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Monday, August 25, 2014

Caiarossa: Under The Tuscan Sun


Picture Credit: Caiarossa Estate

Nestled on the Tuscan coast in the Val di Cecina, Caiarossa sits as a nexus of natural beauty encompassed by its vineyards. The estate produces four wines: two reds, a dry white and a late harvest white.  I recently had the chance to taste the reds, and was impressed by their quality, and complexity, and by how food-friendly they are.

The 2009 Caiarossa "Pergolaia" Toscana is dominated by Sangiovese (87%) with the remainder being made of approximately equal parts Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It is deeply colored, ruby in the glass yet beautifully translucent. The aromatics emerged slowly.  It was a little reticent and closed when first poured but emerged over the next hour or so in the decanter, revealing cherry (fresh and dried) and herbs.  The Pergolaia possesses a mid-weight body, tightly wound, with black cherry, herbs and laser-edged acidity layered upon muscular, earthy tannins.  The palate is open-knit with no one character dominating and leaves a cleansing, bitter-toned, herby, red berry/currant kick on the finish.  All in all, at the $28 price point, this is well worth the exploration (89+ points) but I believe this will develop a little further with time. I will lay mine down and come back to them in another year or two.

The Caiarossa, the principal wine in which Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese usually constitute the majority of the blend (each approx. 20%), with the remainder made up from Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, Alicante, Syrah and Petit Verdot.  It comprises approximately half of the vineyard’s production, selected from older, lower yielding vines.

Deeper and darker that the Pergolaia, the 2006 Caiarossa issues forth wonderful aromatics of cherries berries, plum, earth, underbrush and herbs with an almost “trail mix” hint of nutty, salty, dried cherry and cranberry.  The palate is lithe and muscular, full bodied and plush with bright red fruit, incisive tart berries, leather, herbs and tomato leaf, wood and tannin. This astringency and grip of the tannin makes the 2006 Caiarossa still feel very youthful, with the wood not yet fully integrated.  (This had subsided somewhat upon tasting on day 2). I expect this wine to emerge as a champ with another few years of cellaring. The finish is long and sappy with good mid-palate density and sufficient complexity and cleansing acidity to cause you to return to the glass for the next part of the conversation. 

In terms of a score – I will hedge my bets a little and provide a range (91-94 points), in part because of price ($70) and in part b/c this is my first experience of this wine but I still might have expected better integration of the wood at this stage. Its youthful presentation, great fruit presence and balancing acidity suggest there is potential for this to reach the upper end of this score but just not yet. Watch this space. I believe there is a greater story to be told by the 2006 Caiarossa.  I will come back to mine in another 3-5 years and check it’s progress. I see this as a wine with at least 12-15 years of great drinking ahead of it. Decant and allow it to breathe if you plan to drink the Caiarossa over the next few years.

You can catch other bottle notes and pictures on my twitter account - please drop in and follow @BruisedGrape.  Your comments are always appreciated!
Disclosure:  Wine was provided as a Media Sample for the review process.

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