|Tasting the wines of Helena Lomazzi, right, with Cyril from Le Verre Volé, left.|
A sparkling Chianti.
Alright, it wasn't exactly a Chianti. It was Toscana IGT. But had it not been sparkling, it would have qualified in terms of grape percentages, at least. La Colombaia's pink Vino Rosato is 70% Sangiovese, with the rest made up of other once-typical Chianti blenders like Colorino, Malvasia Nera, and Canaiolo.
In contrast, what marginal whites and rare sparklers are produced in Tuscany have, in my experience, almost all relied on the lamentably dull Trebbiano di Toscana grape. (Italy is home to about a zillion different grapes called Trebbiano, only a few of which are interesting. The di Toscana variety is not one.) Meanwhile, I've encountered the odd Tuscan rosé of Sangiovese or Ciliegiolo, but nothing remotely impactful. My expectations were at zero for this wine.
Fermented and aged in bottiglia, with no added sulfur, La Colombaia's Vino Rosato actually compared very favorably to a range of fractious biodynamic Champagnes on the other end of the table. It had great grinning cherry-grapefruit tones, and a blooming-but-controlled bubble structure, and it made me wish I still had an Italian wine list to play with. It would have been a total shoe-in.
A totally indulgent side note: at my former Michelin-starred Italian restaurant workplace, it was my unfulfilled dream to offer a Broken Chianti tasting, which would have been prohibitively expensive, and which would have consisted of an Isole e Olena Cepparello (100% Sangiovese), a Bibi Graetz Canaiolo di Testamatta (100% Canaiolo), and a Casaglia Rosso by Marchese Pancrazi (100% Colorino). It would have been a 50 dollar over-conceptual red-teeth gimmick, but a fun one.
*Two bottles of Frank Cornelissen's feral Etna wines were knocking around, but the man himself was across town having what was by all accounts an epic lunch with my friend J.
53034 Colle di val d'Elsa
Siena - ITALIA
Catherine Vergé at same AVN Grand Dégustation