2011 Jacopo Biondi Santi Braccale Rosso

The Wine of the Week
 by Annette Tomei

Annette is the founder of VinEducation, where she is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to EatSomethingSexy.com.

Braccale Rosso 2011, Jacopo Biondi Santi, Braccale (red wine), Toscana IGT, Italy

The Biondi Santi family name is often synonymous with Brunello di Montalcino, a DOCG designated Tuscan red wine made from 100% Sangiovese grapes grown in the region surrounding the town of Montalcino. Jacopo Biondi Santi continues his family’s heritage of making fine Brunellos, while adding a new(er) line of blended wines in the style of those often referred to as the “Super Tuscans” – blends of traditional grapes with international varietals (frequently French).

The significance of IGT

The Toscana IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) designation was the first IGT in Italy in 1992. It was created as a reaction to a group of maverick winemakers who chose to blend Bordeaux grape varietals into the traditional Sangiovese in order to achieve a more internationally competitive style of wine – now known as the “Super Tuscans”. At first, these wines were categorized as simple table wine (Vino di Tavola), until their acclaim and the prices they commanded warranted a separate category of their own. Today the IGT designation represents a middle ground between the highly regulated and all but unregulated wines of Italy. Those regulations in place are most concerned with general quality standards and are more similar to those of the New World than the Old.

This wine is made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. Aromas of rich dark cocoa and black cherry come together with a hint of clove. Lovers of dark chocolate-cherry bonbons will swoon. Those aromas carry through on the palate with a wave of tartness, characteristic of Italian wines, and lush tannins that are often characteristic of Merlot. The finish is clean with some saline minerality. This wine comes from a part of Tuscany best known for Italian cowboys and seriously good meat – enjoy it accordingly. This region is also home to a variety of flavorful salumi that pair well with this wine, bringing out its fruitier characteristics. Vegetarians can look to umami-rich roast eggplant or grilled mushrooms for a similarly delicious flavor combination.

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