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Sangiovese: Lush and Lively

A Tuscan classic, this rich wine (with an even richer history) is intriguing and elegant. Find out which one has been selected to be part of our Signature Collection.

Of all of Italy's great wines, few are as revered — or as expensive — as those from the area surrounding the pretty hill town of Montalcino. The pampered vineyards that spread out below the town's ancient walls primarily grow the Brunello grape, a local name for a clone of Sangiovese that is native to the area. As required by Brunello regulations, it's the only varietal that goes into the renowned Piccini Villa al Cortile Brunello di Montalcino.

Rich, dark and heavy, the wines of Brunello require 24 months of aging in oak barrels and a further three years in the bottle before they're released — and can easily be laid down for many more years after that. 

A testament to its quality, Brunello di Montalcino was the first wine to receive Italy's Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), the highest level of recognition and guarantee of provenance an Italian wine can achieve. 

The DOCG certification and the extensive aging process mean that Brunello wines are always in high demand and never cheap. But the Piccini Villa al Cortile Brunello di Montalcino is one of the great bargains of the area, according to Igor Ryjenkov, MW, LCBO's Category Manager of the European Wine Portfolio. “I want to stress the credentials of these wines,” he says. “The 2010 vintage of this wine, the vintage we launched with, was scored 94 points by Decanter magazine in the fall of 2015. It's a fantastic value.” 

These wines are deep in colour while remaining bright and lively, never opaque. “The aromatics are similar to Chianti,” says Ryjenkov, “in that it's the same grape, just a different expression of it.” Along with red fruit aromas typical of Chianti, these wines offer mature notes of walnut, chestnut and leather — a result of the élevage, or maturation between fermentation and bottling. On the palate it's quite deep — almost regal — with a long, poised finish.” 

A classic Tuscan wine like this deserves a classic Tuscan pairing and few things capture the luxurious, elegant simplicity of the region's cooking better than steak Florentine, lightly brushed with rosemary and served with cannellini beans and lemon wedges. “A little pasta with an arugula salad on the side with this wine as a pairing and you're all set,” says Ryjenkov. 

 

 

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