Spotlight on Sangiovese: Perazzeta Rita Montecucco Sangiovese 2006
I’d never heard of Montecucco before drinking this wine. It is a DOC in southwest Tuscany on the river Ombrone growing classic Tuscan Grapes, with whites focused on Trebbiano and Vermentino and reds on Sangiovese. Wines labelled “Sangiovese”, like this one, must have at least 85% of that grape in the blend.
The Middle Road: Of Oak and Sangiovese
I think one of the most appealing aspects of Italian wine is its ability to be bitter and sweet simultaneously. This mouthwatering quality is present in the best Sangioveses as well. Even as a grape that takes well to oak (it doesn’t seem to take in the flavours as much as other varieties), it is important to ensure that the oak aging doesn’t overpower the wonderful bittersweet fruit flavours that naturally occur in the grape.
On the one hand are more traditional wines that focus on herbs, bitter cherry, leather and tobacco while on the other, more modernist hand, are wines that get into darker, sweeter fruits and greater opulence. I find that these modern wines, aged in new oak, can often change the wonderful bitter and textural firmness of Sangiovese into creamy, sweet wines that may appeal to certain palates but that also lose the authenticity of the grape.
It is all the more impressive, then, to taste a wine that deftly manages to integrate new oak with Sangiovese without losing its indigenous traits. It also helps that Perazzeta’s selection standards are high, keeping only about ⅓ of the fruit on the vine for vinification, and that the terroir is an interesting mix of river stones, quartz and ancient marine shells. The wine sees 12 months in new French barriques.
An impressive nose of leather, minerals, dark cherry, tobacco and leaves. The palate brings out some darker red fruits because of the new oak aging. The wine is balanced well, though it needs to pair with heavier foods compared to a classic chianti or old-oak aged Sangiovese.
While I liked this wine, I found it interesting how the oak toned every flavour characteristic differently, transforming the juice from its unadulterated peppy self into a richer darker, creamier wine. 14.5% abv
Very Good to Very Good+
~$35 at Everything Wine