lost in wine—la spinetta

We were lost… again. Our Fiat 500, whom we dubbed Bean, sped through the winding Tuscan back roads with a sense of ease… if only we could navigate equally as well. We turned around once again, looking for a sign… something that would tell us we were in the right place.

The familiar sight of a small Rhino caught my eye and Bean came to a screeching halt!  We made it to La Spinetta winery just in time for our 3:00pm appointment. The winery is located in Terriccola, a small Tuscan town between Volterra and Pisa. The sweeping views across the vineyard were breathtaking and we were anxious to taste some wine!

The winemaker met us at the door and gave us a tour of the vineyard, explaining the Rivetti Family’s philosophy of winemaking… a philosophy that wine is made in the vineyard first and in the winery second.  There is a purity in the wines they make – only grapes that ripen at the same time are put into a particular wine.  Most of La Spinetta’s Tuscan wines are of a single varietal for this reason.

Our tour led us into the wine cave, lit in candlelight, glasses set out on a table in the center between barrels of aging wine.  The glasses glimmered in the candlelight… the bottles open… waiting for us. I thought I had reached a level of heaven! What a way to taste wine!

Our first tasting was of a wine I discovered just this year in Tuscany….the Toscana Vermentino, a varietal which is not often found in the US. I was delighted at the first sip!   Soft fruit with a bright, crisp acidity gave way to a subtle buttery smoothness and light minerality. I was in love! I try to explain it as taking my favorite Sauvignon Blanc and crossing it with my favorite Chardonnay—beautiful! The Toscana Vermentino 2010 quickly became a favorite in my house this summer and I cannot wait to try it with fall soups and roast pork!

We tasted through La Spinetta’s Tuscan varietals—sipping wine from both the Sangiovese grape as well as a 100% Colorino (a varietal most commonly used to blend Chianti).  I watched the last wine, a deep, dark Chianti, filling my glass. The rich aroma filled my senses… this is a wine I could sip all evening and ponder. The first sip revealed a velvety texture and rich fruit and a second later, a soft minerality reached my palate with an accompaniment of wildflowers and raspberry. The second and third sips revealed an elegance that beckoned me to slow down and contemplate. This is no Chianti in a basket covering of yesteryear… this was a complex, yet approachable wine made from 100% Sangiovese.  The Casanova Chianti Riserva 2007 is the perfect accompaniment to beef stew, roasted lamb, brussel sprouts, and weeknight pastas!  It is my favorite of the season!

Spinetta Casanova Chianti DOCG 2007
Giorgio Rivetti’s magic touch with Moscato, Barbera and then Nebbiolo took the world by storm. He produces approachable yet age-worthy wines that capture the attention of wine critics and consumers year in and year out with their lushness, concentration, aromatics and length. From his recently-acquired Tuscan estate, Casanova della Spinetta, located in the hills south of Pisa in the heart of Tuscany where the vineyards enjoy the strong summer sun and the soft breezes wafting off the nearby Mediterranean Sea, comes this incredibly well priced and delicious Chianti, which features red cherry fruit, earthy notes and firm tannins. Exactly what you want in Chianti for everyday drinking.

Spinetta Vermentino 2010
Light golden color, with a rich yet complex scent of pine and sea grass. A perfect example of Vermentino; brimming with fruits and floral notes and minerals at the end. Medium-bodied with fresh peach and lime, crisp acidity and a long finish to help show this wines true indigenous Tuscan class.

Becky Millard Lukovic is a member of Vine & Tables Wine Sales Team. She is also the founder of Bella Travel Planning; a local boutique travel and event planning company specializing in milestone events and custom travel planning services.

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 Vine & Table #301