Why, you ask, in the middle of a hot 95+ degree summer in New Orleans, am I writing about red wine? Because I love it when I find something so good that I don't care how hot it is outside and Italian reds are truly my favorite to drink anytime of year! And when one of my favorite Tuscan estates produces a wine of this quality at this price, how can I not write about it?
The 2007 Brancaia Tre, a Super Tuscan blend, 93 pts, #10 in the Wine Spectator Top 100, is from a phenomenal producer with vineyards in both the Chianti Classico zone and the Maremma in the southwest part of the region. Even though they tend toward a more "new world" style, no matter who reviews these wines, from Gambero Rosso to Robert Parker, Stephen Tanzer or Wine Spectator, the reports are stellar from the entry level wine "Tre" to their flagship "Il Blu". While they do produce a Chianti Classico, their main focus is on Super Tuscans. They produce three Sangiovese based blends, the Tre, Ilatraia and the Il Blu, with the scores for 2007's being the highest yet for each.
And that is of no surprise, considering that the renowned Carlo Ferrini is the consulting winemaker for the estate that has been owned by the Swiss couple Brigitte and Bruno Widmer since 1981. Ferrini consults for 13 estates, some of the most highly regarded in Italy, and has been named Winemaker of the year by Gambero Rosso in 2000 and by the Associazione Italiana Sommelier's in 2003. Combine that with the Widmer's dedication to quality and you have a spectacular lineup from start to finish.
While their wines are all quite pricey, the "Tre" offers incredible value for the money. Mainly Sangiovese, blended with Cabernet and Merlot, the fruit for this wine come from their estates in Chianti and the Maremma. It is aged for 12 months in a blend of new and used French oak which helps maintain the fresh, young quality of the wine. A very accessible wine of red and black fruits with balanced acidity and soft velvety tannins and a rich, spicy finish make this a great wine for those wanting to take the leap into Italy. Try it with Tagliatelle al Ragu, you'll be in heaven...
Wine Spectator, October 2009 Issue, 93 pts: There's wonderful intensity of fruit in this wine, with crushed raspberry and blackberry and hints of coffee and fresh flowers. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long, soft-textured finish that shows loads of fruit. Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best after 2010.
$18.99, limited supply, maximum 4 bottles/person