Tuscany Saturday

In the shadow of a worldwide pandemic some things become more meaningful or, to be more precise, regain their meaning. Often during the last 12 months I have found the wines that I'm drinking from across the world have been more transportative than ever before. The smells and flavour profiles of truly terroir driven wines trigger memory of place, people and food, made all the more sharply defined by the fact that they've been unattainable beyond the simple pleasure of a glass of wine. Its reminded me of the why wine is such a special thing - a mix of craft, food, art, nature that combine to produce something much, much greater than the sum of its parts.

So, when I was deciding where we should go with our first tentative steps back into the public tastings I thought of Tuscany with a focus on its vinous blood, sangiovese.

Tuscany is one of the most evocatively beautiful and rich regions on the planet. It's as if it has been blessed with just about everything a human being could ever want. The rolling hills and gentle light, the twin jewel Renaissance cities of Florence and Siena, the abundant and verdant forests smelling of earth and wild herbs and a climate that can grow just about anything. Which leads me to the food, rustic and life affirming - grilled meats, deep ragouts of wild boar and silken pasta all the perfect foil for Tuscany's vinous gift to the world, sangiovese!

This offer takes a small giro around some of the most important wine sub-zones of Tuscany with a focus firmly on sangiovese and where it finds its most compelling voice. There are of course, wines of the Chianti sub-zones of Classico, Rufina, Colli Senesi as well as wines from the southern star villages of Montelpulicano and Montalcino and then a couple that have achieved notoriety outside the established zones. Beyond that, the only theme is that its a grab bag of producers and wines I love.

The focus is on the 2017 and 2018 vintages (with a 2015 and 2016 thrown in for good measure). These two vintages are quite different in personality with 2017 being a warm year producing more forward and rich wines - no problem there for sangiovese - and 2018 which has always struck me as a vintage which shows fresher and floral aromas and almost demure and elegant weight in the mouth. They are in many ways perfect company for each other.

I hope you enjoy the offer, and I would urge you to grab some of the wines therein. Evocative and authentic wines never go astray and who knows when another pandemic might come along!

Michael McNamara