Altra Toscana tasting report: 12 outstanding wines to try

The following wines were tasted together by Filippo Bartolotta and Raffaele Mosca at the Anteprima Altra Toscana tasting held in Florence in February 2024.

FIVE STARS – Top wines ***** +

Podere Il Carnasciale

Il Caberlot Toscana 2020 

Cult winery 

Caberlot is a single-variety expression of a rare crossing between Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, resembling the best renditions of the latter with its downright intoxicating aromas of bergamot, sandalwood, goji berries, tea tree oil, wild violets and Sichuan pepper. Dazzlingly refined and pure, a fine line of lip-smacking acidity runs through luscious layers of sweet blackcurrants and dark chocolate, while chiseled tannins underpin an airy and changeling, extraordinarily perfumed finish. Only released in magnum, it underwent 22-month-long aging in French oak barrels, followed by another 18 months in bottle. 

Importers and retailers: Volio Imports (US)

FIVE STARS *****

Stefano Amerighi

Cortona Syrah Apice 2020 

Natural wine producer 

Purple-ish and slightly opaque, spontaneous fermentation contributes to shaping unsettling aromas of kimchi, wasabi and clove, followed by mirabelle plums and pot-pourri. An unobtrusive touch of volatile acidity amplifies a flamboyant mouthfeel bursting with kirsch, exotic spice, sandalwood, and soy sauce, while seamless tannins caress on the long and savory finish. The top-shelf wine of one of the most idiosyncratic producers in Tuscany, it underwent aging in a mix of concrete and used oak.

Importers and retailers: Bowler Wine (US)

Castello di Fonterutoli

Siepi Toscana 2021 

Big winery 

This iconic 50-50 Merlot and Sangiovese blend combines power and elegance like few other Supertuscans, displaying compelling Tuscan earthiness and gaminess allied to Bordeaux-reminiscent aromas of roasted espresso, sandalwood, cigar box, and graphite. Youthfully gripping tannins underpin a dense and creamy core of plummy fruit, while blood orange and tangy minerals add to its rich texture, lingering on a terrifically long, ultra-polished finish. The fruit comes from the namesake vineyard in Castellina in Chianti. Merlot spent 18 months in French oak barrels, while Sangiovese aged in tonneaux.

Importers and retailers: Demeine Estates (United States), Maison Marques et Domaines (UK)

FOUR STARS PLUS **** + 

Fattoria Ambra

Carmignano Montalbiolo Riserva 2020

Up-and-coming winery 

Ethereal and perfumed, with a translucent ruby color anticipating delicate aromas of redcurrants, wild strawberries and bitter orange complicated by wafts of menthol, licorice, and graphite. Racy and refined, it mixes seductively sweet hedgerow fruits with mouth-tingling acidity and serious tannins that loosen their grip in a balsamic finish. Containing 70% Sangiovese with a dollop of Colorino and Cabernet Sauvignon, it spent two years in 3.5 to 5 hl Slavonian oak casks.

Importers and retailers: Ideal Wine (United States)

Macchion dei Lupi

Profeta Costa Toscana Merlot 2016 

Natural wine producer 

A single-variety Merlot from the Suvereto area along the Tuscan coast, Profeta displays strikingly refined aromas of sweet plums, hibiscus, ginseng, and a lick of oriental spice. You get a varietal mouthful of plummy fruit yet lively acidity and chiseled tannins allow it to convey an uncommon sense of energy and poise. Made with grapes from biodynamically farmed vineyards, spontaneous fermentation and aging occurred in cone-shaped oak vats, and the wine was bottled unfiltered.

Importers and retailers: Avant-garde Wines & Spirits (United States)

Tenuta Sette Ponti

Oreno Toscana 2021

Cult winery

Quite austere in this phase, dark chocolate, tobacco leaf, cedar and graphite superimpose over Bordeaux-ish blackcurrants and hibiscus. It is unusually tight for a Supertuscan, resembling old school clarets with its searing tannins, stimulating acidity and long, chocolate-infused finish. Aging occurred in French oak barrels for 18 months and in bottle for another year. 

Importers and retailers: Kobrand Wines & Spirits (United States)

Tenuta di Ghizzano

Nambrot Costa Toscana 2020 

Cult winery 

Restrained and elegant, eucalyptus and hibiscus at the presence of Cabernet Franc in this iconic Merlot-based blend from the province of Pisa, also containing dollops of Petit Verdot.  Cocoa powder and redcurrants follow up, echoing on a positively tight and racy palate, with freshening herbal flavors complementing crunchy black fruits, ripe acids and slightly powdery tannins shaping a punchy finish. Made with biodynamically farmed grapes, spontaneous fermentation in open oak vats is followed by aging in a mix of new and used French oak barrels.

Importers and retailers: Henriot Inc (United States)

FOUR STARS ****

Fabbrica Pienza

Newtown Rosso Toscana 2021

Up-and-coming winery 

Aging in concrete and fermentation with 15% whole bunches shape a distinctive wine that has little to do with anything else produced in the Orcia valley. Oregano and white pepper frame wild strawberries and sour cherries, echoing on a mid-weight palate with zesty acidity upfront, followed by juicy redcurrants and blood orange. Easygoing and quaffable without being too simple.

Importers and retailers: Wine Agencies (Denmark)

Le Mortelle

Maremma Toscana Poggio alle Nane 2021

Cult winery 

Mostly Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon with a dollop of Carmenere, this old-school red from the Maremma estate of the Antinori family exudes warmth and generosity, exhibiting decadent aromas of blackberry compote, dark chocolate, cigar box, menthol, and tar. The oak influence is evident but not overwhelming: roasted coffee and sweet spice complicate the velvety core of ripe black fruits, while slightly astringent tannins provide backbone to a broad and slightly tarry finish. 

Importers and retailers: St. Michele Wine Estates (United States) / Berkmann (UK) / Mark Anthony Brands (Canada)

Tenuta Sette Cieli

Indaco 2019 

Up-and-coming winery 

A quirky blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Indaco is at once dark and leafy: botanical herbs, dark chocolate, blackcurrants and clove outlining an intriguing nose. Equally characterful palate on the palate, ripe acidity and slightly dusty tannins complement seductive flavors of sweet black fruits, hibiscus and a herbal twist linger on the long finish. Sourced from a vineyard lying above 400 meters above sea levels in the hilly side of the Bolgheri appellation, aging occurred in French oak barrels for 14 months.

Importers and retailers: Wilson Daniels (US) / Swig (UK) 

Tenute Pietro Caciorgna

Terre di Casole Sangiovese Alberaia 2021

Up-and-coming winery

Raspberry marmalade, kirsch, wild roses and a whiff of spicy garrigue make for an intriguing and unusual nose, anticipating a juicy palate with syrupy red fruits over slightly dusty tannins, and cooling acids enlivening a suave finish. A lusciously open-knit Sangiovese made by one of the most renowned Tuscany-based winemakers, Pietro Caciorgna, Alberaia spent 10 months in used French oak barrels.

Importers and retailers: –

Ruffino

Alauda Toscana 2020 

Big winery 

A Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Colorino blend from one of the largest producers in Central Tuscany, Alauda stays true to its neoclassic Supertuscan identity but also comes across as especially well balanced. Licorice, roasted coffee and dark spice complicate syrupy black fruits, cinnamon, and botanical herbs. Broad and creamy, soft tannins and judicious acidity keep the velvety core of ultra-ripe black fruits in balance, making for a large-scaled yet poised mouthfeel. The fruit comes from the Poggio Casciano estate, and the wine spent 24 months in French oak barrels.

Importer and retailers: Constellation Brands (United States)