Chef Stevie Parle’s Dock Kitchen on Ladbroke Grove was the setting for a spectacular lunch yesterday in the company of one of the top Super Tuscan (IGT) producers, Tua Rita. We were delighted that owner Stefano Frascolla could be on hand to introduce the estate and provide great insight into a selection of mature and younger vintages.
Situated in the Maremma on the west coast of Tuscany, Tua Rita are widely acknowledged as being one of the finest exponents of international grape varieties in Italy producing only a small amount of the traditional Sangiovese. Situated near the sea the marginally cooler climate that this part of Tuscany enjoys is influential to the cultivation of some truly outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
I hadn’t tried the first wine in the range, Perlato del Bosco 2011, before and what a wonderful introduction to the range it is. 2011 is the 1st vintage where 100% Sangiovese is used and Cabernet totally omitted. This a beautifully balanced wine illustrating coastal Sangiovese at its very finest. Soft and elegant with layered red cherry, rhubarb and cranberry fruit, a touch of spice and a fine elegant finish, this was a great match to the Bresaola, grilled asparagus and courgette trifoliate starter.
2011 Perlato del Bosco
“The 2011 Perlato del Bosco is soft, open and accessible. This is a textured, resonant style of Sangiovese typical of the Tuscan coast in its breadth and volume. The warmth and resonance of the vintage comes through in spades. Dark red cherries, licorice flesh out on the dark, savory finish. This is a fabulous effort for the year.” 93pts Antonio Galloni
Next up one of my favourite Italian wines of all and one I’ve been fortunate to try on a few occasions, the Giusto di Notri, The Giusto is made from between 60-65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25-30% Merlot & 10% Cabernet Franc. The cooling influence of the sea is instrumental in giving this wine a more refined, elegant and mineral style. There is serious depth and appeal here and at approximately a third of the price of Sassicaia, it really is a sensational buy in my opinion. Both vintages showed well although the 2011 will surely be the better of the 2 in time. Cellar for another 10 years and it will be sublime. We enjoyed these alongside a plate of Gnocchi with Pesto and Green Beans.
2011 Giusto di Notri IGT
“One of my favorite Tua Rita wines, the 2011 Giusto di Notri sees 60% Cabernet Sauvignon blended with 30% Merlot and a smaller component of Cabernet Franc. Inky dark and impenetrable, this is a hearty Tuscan red to pair with a succulent slab of charcoal-grilled steak and spicy barbecue marinade. The wine is exceedingly soft and opulent with gorgeous tones of black cherry, rum cake, crushed granite, cured meat, leather and exotic spice. This is a huge wine, in a resoundingly positive way that rewards a beautiful and intense drinking experience. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2028.” 94+pts Antonio Galloni
2005 Giusto di Notri IGT
Nice, fresh. Enticing aromatics waft from the glass as the 2005 Giusto di Notri opens in the glass, revealing a full-bodied, supple personality imbued with an attractive warmth in its expression of blueberries, spices, mocha, minerals and toasted oak. Though a smaller-scaled Giusto di Notri in relative terms, the supple texture and caressing, generous qualities are those of a first-class wine. Giusto di Notri is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc.” 92pts Antonio Galloni
Next up, one of the great 100% Merlots produced anywhere in the world, Redigaffi. Tenuta dell’ Ornellaia err towards bigger, opulent and more concentrated flavours with their Masseto, however with Redigaffi there is a freshness and balance of acidity that gives it a much more refined, less new world feel. The complex layers of fruit achieved here are quite phenomenal and I can only say that this is one of the most seductive Merlots I’ve ever tasted, full of dark ripe plum, with hints of violet and a fresh floral edge. Both the 2007 from double magnum & 2004 from magnum were tasted alongside Beef Sirloin, Tuscan roast potatoes and braised greens, and proved a superb match. I’d urge anyone interested in top notch Merlot to put a case of this into the cellar and buy up the 96 point 2011 while you still can (£835ib per 6).
2007 Redigaffi IGT
“The 2007 Redigaffi (Merlot) is totally seamless in its opulent dark plums, blackberries, chocolate, new leather and French oak. The wine turns deeper and richer in the glass, showing off its considerable structure, depth and richness. Over time, the clarity and inner perfume come to life, rounding out this magnificent Redigaffi. The 2007 is a Redigaffi built on understated elegance rather than sheer power. Silky tannins frame a long, refined finish. This is a wonderful effort from Tua Rita. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2020.” 95pts Antonio Galloni
2004 Redigaffi IGT
“The inky-colored 2004 Redigaffi, 100% Merlot aged for 16 months in new oak, offers expressive, nuanced aromatics along with sensations of richly-textured blue and black jammy fruit, minerals, mint, chocolate, spices and sweet toasted oak on big, powerful frame with notable underlying structure and a warm, resonating finish. Although it has enough structure and acidity to drink well for another decade or so, I enjoy Redigaffi most in its youth. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2016.” 94pts Antonio Galloni
To finish with, a wine that I hadn’t tried before, the Syrah IGT from 2005 & 2007 served alongside Devon Blue, Gruyere and Cosne de Port cheeses. Only 3000bts are produced each year so understandably all are sold upon release. The Syrah exudes pepper, blueberry, dark plum and grilled meat and has to be the best of this varietal produced in anywhere in Italy. An unbelievably impressive wine that explodes from the glass and a finish that lasts for eternity. There’s little between the 2007 & 2005 bar different stages of maturity; qualitatively both are fabulous wines that I would defy anyone not to enjoy. Put your name down for the new release!
2007 Syrah IGT
“The estate’s 2007 Syrah explodes from the glass with cracked black pepper, cured meats, blueberry jam and sweet spices. This is a remarkably muscular, full-throttle Syrah that offers exceptional balance and tons of complexity. Mineral-infused black fruit, graphite and crushed rocks are some of the nuances that inform the long, refreshing finish. In 2007, the Syrah is Tua Rita’s flagship wine. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2027.” 96pts Antonio Galloni
2005 Syrah IGT
“As in past recent years, I find the 2005 Syrah the most compelling wine in this line-up. A veritable kaleidoscope of mint, cured meats, cracked black pepper, chocolate, earthiness and dark fruit emerge from this gorgeous effort. Remarkably layered and complex in a vintage that did not favor Syrah, this sumptuous wine possesses superb balance in a full-bodied style, with beautifully integrated tannins and tons of harmony. The 2005 Syrah spent a year in 100% new French barrels, followed by a second year in 100% new French barrels, but the oak is deftly balanced. Though not inexpensive by any sane definition of the word, I consider Tua Rita’s Syrah an essential wine for any well-stocked cellar of the finest Italian wines. In just a few years it has emerged as a reference-point wine for the region, as well as Tua Rita’s top bottling.” 94pts Antonio Galloni
This was an unforgettable day as a touch of warm Tuscan sun came to W10!