Wine for october - Under $25
Saladini Pilastri, Rosso Piceno 2010 (about $10)
The Marche (mar’ kay) region in east central Italy may well be Italy’s least heralded wine region. Since most of the region is mountainous, not much wine is produced here and what wine is produced has historically been overshadowed by wines from other close-by regions such as Umbria and Tuscany. Consequently, wines from this region are not especially well known in the U.S. - or even outside the Marche region for that matter.
Nonetheless, the Marche region has 11 DOC and one DOCG zones. Rosso Piceno (roh’ so pih chae’ no) is, along with Rosso Conero, one of the Marche’s best red wines and the most abundantly produced red wine. The Rosso Piceno DOC is a sprawling zone extending from the region’s southern border into the central provinces of the Marche region. The regulations specify that at least 85 percent of a Rosso Piceno DOC wine must consist of Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes while Trebbiano and other local red varieties can make up the remaining 15 percent. Typically, the Sangiovese adds body, bright acidity and structure to the blend while the Montepulciano contributes fruit flavors and spice notes.
The Saladini Pilastri estate is located in the rolling and sunny hills near the ancient town of Spinetoli, approximately 8 miles from the Adriatic coast. The estate includes a splendid country house that dates from the 1400’s surrounded by almost 800 acres of property, the majority of which is planted with vineyards and olive trees. Substantial investments have been made in recent years in updating the vineyards and wine cellar and implementing the latest winemaking technology.
The Saladini Pilastri estate is committed to minimizing its impact on the environment and has since 1994 been rigidly following sustainable, low-impact organic farming principles. No artificial fertilizers or pesticides are used in the production of any of the estate’s products.
Saladini Pilastri’s Rosso Piceno is made from a blend of 70 percent Sangiovese and 30 percent native Montepulciano grapes exclusively. The grapes are hand-harvested in early October, fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged for six months in large oak casks.
The 2010 Rosso Piceno has a deep ruby color with a rust-colored edge that makes it look older than it actually is. The wine is full-bodied and rich with lively berry fruit supported by soft tannins. This is a wine to be served with roast meats, game, lamb, lasagna and other full-flavored dishes. It would, for example, be a great accompaniment to roast pork tenderloin with rosemary.
The ’10 Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno is a great introduction to Rosso Piceno wines. While it’s not especially complicated, it does have a warm and seductive personality. There’s a lot of wine to love here at a terrific price.
Tua Rita, “Perlato del Bosco” Rosso Toscana 2009 (about $30)
The coast of Tuscany that lies to the west of Florence has a well-earned reputation as one of Italy's prime wine production zones. This marvelous stretch of land on the Tyrrhenian coastline extends from Livorno, which is west of Pisa, down to Grosseto in the south. The wines from this coastal region are among the most famous and sought-after in all of Italy.
Tua Rita is a family-run winery located in Suvereto, a small and ancient town in the Tuscan province of Livorno, on the Tuscan coast south of Bolgheri. Rita Tua and her husband, Virgilio Bisti, initially brought 38 acres of prime land here in 1984 to grow grapes and then subsequently expanded their holdings. After initially selling their grapes to local producers they decided to begin crafting and bottling their own wines for sale. They released their first vintage in 1992 to rave reviews and subsequent releases only certified their reputation as one of Tuscany’s - and Italy’s - most prestigious wineries.
Tua Rita is probably most well-known for two wines: Redigaffi, a 100 percent Merlot, and Giusto di Notri, a Bordeaux-style blend. These wines are truly exceptional and have within a relatively short period of time achieved near cult status. Their production is limited while the demand appears to be insatiable so the wines are expensive and extremely hard to find.
The Perlato del Bosco was also initially released by Tua Rita in 1992. It is a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon from the winery’s vineyards around Suvereto. The grapes are harvested in early September, vinified separately in stainless steel tanks and then aged for fifteen months in new French oak barriques.
The varietal composition of Perlato del Bosco may vary slightly from year to year due to the vintner’s blending preferences. The 2009 Perlato del Bosco consists of 60 percent Sangiovese and 40 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
It is an intensely rich and full-bodied wine with densely packed, ripe black berry and currant flavors. It is complex, balanced and elegant with good tannic structure that foretells a long cellar life for the wine - that is, if you can handle the wait. This Super-Tuscan is an absolutely delicious, seductive wine - there is simply no other way to put it.
The 2009 Perlato del Bosco makes a great accompaniment to steaks, short ribs, lamb, pot roasts and game. Try it with that special-occasion dinner involving lamb stewed in fennel or perhaps stuffed veal. The wine should be opened at least 2 hours prior to serving and decanted to remove sediment.
October 8, 2012
To view other wine of the month selections, see Monthly Wine Reviews