“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” …. Galileo Galilei

The ICEA Seal Appears On The
Back Label of Each Villa
Graziella Bottle

What a simple and poetic expression from “simpler” times.  Today, crafting wine is science (some good, and some emphasizing intervention).  Then, on an especially good day, you meet up with someone from Villa Graziella and you realize there are people who still respect that simpler philosophy, that simpler understanding of Galileo.  Minimalist intervention, organically grown grapes, organic farming. Almonds (see note below), olive oil – there’s not a lot going on here on the farm in Montespertoli (Mon-Tay-Spear-Tow-Lee) in Tuscany that hasn’t been going on for twelve generations except, in our modern times, to say “organic” requires certification.  And Villa Graziella has that.  The estate has been certified organic and sustainable since 1997 by the ICEA (Italian Environmental & Ethical Certification Institute) and has earned re-certification with every vintage since.

Demographics tell us it is the millennials that care most about this. But it’s safe to assume that everyone cares about how the wine works at the kitchen table (or dining room).  And I found it works in both environments, not to mention picnic tables and tables at the beach. Being labeled as Rosso” (The literal translation of “Rosso di Toscana” is “red [wine] from Tuscany”), it is assumed by many to mean “common” or somehow lesser in quality.  Add in that “IGT” is an acronym for indicazione geografica tipica, which rendered into English, means “typical geographic indication” and one might understand how others could take that all together to mean the wine is not superior.    But let’s remember that “IGT” is also how the “Super Tuscans” were originally and still are classified due to regulation limiting permitted grapes used in their blending.  This rosso is from Tuscany, but the only common thing about it is its price. In terms of price to value, this rosso is definitely superior.

Point being you may find this wine a surprise and deliciously so regardless of whatever demographic you find yourself within.  I grew up with simple rosso wine made by Italian neighbors. But this wine was not that.  No rough edges.  Integration was seamless.  The inclusion of 5% Canaiolo and Colorino (both permitted in the Chianti DOGC and included in the wines of Amarone della Valpolicella for example) add color and some tannin to firm up the wine’s structure, while the Canaiolo contributes softness to the finished blend. Nonetheless, this is Tuscan wine and the blend is comprised of 95% Sangiovese (specifically Sangiovese Piccolo). 

Not The Best Pairing But A
Good Example Of How Well The Wine
Works With Food
The juice is aged seven months in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks to preserve its aromatics and freshness, making it a perfect summer red. And Sangiovese is a high acid grape making it food-friendly by nature.  Perfect for charcuterie and other casual enjoyments. But I was using whatever was on hand and so made a pizza with whatever ingredients were left over from a previous meal.  Worse, the pizza was not in the style of Southern or even Central Italy: In fact, even the crust was made from almond “flour” (horrors!).  I topped the crust with buffalo mozzarella, basil pesto, dabs of goat cheese and grated Fontina and Parmesan Reggiano.  As I said, I was using what I had on hand and had I any olives, they would have been included.  Despite having no red sauce, the wine did well with this simple meal.  Simple but well-crafted healthy food paired with organic wine.  While the meal wouldn’t win any culinary stars, the wine elevated the meal.  And that, really, is the point of wine made by Villa Graziella: wine that tastes better with food. Food that taste better with wine. 

So what to expect upon opening a bottle of this wine?  Personally, I’d expect to either decant it or allow it to breath for some time allowing the wine to open up and display its aromatics.  Enjoy its light garnet color in the glass, tipping you off to this wine being an enjoyable refresher and one benefiting from being slightly chilled. You’ll be rewarded with notes of black cherry and blackberry as in a compote.  Cranberry and juicy plum tempt the senses and the perfume finishes with a suggestion of anise.  On the palate, I enjoyed a seamless meld of red fruit led by cherry.  The wine is medium bodied with vibrant – but not biting – acidity which is the key needed to unlock the flavors of food.

A Perfect Pairing
Consider enjoying this wine as an alternative to Beaujolais and Pinot Noir.  From the patio to the picnic table, slightly chilled, you’ll find this wine a welcome accompaniment with casual plates.  After tasting it, I later paired it with a charcuterie and it was perfect outdoors at a picnic table lakeside.  With barbecue baby back ribs? Delicious!

BBQ Ribs. Another Perfect Pairing, But Let Your
Imagination Guide You.

Taste this wine and taste the simpler times of, perhaps, your yesterdays, your lineage, or, perhaps, just a rediscovery of what wine was meant to be and can be again - for you

………….. Jim

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Villa Graziella:  
Region:                       Tuscany
Appellation:                Chianti Colli Fiorentini di Montspertoli, Provence: Florence
Producer:                     Luca Nesi
Wine Make/Enologist:Fabio Signorini
Altitude:                      300 meters (984.25 ft) above sea level
Exposure:                    SE
Soil:                             Calcareous
Training:                      Spurred cordon w/small amount Guyot vine training
Blend:                          90% Sangiovese Piccolo, 5% Canailo, 5% Colorini
Vine Age:                    1985
Density:                       4000-5000 vines per hecatare (9884-12,355 Acres)
TA:                              3.6
pH:                              5.95
ALC:                           14%
Vinification:              12-15 days maceration of hand selected grapes at controlled temp of 24-26C (75-79 F) with soft extraction and frequent punch downs.
Aging:                          7 months 18-20C (65-68F) Temperature controlled stainless
Vineyard Practice:     Organic: Cover cropping between rows with beet root, broad beans, lentils, mustard, rye grass, sweet peas, cow pies and sheep dung compost.
Farming Since:             1797, Family Managed
ARP:                             <$13. U.S.

Note: The almonds referred too (skinless Marcona) are roasted in the organic olive oil produced in Montespertoli but the olives (Marcona) are grown in Spain. 

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