Two Enjoyable italian Red Wines to Help Ward Off Those End-of-summer Blues
Wine for august - Under $20
Rocca delle Macie, “Sasyr” Toscana IGT 2010 (about $13)
Rocca delle Macie is a relatively young and energetic winery that has over the course of a few decades comfortably established itself as one of Tuscany’s most reliable and popular producers. While the estate’s headquarters are in Castellina in Chianti in the heart of the Chianti country, it has over 500 acres under vine spread among six wine properties throughout Tuscany. It has a full line-up of red, white and specialty wines that are marketed extensively throughout Italy and exported to numerous countries.
Sasyr is a blend of 60 percent Sangiovese and 40 percent Syrah. The name "Sasyr" is a proprietary name derived from the first few letters of the two varieties that comprise the blend. The varieties come from the estate’s vineyards in the Maremma district in southeastern Tuscany. The Sangiovese and Syrah are fermented and aged separately. A small percentage of the Sangiovese is aged in small oak casks (barriques) for 6 months. After ageing, the wines are blended and bottled for distribution.
The 2010 Sasyr is smooth, balanced, fruity and a pleasure to drink, There are no rough edges here. It has substance and balance with buoyant acidity and capable tannins. But its profusion of juicy, ripe blackberry, cherry and wild berry fruit flavors that take center stage.
Sasyr’s acidity and fruity flavors make it a very versatile companion at the dinner table. It goes well with a variety of foods ranging from vegetable, pasta and risotto dishes to roasted and barbequed red meats.
This very modestly-priced wine ranks high on a quality-to-price basis. It’s a great wine to buy by the case so you have some praise-worthy wines handy to serve at those planned or impromptu end-of-summer festivities.
Decugnano dei Barbi, “Il Rosso” Umbria Rosso IGT 2008 (about $27)
The Decugnano dei Barbi winery is located a few kilometers east of the stunning hill-top town of Orvieto in the Umbria region of central Italy. Although the winery itself dates back centuries, its modern history only begins in the early 1970’s. That’s when the property was purchased by wine merchant Claudio Barbi who then, along with the assistance of his son Enzo, completely renovated and upgraded the winery. In the process, they also adopted some environmentally-sensitive vineyard management practices that exclude the use of insecticides or chemical treatments, minimize use of pesticides and emphasize use of organic fertilizers.
The winery produces a limited but diverse range of red, white, sparkling and dessert-style wines. The estate’s wines are widely distributed throughout Italy and some find their way to the U.S.
The estate’s ‘08 Il Rosso is a blend of approximately 1/3 each of Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Syrah. The wines are fermented and aged separately with 1/3 of the wines aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. The wines are then blended and refined in the bottle for an additional 6 months prior to release for sale. The wine has 14.5 percent alcohol by volume.
It is a generous wine with ripe plum and black fruit aromas, full body and sweet tannins that display a judicious touch of oak. While full-bodied with plenty of grip it doesn’t lose its sense of style and subtlety. It’s a serious red wine that easily competes with other Sangiovese blends carrying much higher price tags.
It is a great wine to accompany roasted or barbequed meats, stews, game and hard cheeses but is also a delightful wine to enjoy by itself while idling away the late summer days.
Decugnano dei Barbi’s “Il Rosso” may be hard to find in some markets. If so, you should enlist the assistance of staff at your favorite wine shop and have them special-order it for you. It’s worth the extra effort.
Auguest 8, 2014
To view other wine of the month selections, see Monthly Wine Reviews