In the search for authenticity through ever-smaller areas of delineated terroir, one of the key qualities that the average wine drinker looks for is sometimes overlooked: drinkability! Just as blends of different grapes can sometimes be preferable to single varietals, outside of the best sub-regions, a blend from different terroirs can be the best solution for approachable and easy drinking wine.
Here are two reds which have distinct origins (Burgundy and Tuscany) but are well put-together blends from within those regions:
Maison André Goichot Naudin Tiercin Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2011 (12.5%, €14.99 from SuperValu / Centra)
Of course virtually all red Burgundy is made from Pinot Noir (apart from a little Gamay in a few places) but it does no harm to have the grape variety on the front label for those who are more casual drinkers. As a world famous region that is celebrated as the home of Pinot Noir, Burgundy has significant cachet on a label…but as can be the case in many regions, some wines are sold based on the region rather than the quality of the contents.
And on opening this bottle I thought I was tasting another such wine – acidic and lean with little fruit – oh no! But then a little more time in the glass and it changed completely – the acidity remained but was the backbone for delicious raspberry and strawberry fruit, with perhaps a hint of vanilla. I highly recommend decanting this wine and drinking just under room temperature – say 15C – perfect for a summer day!
Castellani Arbos Sangiovese Toscana 2013 (13.5%, €12.99 from SuperValu / Centra)
Good Chianti combines red and black fruit with some bitter and sour notes to make a complex, savoury whole. Sadly, poor Chianti doesn’t always have the fruit to go with the counterpoints, so it can taste austere or even harsh. There is an alternative from Tuscany (but outside of the Chianti DOC regulations) at the less expensive end: IGT Toscana.
The Castellani family produce some serious Chiantis, particularly from their own estates, but they also produce more accessible everyday wines such as their Arbos Sangiovese. The Arbos is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes bought in from other growers (based on my reading of their website) but subject to strict quality control. It has Sangiovese’s classic cherry, strawberry and raspberry notes with a little spice, yes, but with a super-smooth mouthfeel. Drink with steak, pasta or a friend!
This is the best IGT Toscana I’ve tried by a country mile!
Disclosure: both wines kindly provided for review