23 Jul la Maialina “Gertrude”
wine: la Maialina “Gertrude”
region: Tuscany, Italy
grape blend: Sangiovese 45%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30%, Merlot 25%
what does “super Tuscan” mean?
Located in warm sunny hills of Tuscany, la Maialina produces a Chianti, Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva and this “baby super Tuscan”, Gertrude. So – what is a super Tuscan? And, for that matter, what’s a baby super Tuscan?
In the 1970’s a handful of producers in Tuscany felt that the rules controlling the Chianti appellation were too restrictive. (At the time certain white grapes were required in the blend and no international grapes were allowed, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The primary grape was the local Sangiovese grape.) The fabulous and often pricey rule-breaking wines producers were crafting could only be designated as vino da tavola – table wine. The term “super Tuscan” was coined by a journalist to distinguish these wines from cheap, ordinary table wine. Now, most super Tuscans are classified under the IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) appellation that allow for producer flexibility and creativity. Although “super Tuscan” is an unofficial term, most of them are made from a single grape or a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and the traditional Sangiovese grape. “Baby super Tuscan” is simply an inexpensive super Tuscan.
According to the winery “la Maialina (little pig) references the Cinta Senese heirloom breed that originated in the Siena area during the 1300’s and is the only Tuscan native pig to survive extinction.”
average vineyard age: 15-20 years
grape varieties were fermented separately in concrete vats then blended and aged for 10 months in French barrels.
This wine offers remarkable value for the complex flavors it delivers. (The 2012 vintage retails for $14.95.) A bright acidity supports robust flavors of grilled meat, fennel, spice, black cherry, dark chocolate and tobacco into a satisfying, lengthy finish.