Quick Recipes and Easy

Piaggia, ‘Il Sasso’ – Carmignano, An Unheralded Tuscan Appellation

It has finally warmed up and I had my first barbecue this season. Some friends came over and I knew they loved Italian wines, especially Tuscan wines. I wanted to find an Italian red that was classically Tuscan yet approachable enough to be loved with not only cheese, but the main course of grilled chicken. In addition, there’s always one member of the party who demands steak at a barbecue – and that was me.

I selected the 2004 Piaggia Il Sasso from Carmignano (an appellation in Tuscany just next to Florence) for its versatility as a cocktail wine as well as for its distinctive structure enabling it to stand up to grilled chicken and meat. The wine drinks elegantly and displays fabulous aromas of dark cherry and subtle hints of blueberry. These flavors are also present on the palate along with subtle spice and silky, sweet tannins.

Il Sasso may come from a small region in Tuscany, but, it packs huge, balanced flavors. In fact, Gambero Rosso has declared Piaggia as “not only one of the best wineries in the region of Carmignano, but rather, as one of the best in Tuscany.” The wines produced in Carmignano are similar to those from Chianti in that they are Sangiovese based, yet as a DOCG (an Italian wine classification based on specific rules governing viniculture), they differ in that they must include between 10 and 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.

Drink now or cellar up to five years. This wine was fantastic the next day with steak sandwich leftovers. Delight in.

Andrew Wellisch

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