Subscribe to our mailing list

 

HOURS
Normal Hours:
Mon 9-7
Tues-Sat: 9-7:30

 

DELICIOUS, SALUMI-WORTHY ITALIAN CHILLABLE RED

GORGEOUS GEW▄RZTRAMINER

BEST BUYS
Good Wines for $5-$15

CAPOVILLA
OUTSTANDING GRAPPA

FAVARO ERBALUCE
Cool Italian White

SPECIAL BOTTLING
VACQUEYRAS "ORA"

CABERNET VALUE

AMAZING ALBARIĐO

CAB DRIVER'S CARmenere

SOULFUL RED RHďNE

SURPRISINGLY GOOD TEN BUCK MERLOT

BIGFOOT CABERNET

COOL PORTUGUESE WHITE WINE

2007 VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE 

CIRO' BIANCO!

CHAMPAGNE DE
MERFY

A FIESTA OF A TEMPRANILLO

OBSCURE ITALIAN RED

CI┘ CI┘
PECORINO

COOL VERDEJO

FLASHY RED BORDEAUX

NEW STONY SANCERRE

MAN, OH MAN, WHAT A WINE!

ELEVEN BUCK
AMADOR ZIN

STYLISH WASHINGTON MERLOT

SLEEPER of A CHARDONNAY

SUSSUDIO ???

SARDINIAN WHITE

REMARKABLE PINOT

LAKE COUNTY ZIN

STELLAR NEW ARTISAN RIOJA

NICE LITTLE PINOT $9.99

STONY RIESLING

MARSELAN...A HYBRID OF CABERNET & GRENACHE

CASTEL├O BARGAIN

STELLAR BLAUFR─NKISCH ESTATE

CAMPANIAN DELIGHTS

COLORFUL ZIN

DOURO DYNAMITE

PORTUGUESE RED BARGAIN

GRAND SYRAH FROM AN UNUSUAL PLACE

WHITE BURGUNDIES OF NOTE

MARSANNE BARGAIN

CHERRYISH TUSCAN RED SALE $12.99

PROSECCO FOR ADULTS

BILLIONAIRE'S WINES UNDER $30!

BARGAIN WHITE BORDEAUX

PIERCINGLY GOOD
WHITE

TOP OF THE LINE
CREMANT

ANOTHER RULLY GOOD WHITE

RESERVE QUALITY RIOJA

BARBERA OF NOTE

SUPER VERONESE SALE $12.99

PIEMONTE'S GRAND VIN BIANCO?

DELICIOUS, FRESH ROS╔S

GREAT GRUNER VELTLINER

GOOD ELEVEN-BUCK CHIANTI

FLOWERY, CURIOUS RED

OLD FAVORITE KIWI SAUVIGNON IS BACK

OLD PATCH RED
ZIN BLEND

MONCUIT'S GRAND CRU CHAMPAGNE

HONEYED MUSCAT

SPICY 
GEW▄RZTRAMINER

Napa Valley Grape Info
2002

2010

Amazing FRENCH CIDERS

FIZZY LAMBRUSCO

 

 

HOME PAGE

AMERICAN WINES

CALIFORNIA PINOT NOIRS

RHONE WANNABEES

ZINFANDELS

SAUVIGNON BLANCS

MERLOTS

OREGON WINES

CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAYS

CALIFORNIA CABERNETS

RIESLING & GEWURZ

WASHINGTON STATE

CANADIAN WINES

Adventuresome  Wines

ROS╔S !!

FRENCH WINES
ALSACE
BEAUJOLAIS
RED BORDEAUX
WHITE BORDEAUX
RED BURGUNDY
WHITE BURGUNDY
RHďNE VALLEY
THE FRENCH ALPS
SOUTH OF FRANCE

LOIRE


CHAMPAGNE

 

ITALIAN WINES
PIEMONTE

VALLE D'AOSTA

NORTHERN ITALY

CENTRAL ITALIA

TUSCANY

SOUTHERN ITALIA


SPANISH WINES
Spanish Sherry
& Other Delights


PORTUGUESE WINES

SWISS WINES

GERMAN WINES

AUSTRIAN WINES

ARGENTINA

CHILE

AUSTRALIA

NEW ZEALAND

SOUTH AFRICA

OBSCURE WINES

DESSERT WINES

CHAMPAGNES

HALF-BOTTLES

SPIRITS

CIDERS

BEER
Even Real "Bud"!

OTHER STUFF

WINE TASTING

WHAT'S OPEN


UPCOMING TASTINGS

TASTING RESULTS
  
NEWSLETTER

SHIPPING INFO

ETC.

 

TASTING REPORTS

HOW TO ORGANIZE A BLIND-TASTING

BLIND TASTING ARCHIVE

MY 2013 EURO WINE ADVENTURE BOOK

CHATEAU MONTELENA "DREAM TASTING"
January 2018

CHATEAU MONTELENA
VERTICAL


ALBA WINES EXHIBITION 2007

ALBA WINES EXHIBITION 2008

SCHRAMSBERG vs THE FAMOUS FRENCH

German Wine "Master Class" Tasting

UNIQUE VERTICAL TASTING OF VOLLRADS RIESLINGS
1945-2015


S & M FOR WINETASTING GEEKS

TEAR-WAH
TASTING

2017 SF
INTERNATIONAL
WINE 
COMPETITION

2016 SF
INTERNATIONAL
WINE COMPETITON

2015 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2014 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2013 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2012 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2011 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2010 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2009 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2008 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
Periodically Amazing

2007 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
The Nose Knows!

2006 SF INTERNATIONAL  WINE COMPETITION.
SPIT HAPPENS

2005 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION.

2004 SF WINE COMPETITION TASTING

The 2003 SF WINE COMPETITION

2002 SF WINE COMPETITION TASTING 

A Vertical Tasting of Nalle Zinfandels

 

 

ETC.

RANTINGS & RAVINGS

WINE ROADS of EUROPE

Food/Wine/Friends
A Photo Gallery

MASTER OF WINE ESSAY TOPICS

Old Bottles: A TASTE OF HISTORY

Bob's Venetian Diary

Bob's Paris Notes Updated Spring 2007

Wine Writer's Confession

NEW "CULT" WINERY

Some Restaurant Reviews

HOW TO SELL WINE.
Info For Brokers and
Wine Distributors.

HOW TO HOLD A TRADE TASTING

$100,000 WORTH OF WINE MARKETING ADVICE:  FREE!
Mainly for Foreign Vintners

MOLDY CORKS

Study Reveals Experts Taste More Than What's In the Glass!

OKANAGAN VALLEY WINE TOUR-2010

BRIAN'S 2005 SUMMER VACATION WITH UNCLE

Gerald's Tour de France 2006

GERALD'S TOUR DE FRANCE 2008

A TOUR OF PORTUGAL-2009

HOW TO SPEAK BETTER ITALIAN

PEDRONCELLI
90th ANNIVERSARY

PONZI'S 40th
ANNIVERSARY

VINITALY

ROOSEVELT'S 2005 CHILI COOK-OFF

ROOSEVELT'S 2007 CHILI COOK-OFF

Grape Goddess

Ross Bruce Birthday

ALESSIA DALL'U

FRANCESCA & CAROLA
CALLIGARO


CCIV

FAQs

BURLINGAME

Links

 More Tuscan Wines

 

CA' MARCANDA
Some years ago the famous Piemontese wine mogul, Angelo Gaja, ventured into "foreign" turf in expanding his wine empire.

He purchased a couple of vineyards in the far-away region of Barolo.  

Having spent money elsewhere in Piemonte, Gaja set his sights on Toscana and purchased a Montalcino estate neighboring that of his favorite Brunello producer.   And Gaja also moved into the neighborhood of the "aia's" near Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast.  The "aia's" would be "Sassicaia" and "Ornellaia."  
I first visited the region shortly after Gaja started to construct a winery.  Not much there at the time.

But, my, how things have changed!

I ventured out to see the estate on a bright, clear spring morning.   "Now I know where all the money we've spent on Barbaresco have gone!" I mentioned to Signor Gaja

"No," he said, "really, my wallet is not full of money...I spent a lot to build the Ca' Marcanda facility.   You have helped and are responsible for maybe a corner of the winery!"



Here's a view from atop some of the facility...a portion of the cellar is "under ground."

Art work is displayed all around the winery.


Here's some wood that's not being used for barrels.



This is my kind of "art work."

 



 
Gaja and his architect, Giovanni Bo, built what looks like a mass./mess of train tracks.   I don't know if grappa was involved in drawing up this "design," but a bottle of such a distillate would explain a lot.


Fire extinguishers on the lawn were also perplexing.


Here's another sculpture.


This was, for me, the sort of "art work" which makes the most sense.

 

There are three wines being produced presently.

The entry level wine is called "Promis," because they see a lot of promise in the wine from this region.  It's typically 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah and 10% of some curious grape called "Sangiovese."   We tasted the 2004 on my visit and the wine is was very nice.  So's the 2005, just released...It displays red fruits and a bit of cinnamon.  Promis is not a heavy or profound red wine.  In Italy it's 24.  Here Promis is supposed to sell for about $52.  We have a few bottles in the shop and have shaved the price to encourage customers to try it.
 
The "middle" tier red is called "Magari," a term Italians use when saying "Maybe" or "we hope so."  Gaja's Magari is half Merlot and one-quarter of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.  This wine is a major step up and very close in quality to their top-of-the-line "Ca' Marcanda" red.   The wine opens nicely with a bit of aeration and displays some brown spice tones.  Medium-bodied.  Elegant.   We usually have a few bottles in the bin.
 
The Ca' Marcanda wine is a much smaller production, so "scarcity tax" comers into play.  This wine is half Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc.  The wine spends about 18 months in barriques and then gets a year of bottle aging.  It's a lovely wine but sells in the U.S. for a premium, of course.  Not quite as costly,  though, as Sassicaia.


Currently in stock:  2004 CA' MARCANDA "Ca' Marcanda"  (list $165)  SALE $149.99
2004 CA' MARCANDA "Magari"  (List $65) SALE  $55.99
2005 CA' MARCANDA "Promis"  (List $52)  SALE  $44.99

 

 

 





LE BOCCE

We have tasted various vintages of wines from the Le Bocce estate over the years and the wines are usually of good quality.

The wine is a 'classic' style...it's not beefed-up with Cabernet, Merlot or Syrah, nor is it a wine showing much in the way of wood.  

Typically Le Bocce Chianti is a rather standard blend, with Sangiovese predominating along with a bit of Canaiolo and a few percent of Malvasia and Trebbiano.  If they're "watering" down this wine with white wine, you would hardly know it!  

The aromas are deep and show dark cherry notes and a mildly dusty note.  On the palate, this is medium-bodied, with but a mild bit of tannin.  That, of course, smooths out when paired with savory foods.
 
 

The wine is matured in large, traditional botti.
"We're not in the business of selling vanilla.  We sell Sangiovese here."


This 2014 is nice now, especially if you can give it an hour in a decanter.  It's a medium-bodied Chianti, well-suited to tomato-sauced dishes thanks to its snappy acidity.  It will cellar nicely for several more years...not a big, complicated wine and not one fortified with Cabernet or Merlot to make it taste "familiar" to newcomers to Chianti.  Instead they add about 5% of Canaiolo, a local grape which is traditionally blended with Sangiovese.

Currently in stock: 2014 LE BOCCE CHIANTI CLASSICO  SALE PRICED  $14.99

 
 


 


MANTELLASSI
This is  a leading estate in the history of the Maremma wine region in south-western Tuscany.

Ezio Mantellassi began his personal crusade for the wine from this part of Tuscan, an obscure outpost, certainly, back in the late 1950s.  The family had made wine for decades, having moved to the region back in the late 1800s, but selling it was an entirely different issue.  Nobody wanted this wine.

Mantellassi had given the name of the wine as "Morellino" and he had more success selling his products to Swiss and German merchants than he did in convincing the locals to buy the wine.  Of course, today this is ironic, since producers of fine Chianti, Vino Nobile and Brunello now are owners of vineyards and wineries in the Maremma area!  

It's a good drive from Florence to the Maremma.  You'll put about 200 kilometers on your car.  Even if you don't have kids in the car to sing out "Are we there yet?!?!," you'll be wondering the same thing.  

A local importer brings in some of Mantellassi's wine.  A simple Sangiovese featuring a photo of some guys you'll see in virtually every little village in Italy.  I don't care whether you're in Piemonte or Toscana, you'll see a bench someplace which has a group of old guys sitting on it.  They may be discussing their latest meal or the wine they tasted the other day, the latest soccer match or how the government is really mucking up the world.  I can assure you they are not debating the numerical point scores of Robert Parker or The Wine Spectator.  Life's too short for crap like that.
 
The wine called "Maritma" comes from the 2015 vintage.  And what a delicious and satisfying bottle this is, especially when you consider it set you back seven dollars and forty-nine cents.  Medium ruby in color, the fruit fragrances are of dark cherries.  No oak.  I find it a shade smoother than our simple Chianti wines, but your mileage may vary depending upon what foods it's paired with.  

Currently in stock: 2015 "MARITMA" SANGIOVESE  $8.99


They DO make some wood-aged wines, but Maritma is not one of them!

 

 

PIAZZANO
The town of Empoli is probably unknown to most American wine-drinkers.  I suspect few Italians know it as a wine-producing area, though the town is certainly famous.
That's because when spelling a word with the letter "e," an Italian will say "e as in Empoli."  

So now you know.

Piazzano is located on the outskirts of Empoli, a few minutes' ride south of Vinci.  Otello Bettarini built a small astronomical observatory there in the late 1940s.  Today you can observe the vines growing, particularly Sangiovese.  There are about 33 hectares of vineyards at Piazzano and the place is still run by Bettarinis.   Rolando and Mrs. Rolando.

The region is subject to the marine-influenced climate.  Bettarini told us that one year, 1989 to be exact, they found their vines covered with sea salt as the wind had blown inland with some vigor that year!

We were impressed by the terrain of their vineyards and their apparent dedication to quality.  

We saw well-manicured vines, cropped sensibly in order to obtain good quality grapes.  We did not see huge masses of fruit weighing down the vines.




They make a delicious Sangiovese which comes under the name of Ventoso, as the wind tends to whip over hill and dale, especially in November.  Rolando says the wine also has a drop of Canaiolo, Colorino, Ciliegiolo, Malvasia Nera and NO Cabernet!  It's not matured in French oak barrels, either, so if you're looking for something which tastes like every other Super-Tuscan, this ain't it.

The Piazzano Team.
 

They actually have a small tasting and sales room at the winery.
 

They planted some Syrah recently and this shows much promise...dark and spicy!

 

Though we saw some French oak barriques, we were impressed that Piazzano's wines still retain their identity was "Tuscan" and well as their Sangiovese "typicity."
 

They make some Vin Santo, too...very fine, indeed.
 

Rolando is making good wines in a zone which hasn't been especially prestigious.
As a result, the wines tend to be "good values" as so many consumers only know "Chianti Classico" as a premium wine.  (This is good for smart shoppers who drink what's in the glass and not what's on the label!)
 

Tuscan bread and a bottle of good Chianti!
 

We accepted Rolando's invitation to stay for lunch...I think they were all so shocked to have visitors from California come to see the place.  Most of their customers are "locals".
Pasta Toscana!


A Tuscan stew with veggies and vino!.  
 

Vin Santo from Piazzano is, indeed, very good.  Especially with Tuscan "biscotti" such as "Cantucci."
The Vin Santo, by the way, is made of Malvasia, Trebbiano and an obscure variety which seems to be somewhat common in this region, San Colombano.  The grapes are harvested in mid-September and dried until late January/early February.  The wine is matured for about 2 years in small wood barrels, typically chestnut and acacia cooperage.


Ventoso is intended for immediate drinking, not long-term cellaring.  The 2004 vintage was a good one, the fruit maturing evenly and to a good level of sugar without being too strong.    It's a lovely, cherryish Sangiovese which tastes like Tuscan Sangiovese.  The importer doesn't keep this in stock regularly, so we're currently sold out....

The Rio Camerata Chianti is routinely very fine and it gives the more costly wines from the Chianti Classico region a serious challenge.  

We also like their delicious Vin Santo...some half bottles are currently in stock.

Currently in stock:  PIAZZANO 2004 "Rio Camerata" Chianti (List $15)  Sold Out
PIAZZANO Vin Santo (List $35) Sold Out (375ml)



The next winemaker at Piazzano.

 

 

BACK TO OUR MAIN TUSCAN PAGE

BACK TO OUR HOME PAGE

 

winepour.gif (12696 bytes)Wine Tasting Today

TO INQUIRE ABOUT A WINE:  
 
Copyright ę 1999    WEIMAX  June 19,  2018