For the last eight years, respected Tuscan winemaker Antonio Sanguineti (more on him at the end of the post) has been making our delicious Pastini Rosso house red wine from primarily Sangiovese grapes, and it’s been a wonderful partnership! We have trusted Antonio to make us an elegant, affordable, food-friendly red that pairs beautifully with our Pastini pastas.
However, this year we got a huge surprise when he sent us three different red blends to choose from for our 2017 vintage of the Rosso. What fun! Blending is the final, important step in the grape’s journey to becoming wine, and we got to be a part of the process, which was wonderful. The three campiones (samples) with hand-lettered labels arrived courtesy of Small Vineyards Imports, the local NW company that brings Antonio’s wines to the USA. So, we got down to work!
Reds from Tuscany are almost always blends of primarily Sangiovese with other grapes added for complexity, body and flavor. Campione A, a blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet, was very good with weight and substance from the Cabernet. Campione C was also 70% Sangiovese but blended with 15% Merlot and 15% Cabernet, and was a slightly lighter, refreshing style. And Campione B was made from 80% Sangiovese Grosso and 20% Ciliegiolo… and this was the clear winner!
Sangiovese Grosso is a clone that grows in the Maremma area of Tuscany, and is considered superior to Sangiovese, while Ciliegiolo is closely related and, although frequently blended in small amounts with Sangiovese, is seeing revived interest recently as a wine on its own. We think its juicy, cherry fruit adds a lovely component to the Rosso…and, as a matter of fact, the name ciliegiolo means “cherry”. Campione B will be a great, fresh, fruity Pastini Rosso laced with a hint of spiciness and just made for everyday drinking, and a terrific partner for just about any Pastini pasta.
And now more about Antonio. The first time you find yourself in the passenger seat of Antonio’s car, you should brace yourself… either for a bolt of fear or an adrenaline rush (or both). In a nation famous for its invisible speed limits and outrageous drivers, Antonio is truly one of the fastest (to his credit he’s also one of the best, and races professionally). The first time you try one of Antonio’s wines you’ll realize how perfectly they match the man… bold, intelligent reds that are both spirited and graceful.
The 2017 Pastini Rosso will be arriving later this year and we hope you’ll love it as much as we do.