~ The Gorgeous Vines of Podere Sapaio ~ 

Passion. Precision.  Harmony with nature and leaving the land better than he found it.  This is owner and winegrower Massimo Piccin’s goal, in fact, his obligation.   Today, we’re looking a little deeper into the Podere Sapaio estate – a small but lovely estate in southern Tuscany near Bolgheri that has crafted a Tre Bicchieri wine for no less than 7 vintages in a row!  It’s a crazy accomplishment because during the last 4 years I’ve covered Gambero Rosso,  I don’t think I’ve seen many wines there 4 times in a row, let alone 7.  Know it?  You will today.

Podere Sapaio lies in Maremma, in southern Tuscany near the village of Castagneto Carducci.  From its 24 hectares divided into 6 distinct vineyard plots, Massimo produces 2 similar wines all based on the grapes that have found such a natural home here near the Tuscan coast: Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.   

~ Massimo Piccin pouring his 2012 at the Gambero Rosso Tasting ~

Today we’re focused on his flagship wine, Sapaio and tasting the 2010 which is also a Tre Bicchieri wine.  The 2010 is 70% Cabernet, 10% Merlot and 20% Petit Verdot that is aged for 18 months in French barrique after steel vinification and then bottle aged for a full year before release. The result is a structured, rich wine that shows well in its youth, but clearly has the legs for aging.  

~ We had an antipasto of Ricotta Ravioli with caramelized shallots and duck bacon ~

The 2010 Sapaio is a deep purple color.   The 20% Petit Verdot in the blend contributes to the deep color of the wine.  In the glass, the wine blossoms on the nose with aristocratic pipe tobacco, smoke, black plums, fresh herbs, lavender and flowers.  I love smelling in.   On the palate, the wine is fresh, concentrated and vibrant with a deep core of black fruits, minerals, toast, cedar, anise and Christmas spices.  The full body seems subdued because of the wonderful balance, but the tannins are there in spades and the acidic structure balanced very well.   It was lovely with grilled lamb chops – as I mentioned to Massimo at Tre Bicchieri – and can be drunk now or cellared for at least 5 more years.  An excellent value.  93 points, about $40.
~ Both of Podere Sapaio’s wines sport a crown on the label as a nod to the nobility of wine and the craft of the wine makers and cellar masters ~


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