2013 Brancaia "Tre" IGT Rosso Toscana Super Tuscan

Year: 2013

Producer: Brancaia Winery

Region: Tuscany, Italy

Grape(s): Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

Alcohol: 13.5%

Body: Medium+

Dry/Sweet: Dry

Tasting Notes: Dark fruit, cherry, spice, coffee

Pairings: Barbecue, pizza and pasta dishes, aged hard cheeses, mushroom risotto

Price (approximately): $17


My Musings:

This week we are bargain hunting in Super Tuscan Territory.

Originally crafted by winemakers who refused to follow the traditional Chianti appellation requirements, Super Tuscan blends have developed cult followings for their delicious, approachable and uniquely-styled wines. Super Tuscans became so popular, in fact, that the Italian wine regulations established a separate distinction primarily for Super Tuscans - Indicazione Geografica Protetta (or "IGT") - that contained less stringent requirements, thereby affording vinters more flexibility in the winemaking process. Cult wine followings often, though unfortunately, share one common characteristic - exorbitant price.  Quality Super Tuscans are no exception, with a price tag typically in the $30 range and higher. Not exactly a bargain wine for the weekday table.

Occasionally, however, an affordable Super Tuscan comes along that carries all of the characteristics that make this style so popular, yet priced to keep a few extra dollars in your pocket. Enter the 2013 Brancaia "Tre" Rosso Toscana.

This wine is a blend of 80 percent Sangiovese, with 10 percent each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. An inviting medium ruby color with a bouquet of black fruit, cherries, coffee and spices. The palate is greeted with a soft, round flavor profile, elegant tannins and balanced acidity. A thoroughly enjoyable wine and excellent introduction to this cultish collection out of Tuscany. For less than $20, pick up a few bottles to enjoy with some pizza, pasta dishes, or even a barbecue in the backyard. It is a very versatile wine that can be enjoyed on many occasions (and with many foods), from a bargain wine for the weekday table, to parties with friends or just enjoying a quiet evening with some bread and a cheese plate. One of my new favorite bargain wines!

In Honolulu, pick up a bottle at Fujioka's Wine Times or NK Wine Shop in the Chinatown District. For Big Island folks, I believe I saw this bottle at Kamuela Liquor Store a while ago. Hope there are a few bottles left!