Thirteen years ago yesterday, The Greatest Wife In The World and I were married. Appropriately, the heavy rains came down all afternoon, just like it did on our wedding day, reminding me of the image of my bride-to-be sprinting after her veil that the wind took off of her head. It was such an authentic reaction in the moment of crisis. To mark each passing year of glorious wedlock, I do my best to search for wines that drink well from 2006 so we can celebrate. This year’s choice came from the ancient property of Tenuta di Capezzana: Carmignano Trefiano.
This property in the Carmignano region, just 10 miles from Florence, has been making wine since 804 A.D. Capezzana was the first to introduce Cabernet Sauvignon into the vineyards of Tuscany. The grape thrived here thanks to the land being situated at lower altitudes than nearby Chianti areas; this leads to more warmth, allowing Cabernet Sauvignon to fully ripen. The resulting success made the wines of Capezzana (and more broadly, Carmignano) popular throughout the Renaissance Era all throughout Western Europe.
By 1975, Carmignano became a legally recognized region of wine production. Other Tuscan properties were beginning to experiment with Cabernet Sauvignon in blends with Sangiovese, leading to the concept of “Super Tuscans.” However, producers were forced to label those wines with the broader appellation of “Toscana” since Carmignano was the only demarcated region at the time allowed to have Cabernet Sauvignon. Carmignano had the jump on everyone else on this style, though by 1996 other regions like Bolgheri and even Chianti allowed Cabernet Sauvignon to be part of blends.
2006 was, and still is, an outstanding year for Tuscan wines. If you are a fan of older wines, take advantage of what Tuscany has to offer across the board: Brunello di Montalcino (Banfi), Carmignano (Capezzana), Chianti Classico Riserva (Rocca delle Macie), Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Fattoria del Cerro), Bolgheri…these are all drinking well right now. While I realize that I spend a lot of time shining the light on lesser known regions that deserve your attention, returning to the classics is important, too. Tuscany’s cherry fruit flavors, earthiness, and herbaceousness are so friendly with tomato-based dishes (where Sangiovese dominates), and the aged examples become more leathery and savory and are satisfying on their own or with a hunk of Parmesan. As The Greatest Wife In The World would say, these wines “taste Italian”…the wines express authenticity.
I have no tasting notes to provide you on Capezzana’s Trefiano yet; once we find a day where we are not traveling for work, doing wine dinners, or attending/leading classes, we’ll offer some data for you to chew on. In the meantime, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of Tuscan red wine with a 2006 vintage. Just note that securing a bottle could be difficult as available stock is irregular from market to market, but the producers I named parentheses above are usually the most readily available without (too many) exorbitant ($100+) price tags; those wines keep you in the $30-$90 range.
If you aren’t looking to drop that kind of cash on a wine, well then you have another way to approach Tuscany, and Carmignano in particular. If you want to explore Carmignano for a fraction of the cost, go for Capezzana’s Barco Reale di Carmignano, a red wine made from younger Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc vines along with little aging. The current release is from the 2014 vintage and is ready to drink now for about $16. The result is a fresh, vibrant wine wirth dark fruit flavors, gentle tannins, and refreshing acidity.