Today’s topic is whether it makes sense to write about wines if people can’t buy them. I understand there are many sides to this issue, principal among them is who is your audience. I don’t make money from this blog and never write about wines that I am paid to promote in some way. I do promote wines though and do send samples to other writers. Some accept samples that aren’t yet available for purchase and others do not. I respect that view and each writer knows who they are targeting.
For me, writing on this blog is really about education and information. Sometimes I write about the price of a wine, sometimes I indicate where it can be found by linking to wine-searcher.com but most of the time, I am writing about a region or winery to inform people about a wine, a grape or an area. I’d love to hear others views on this idea.
This brings me to today’s wines which are from a very small DOC in Tuscany called Terre di Casole. I decided to put off my exploration of Vernaccia for a day or two and write about a couple of other consortium first. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Anteprime which were held in Tuscany in February. The first day of the tasting is dedicated to smaller DOC and DOCG areas in Tuscany. I tried many wines that day and discovered many gems as well as a Consortium I had never heard of, which surprised me.
Terre di Casole was given an official designation in 2007. The area is in the Val d’Elsa which lied between Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra and San Galgano. It’s a varied area in terms of its geography. To the east, it is protected by the Montagnola Senese and the south-west by what are known as the Colline Metallifere. It’s a hilly area where vineyards are planted together with wooded areas, olive groves and other fields. Most of the viticulture is organic and sustainable in these parts. Sangiovese is both King and Queen as one might expect. In the Terre di Casole Rosso wines, Sangiovese must be a minimum of 60% of the blend. When it is listed as Terre di Casole Sangiovese, it must be 100% Sangiovese.
Many producers within this area are allowed to use the Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG denomination as well but decided that they wanted a special designation and even stricter rules for the Terre di Casole DOC. For examples, vines for wines labeled Terre di Casole DOC must be at least five years old or have reached their 5th year of life. When Riserva is added to the label, the vines must be seven years old. Some of these wines are exported. I found these listings on wine-searcher.com. The consortium website, here, is also a hub for tourism which is interesting. Four producers are part of this doc at the moment.
I really enjoyed the three wines that I tasted. This first one from Podere Stebbi was their Vino Rosso 2016 – Terre di Casole DOC with 90% Sangiovese, 5% Colorino and 5% Canaiolo. It ferments and ages in stainless steel. It was easy drinking wine and one I can imagine enjoying at their beautiful restaurant.
The next wine was called Alberaia, an IGT Toscana 2015 from Pietro Caciorgna of Tenuta delle Macchie. Made from 100% Sangiovese, it had cherry, violet and floral notes with lovely spice undertones as well. It aged in 2nd use barriques. The soils in their area are sandy and rich in magnesium. Their website is very interesting and the family has a fascinating history. They raise all sorts of animals and crops on their 20 hectares. The label is actually an image taken from a Benozzo Gozzoli fresco in the Cappella dei Magi fresco in Florence. I love that fresco and was trying to see it again during that week in Florence. Coincidences…
The third wine I tried was by Podere Santa Maria, It was called “Il Generale” and is comprised of 75% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, 5% Pugnitello, 5% Colorino and 5% Foglia Tonda. I love indigenous varieties so I was excited to see Pugnitello and Foglia Tonda in this blend. The Pederzolli family bought “Podere Santa Maria” in 2001. I suspect we will hear more about this region in the coming years as more people visit. They seem to have many activities for tourists and often that brings wine tourists and the rest is history.
I myself have never visited Colle Val’Elsa but have been conscious of it for many years as I have friends who live in the area. Now that I have read more about it, I can’t wait to go. These wines were an interesting discovery for me and I hope they will be for you as well.