Like many wine geeks, wine lovers, winos or however we like to describe ourselves, I drink a lot of wine. I always promise to write about wines I like but sometimes it takes me ages to do it. That is the case with this wine, tasted in December 2008 with Mike Reilly, a fellow recipient of the Diploma from the International Wine Center. Mike was my neighbor at the Diploma dinner held at I Trulli in December. The dinner is a really lovely event held each year for those who have received the Diploma from the Wines and Spirits Education Trust, a rigorous wine study course which lasts for at least two years although many are on a slower path. It’s a nice way to celebrate and meet others who may not have been in class with you. I received my Diploma in July of 2008. During the years that I studied at the Center, I met a lot of great people. One of my favorite people, Jason Carey, is currently featured on the Wine Center’s website. In any event, one nice thing about the dinner is that everyone brings a favorite wine. I Trulli has a great list as we all know but for the dinner, the wines are brought by former students. Mike brought the Filare 41 2002. I had never heard of it. Tenuta Casa Dei is located in Suvereto which is part of the Val di Cornia in lower Tuscany, somewhat near the city of Livorno. I have been to the area many times when I lived in Florence, specifically to San Vincenzo, a lovely little sea side town on the Golfo di Baratti which also has a splendid a pine forest. This area is known as the Costa degli Etruschi. The Island of Elba is often visible from the seashore as well. Many wonderful wines come from this part of Tuscany. Val di Cornia is a very small DOC with some big names such as Tua Rita and Gualdo del Re.
While I love indigenous varietals, I am absolutely not a strict traditionalist and also enjoy wines made from international varieties, yes even some “Super-Tuscans.” I try to judge wines on how they taste and on how well they are made not on who rates them and what their point scores are or how much they cost. I like wine and I love to try all kinds. I have found that Petit Verdot, a traditional grape from Bordeaux, is a key ingredient in many wonderful wines from this area of Tuscany. The soils in this lower part of Tuscany, the Maremma, are said to be similar to that of Bordeaux in that they are a mix of gravel, sand and clay. The soil in Suvereto contains a lot of minerals as well. Filare 41 is made from 100% Petit Verdot. The grapes are hand picked and spend 16 days macerating on their skins after a long fermentation period of 6 to 8 days in stainless steel. The wine is aged in French oak for 15 to 18 months. The wine was just delicious, filled with spice and lovely red fruit berry aromas and flavors. It also had a hint of that earthiness that I favor in a wine. I couldn’t find the wine in a number of stores but was told that it can be found at I Drink Wine, a store dedicated to limited production wines. The wine is expensive and not for everyone perhaps but I truly enjoyed it. Thanks Mike.