the first thing that came to my mind was: pretty and clean. It may sound weird, like I expect the wine to be dirty but that’s not it. This wine is clean of any elements that may interfere with it. Oak, spice… all you smell is true wine.

On the palate it displayed a youthful fruit reminding me of wild berries. Medium body offers plenty of slightly spiced flavor, great acidity – and I must say it again,  nothing disturbs the beautiful fines. Velvety, elegant, perfect match to large scale of food. Finish is pleasantly long. Bordeaux blend as a super Tuscan, without any Sangiovese present? Yes, yes and yes. If you come across some, buy it. It’s worth it!

Excellent job, and even more, affordable to anybody who will appreciate it!

Dry – Off dry- Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $16.00

Suggested food pairing:

Chianti, Great wines under $10, Italy, Red wine, Sangiovese, Tuscany

Badia a Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti 2008


Winemaker: Maurizio Castelli
Grape: 90% Sangiovese, 10% Caniaolo
Region: Tuscany, Italy

See other wines from this producer:
Coltibuono Sangiovese Cancelli
Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Stucchi

This beautiful estate got its name (means “Abbey of the good harvest”) thanks to a very historic heritage. It is at least 1000 years old and the monks of Coltibuono, The Vallombrosan, may have been the first to cultivate Sangiovese grape in Tuscany.The monastery was active in agriculture from 1000 to around 1800, when Napoleon confiscated most of church properties in Tuscany. Some he gave away as political favors or to his friends, some he sold. When Stucchi family purchased it in 1841, they were only 3rd owner of the original estate.

Emanuela Stucchi, who runs it today with her siblings, are the 7th generation stewards of the property. Their biggest goal is to nurture the land (most of their vineyards are organic, all of them are sustainably farmed) and make the best expression of Sangiovese and the unique terroire of Chianti Classico.

The grapes for Cetamura were sourced from selected Sangiovese vineyards, located in the best Tuscany areas. Grapes were fermented separately in stainless steel tanks and than aged for a brief period of time in the bottle before its release. The family strive was to make young, fresh wine that reflects the high quality of Sangiovese grape in this region.

Tasting notes:
Vibrant ruby red color with a beautiful aroma of cherry and red fruit with an earthy tones. On the palate surprisingly full body for the wine that didn’t see the oak, very smooth and pleasant. Impressive expression of fruit and well balanced with the acidity. This could be very well the best Chianti in this price range. Long finish is an extra bonus (usually reserved for much more expensive wines). Wonderful home wine that wouldn’t brake your valet.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $ 9.00

Ideal food pairing:
Antipasto, My traditional lasagna, Vermicelli con melanzana, Beef Bourguignon, Philly cheesesteak Panini, Roasted salmon with creamy spinach