My theme this year is Old World/New World, and guests will be bringing sparkling, riesling, merlot, pinot/burgundy, shiraz/syrah and fortified wine. We will pour a glass of the new and a glass of the old, and have a chance to sample the two styles of wine making side by side.
When I first chose the wine list, I thought it would be fun to do an old world chianti and new world sangiovese. Maureen came back with the news that trying to buy a new world sangiovese in Ontario is like insisting on buying a banana grown in North America. Possible, but not likely to produce good results. Argentina grows a good sangiovese and there are pockets in California, but yields are so small they are generally not available in our LCBO. So chianti is off the list.
Maybe a Super Tuscan?
The term is a bit scoffed at on some of the sites I'm googling. I guess the category was over-marketed a bit, or perhaps some of the more traditional producers saw it as a passing fad. Imagine, mixing French grapes with Italian!
Cabernet – Merlot – Sangiovese is the composition of many of the 'Super Tuscan' wines of central Italy. The one I chose for the tasting is Rocca di Frassinello. The consultant I was speaking to suggested it, partly because it was in my price range. Doing due diligence at home, though, I see mine was bottled in 2009, with the release date November 26. It will be 'just' ready, with the recommendation to drink between 2014 -2021. I think I'll wait a couple of years for this one to mellow.
Interestingly, 2009 was the first year we went to the Mediterranean, and we almost didn't make it because of a volcanic eruption... which also made it a fantastic year for old world wines. When we were in Tuscany in 2011 we went to a tasting and enjoyed the chianti, brunello, and Super Tuscan right at the vineyard. Loved them all!