2019 Castellinuzza Piuca ‘Il Vegliardo’ Toscano Rosso
Region: Tuscany > Italy
Grapes: Sangiovese, Malvasia
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: certified organic farming, 550m elevation, terraced vines, rocky, gravelly soil. Co-harvested and co-fermented in small stainless steel tanks, 8-10 day maceration, aged 10-12 months in cement tanks.
Winemaker: Simone Coccia
The story of the Coccia family is truly special. After decades of sharecropping, they were finally able to purchase the land they’d farmed for generations in the 1960s. It is like what we might now call an agriturismo – a fully functioning farm with several small homes on the property, along with vegetables, grains, olive trees, cows, chickens and of course, grape vines. There is even a mill to grind the grains they grow to bake bread. Needless to say, dinner with the Coccias is an unforgettable experience! The farm also happens to be located in Lamole, a commune within the traditional boundaries of the Chianti Classico zone where the highest quality Sangiovese originates. Simone, the current winemaker, produces a delicious DOC Chianti Classico but what struck our fancy was the IGT Toscana Rosso - ‘Il Vegliardo’. It is a field blend of 80% Sangiovese (roughly – there are likely small percentages of other red grapes present as well), and 20% Malvasia (again, roughly – even Simone does not know what they all are!). The grapes are harvested at the same time and co-fermented, then aged in cement tanks for 10-12 months – similar to how Chianti Classico used to be made when the family first made the farm their home.
While we respect the various consorzios for creating the DOC rules, we love it when producers stick to the tried and true methods of the past, especially when the result is so delicious. As soon as the wine hits the glass, we smell the bright cherry fruit, cedar spice and black pepper. Then it’s seriously down the hatch- slightly chillable, fruity, fresh but also with a touch earthy spice and tannin. It is one of those wines that makes an impact from start to finish, so you never want to put it down! We are drinking this all the time, but particularly with grilled fish, late summer picnics and north Indian curries!