Sunday, December 27, 2009

Corte Alla Flora - Red Wine Cultivated and Bottled in Tuscany

I decided I want to pack up my family and head to Italy for Christmas this year.  There are only four of us so it would be relatively easy to pack for a week.  I had plenty of time off from work and plenty of airline miles to spare.  Stateside, snow had not yet fallen, but the chill of deep winter was in the air and snow threatened over the next day or so.  We had already had our family visits, so Christmas seemed the perfect time to abandon the hustle-bustle of the states and return to the slower pace of Italy, if only for a week.  The temperate climate, the friendly people, the delicious, soul-fulfilling food, and the incredible wines beckoned me.  It had been far too long since I set foot in Italy.  And this Christmas, I wanted to share Italy with my family.  Alas, my "real" budget (the post-Christmas budget) said I would be able to afford a quick trip to my favorite wine specialist instead, where I would have to choose a lovely Italian table wine to complement tonight's dinner - simple pasta with Italian sausage and meatballs.

With tonight's dinner, I wanted to try a wine I had never tried before, so I chose the Toscana Rosso from Corte alla Flora.  Corte Alla Flora is a winery situated in the beautiful countryside of Tuscany, Italy.  Though the winery is only about ten years old, the wines they make are as old as time.  They are vested in classic, old school, Italian wines - like Grappa, Nocino and Toscana Rosso but have also embraced today's more popular wines, including a Syrah, Cabernet, Merlot and even olive oil!

I chose this wine for several reasons - one - it is estate produced and bottled and I like to try wines from the smaller wineries; two - it was only $11.99; three - it's authentically Italian, and four - it came well recommended for a hearty pasta dish, which is what we were having for dinner tonight.  Going back to estate produced and bottled and why I look for that in a wine.  Typically, an estate-produced wine is going to have better quality control and the winery will take more care in its production.  These wines are produced from grapes that are only grown at that specific winery.  They don't buy grapes from other wineries to blend, or produce a wine.  Also, estate-produced wines generally mean a smaller production.  And in my experience, I've just liked them better.

The wine itself, 2007 Podere Del Giuggiolo, Toscana Rosso, is a very dry, red table wine.  Corte alla Flora starts this wine in oak casks, then ages them for 6 months in stainless steel, then 6 months in the bottle.   Once poured, the deep cranberry color is edged in brown hues within the glass.  I refrigerated the bottle for 20 minutes, then corked it and let it sit for about ten minutes.  I think it's dry, with a slight hint of oak and red fruits.  Delicious with a simple rustic, pasta and sausage meal.  It didn't seem overly complicated and my impression is it will improve with age.

It is a very nice introduction to Tuscan reds, as it is relatively straightforward and would be quite drinkable with pasta, cheeses, and spicy dishes.

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