~ Peering through woods on the Tolaini Estate – Castelnuovo Berardenga ~

When you merge relentless passion with excellent terroir and energetic winemaking, you’ve got the essential groundwork for success.  Such is the formula at Tolaini, a picturesque estate in the hills of Castelnuovo Berardenga with which we are quite familiar with here at TuscanVines. 
Over the next few weeks,  we’ll be spotlighting many of the recent releases from this excellent winery and today we’re focusing on their wonderful Super Tuscan, Valdisanti.

~ The copse of trees on the Tolaini estate that are featured on the label of their Super Tuscan, Al Passo.  This picture illustrates well, the complete utilization of space that you see all around Tuscany.  Vines in the foreground, then two rows of olive trees framing yet another vineyard ~
Valdisanti is a blend of 75% Cabernet, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc.  Although some consider it to be a “poor man’s Solaia” I don’t find that comparison apt because Valdisanti easily stands on its own.   After the 2008 received its Tre Bicchieri award from Gambero Rosso, the stage may have been set for a let down.  But the 2009 is a very worthy successor.
The fruit for Valdisanti comes from two of Tolaini’s premium vineyards,  San Giovanni and Montebello.  The grapes are hand harvested and whole cluster fermentation is carried out partially in stainless steel and partially in French oak.  Aging takes place in French barrique, only 70% of which are new. 16 months of aging in barrel are followed by 12 months in the bottle before release.
The 2009 Valdisanti is a deep garnet color – nearly opaque in the center of the bowl.  Decanted for 60 minutes, the wine emerges with aromatic notes of red plums, fresh herbs and floral notes.  Very pretty.  On the palate, the wine impresses and surprises a bit for its early accessibility.  There’s a concentrated core of velvety plummy fruit, that has notes of cedar, freshly turned earth, and dried herbs.  Balanced well with finely grained tannins,  vibrant acidity – like many youthful Cabernet based Tuscan blends,  this one is behaving very much like a Cabernet at the moment.  I suspect with additional cellaring, more complexity from the Sangiovese will emerge.  This is not a bruiser, but a more elegant expression of Cabernet but the pieces are in place for graceful aging.   91 points, about $40 retail.  Disclosure:  This bottle was an importer provided sample. 


~  The 2009 Valdisanti : Note the depth of color in the decanter.  The wine paired well with grilled pork tenderloin, but with the Gorgonzola Dolce in the foreground,  the fruit in the wine came screaming to the fore!  ~


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