After a recent discussion with some fellow wine afficionados about Carmignano and the lack of attention paid to those wines, I decided it was time to re-visit them.
Carmignano may be the smallest DOCG zone of production in Italy, as there are approximately 250 acres to the entire area.  Of these about 37 belong to the estate of Piaggia, the subject of this post. The Piaggia estate was created by Mauro Vannucci in the mid 1970’s and is located in the gently rolling Tuscan hills, just about 10 miles west of Florence.  By law,  Carmignano can be blended with Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot and was the first Italian DOCG to allow such foreign grapes into a blend – way before the first “Super Tuscans” appeared on the scene. 
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Carmignano, but you will all now benefit from my tasting.  The 2008 Piaggia Carmignano “Il Sasso” comes from a single vineyard of the same name on the Piaggia Estate.  Following the Bordeaux tradition, the wine is a blend that follows the percentages of the vineyard planting.   “Il Sasso” is 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot.  The wine is dark brick red in the glass, with a slight copper/orange hue at the rim. The nose of this wine is utterly captivating. Each time I swirled and smelled the wine, there was a different aroma to be found.  Crushed berries, newly turned earth, suede, licorice, dried herbs, flowers, ground spices, espresso and sweet tobacco. Nothing short of fascinating. In the mouth, the wine is equally impressive. There’s a ripe core of juicy, delicious wild berries, joined by tobacco, herb, earth and spices. The acidity is juicy, and leaves your mouth watering for more. Tannins are in balance and frame the entire package lending structure to this very medium to full bodied wine.  Plainly, this wine blew me away; I cannot overstate it. Back  up the truck.  96 points.  About $22.   You can read more about Piaggia here: Piaggia Carmignano

2008 Piaggia Carmignano “Il Sasso”

With this wine we had a simple dish of pasta with sausage and broccoli, but also the season’s first harbinger of summer:  fresh Caprese salad.  Although this dish had a slightly different take than the traditional Caprese, as I also incorporated some amazing yellow heirloom tomatoes.  So fresh, so delicious, it’s almost a shame that something so great can be so simple; yet equally, so apt.  

Insalata Caprese:  Red tomato, yellow heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and balsamic salsa
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