Introducing Sada Super-Tuscans

15 Jun

“You down with IGT, yeah you know me.” Ok, so I really wasn’t singing that on my way to the June Red White Boston Tasting Crew get-together of four new-to-Boston Super Tuscans produced by Sada Estate.

A quick word about Super Tuscans, or alternately “Supertuscans.”
As many of you know, many wine regions are overseen by a local quality control board that has a lot of kooky bullshit important, constructive regulations, benchmarks and strictures in order for a wine to get the valuable, useful, lucrative marque of being from the area (in Italy usually a DOC or DOCG designation).

Sure, it’s got benefits: you don’t want someone growing Concord grapes in Albania and calling it Pauillac. Without quality control, everyone suffers. (But, IMHO, you also run the risk of wine that kinda ends up commoditized because everything tastes like everyone else from that area.) So back in the 1960s and 70s, some Tuscany winemakers decided they were going to get all sacrilegious in a sense (yeah, rebellion!), make the wines they wanted to do, and grow Gasp! French! Grapes! And! Use! Them! In! Italian! Wines! Pearlclutching to ensue!

They added mostly Cabernet and Merlot to the mix, and guess what? The world didn’t end, and the end product kicked ass–so much so that the really swanky ones like Sassacaia charge $200 a bottle. Yowza, how’s that for high-rent district? So Italy decided to be real about the sitch and create a new local designation level called indicazione geografica tipica (IGT) which basically means “we admit it’s not crap table wine, but we’re not going to entirely give in to these upstarts and let them use our hallowed DOCG name unfettered. So nyah nyah.”

So onto the show

North End hospitality

He was playing "It's Now or Never." You haven't lived til you've heard Elvis on the accordion

Sunday night’s tasting was held at Pagliuca’s in the North End on Parmenter Street, featuring Sada’s affable, dapper maestro Signore Davide and his equally natty, hospitable son Alfonso. I don’t spend a lot of time in the North End (I leave it to the disadvantaged people who grew up without an Italian grandmother) so this was my first visit to Pagliuca’s. But they were clearly on a mission to impress as well with antipasti, live music, and the TV set to RAI.

Tuscany IGT Super Tuscans

Let the games begin!

First up, the 2010 Vermentino. Someday, I’m going to write a comic book about a wine-loving paisan mouse named ‘Tino who tells kids about wine. But I digress. Signore Davide told us “Vermentino has to have a hard life, it has to suffer.” (Like most grapes, Vermentino grows better in extreme climates. If it has an easy life, the grapes get too big and the juice literally gets watered down. You don’t want to grow tons of grapes, only good ones.) He said Vermentino is pretty fashionable in Europe right now and told us to “close your eyes, turn the glass, and feel the perfume.” I gotta be honest: I was turning that glass hard. Not the most fragrant Vermentino I’d ever had, but fine nonetheless (100%, unoaked). It was more substantial than a Pinot Grigio and had a lot more orange oil and grapefruit flavor going on. It would probably make a nice year-round white, especially at a projected $12 retail. I’m not sure it’s a “yacht wine” like Lettie Teague thinks, because I think a good Riesling would fit that bill. But anyhoo…

Sada Integolo 2009 IGT

"integolo" is Italian for happily buzzed.

Next up was Sada’s “everyday red,” the 2009 Integolo, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Montepulciano and Alicante. Signore Davide told me that in Italian, integolo means “the sensation when you go out and drink too much wine, more than you were expecting” which would be pretty easy to do with this one if you drank Bordeaux pretty regularly. Lots of black cherry, black currant, black olive, tobacco and violet flavors which were lightly structured and not oppressive, but I think for most casual drinkers, this would be a wine that would demand a little attention like a crankyface four-year-old every time you drank it.

2008 Sada Baldoro

A fantasy name, a down-to-earth wine.

The 2008 Baldoro (“a fantasy name”) was another everyday wine, also with the Cab/Montepulciano/Alicante blend in different percentages. This one was a bit heavier, with more dust, plum and savory/brambly flavors—I kept thinking of heather, actually. The purple was a lovely color, but being in the basement function room, I couldn’t get a good pic of it. Would pair nicely with osso buco for sure.

The 2006 Carpoli , named for their region of Tuscany, was a Cab Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot blend exhorted to be savored for special occasions “with your wife, your lover….” (why not your wife and lover? That would be pretty dang special, n’est-ce pas?). It’s not made every year, only when they determine the grapes are good. It spends two years in the barrel. This one had another gorgeous garnet color I couldn’t get a good money shot of. The palate was jammier, with a texture like liquid gelatin in the fridge before it sets.

Once again, Red White Boston kicks out the jams. (Seriously Cathy, if you’re reading this, I told Terry L. we’re going to be expecting limos taking us to Sonoma by the end of the year). If you’re down with Super Tuscans, what’s your favorite? And where have you bought it?

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2 Responses to “Introducing Sada Super-Tuscans”

  1. Jason Phelps June 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    I absolutely love your description of the IGT designation. Choosing the words you did made it real.

    If I didn’t know you the bit that I do I am sure I could not adequately consider the person behind the writing, but I can, and your writing expresses exactly what I know. That is one of the coolest feelings to be able to have.

    See you soon!

    Jason

    • Melanie June 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

      Jason– I appreciate the praise (high stuff indeed!) One thing I’ve always been thankful for is that people do seem to tell me my personality comes through in the writing, and that kind of authenticity is so important, right? And I appreciate you coming by and checking the humble online abode out. See you in a couple weeks! md

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