~ The vineyards of Piaggia are surrounded by a sort of natural amphitheater ~

When driving through Tuscany you’re confronted with postcard like vistas at every turn. Whether it’s olive groves, cypress trees, picturesque vineyards or woods, the rolling hills lure you with all their bucolic grandeur. Yes, there is Florence; but by and large, Tuscany is an agricultural region which is easy to see.

In contrast, there is Carmignano. Unique for many vinous related reasons, Carmignano is also unique for its geographical placement. Lying just northwest of Florence, Carmignano is a very small commune that lends its name to the DOCG region. Steeped on the hills overlooking Florence, the vineyards within the zone are easy to miss. Many are shoe horned among residential areas like secluded oases. One second you’re in a tranquil vineyard, the next, a bustling residential street.

One such case are the estate vineyards of Piaggia which are tucked away neatly in a pristine amphitheater bounded by hills, terraced apartments and winding Tuscan roads.  Today, we revisit the estate to profile its recent release.

~ To the right you can see the rows of houses that line the vineyard. Nice views eh? ~

Carmignano is unique.  Many of the estates are tucked away in places where you’d never expect to find a vineyard.   It’s the smallest DOCG region in Italy topping out at only 250 acres. However, it was the first DOCG to allow international grapes to be blended with Sangiovese thereby creating the original “Super Tuscan” well before Antinori brought the idea international attention.  Piaggia owns 37 of those 250 acres, the majority of which were purchased by Silvia’s Father in the 1970s.

The 2016 Piaggia Carmignano “Il Sasso” is a very worthy successor to the stunning 2015.  This single vineyard wine gets its name from the rocky, stony road that is used to enter the vineyard.  This is deep purple in color. The nose is full of fresh flowers, crushed black stone fruits, baking spices and lavender. The vitality to this wine is notable.  It’s always fresh and lively and this is no exception.

Flavors follow the aromas with graceful purity and generous concentration.  The black fruit of the French varietals assert themselves, yet you cannot miss the pipe tobacco and new leather that add a distinctive Tuscan accent.  Sapid, and a bit more than moderately tannic, I suggest a year in the cellar will benefit this wine and the patient drinker.  Still quite an incredible value around $25 though the price is finally starting to creep up.  Il Sasso is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet and 10% Merlot.  92 points.  Find this wine.

~ Something about the flame under the pasta pot catches my eye in this shot. Sort of like a culinary photo bomb ~

Salute!  and….. Arrivederci L’Inverno!

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