Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sterpato 2007

I tasted this wine with a group, and then, coincidentally, with Norman about a week later. Everyone describes it as a Super Tuscan. What is a Super Tuscan, anyway? I know that historically, wines that didn’t adhere to the blending laws for the region question had to be sold as “table wine.” When in the 1970s some Tuscan producers experimented very successfully with international grape varieties, those wines became known as Super Tuscans. The addition of the looser IGT category to the older DOC/G system embraces some of those wines. But if I find myself with a Tuscan wine designated IGT or “vino da tavola,” how do I determine whether it is a Super Tuscan or plain old undistinguished table wine? Does the term describe a particular style and assemblage of grape varieties, or does the wine have to be in some sense “super”?

The first time I tasted this wine, I guessed it was a Bordeaux blend (i.e. mostly Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot). The second time I tasted it, it struck me as unmistakably Italian, and predominantly Sangiovese. Averaging those experiences, I'd wankishly opine that it's a nice hybrid of the international and traditional, and a true expression of its constituent grape varieties. The nose is lovely: dark red berries, stewed fruit, cedar, dried flowers, moss, dusty leather, and spices. All of those follow through on the palate, along with firm tannins and good length and acidity. I found it a bit hollow toward the middle to end palate, with a bit of an edge; but then I tend to find that with Sangiovese. Overall, it’s great value and I would buy more at the price.

Price: $22.79
Score: 89
Value: 4/5
Region: Toscana, Italia
Grapes: Sangiovese 80%, Merlot 10%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%
UPC: 8029966000512

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