2011 Querciabella Mongrana
Sangiovese (50%), Merlot (25%),
Cabernet Sauvignon (25%)
Maremma Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy
Super Tuscans are probably new to a lot of people reading this. Unless you want to be fully educated over at Wine Folly, here are the only three things you need to know:
1) They are delicious
2) Often outrageously priced
3) This wine is not outrageously priced
I found this on sale at Whole Foods for $15, a hell of a steal, given that most online shops are selling it for $20-25.
The back label describes this as a "delicious fruit-driven blend from Querciabella, the benchmark for the ethical production of fine wine." Quite a claim, no doubt, though further research online confirmed Querciabella's impressive sustainability credentials, including certified organic vineyards that have been biodynamically farmed since 1997. Querciabella even started their own initiative to combat colony collapse disorder called Bee Biodynamic. Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni, the owner of Querciabella and a vegetarian and animal rights activist for 30 years, is a strong proponent of biodynamics but he is openly critical of it as well (see recent World of Fine Wine article). His opinions are nuanced and thoughtful, a refreshing alternative to the nonsensical idiocy that plagues many discussions about biodynamics.
This took 30 minutes to open up in the glass but it evolved nicely over two hours. The nose is wonderful, dominated by dried cherries, an attractive dustiness, and enticing, well-integrated oak/wood. This is classic Super Tuscan, with bright acidity coming from the Sangiovese and plush fruit from the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The label describes this as fruit-driven on the palate, which is the case, but it's also juicy, a bit spicy, and has a nice grip from the tannins. It's well-balanced and has a medium length finish. A few years in the bottle has allowed this to harmonize nicely.
If you're already a fan of Super Tuscans, this is an excellent value. If you're a newbie, you will be hard-pressed to find a better introduction. I'm notching it down as Highly Recommended, especially if you can find it for $20 or under. Can't wait to taste more of their wines.