Super Tuscan Blends

 
Synonyms: See the many different wine names below.

Wine Name: Various names including Flaccianello, Sassicaia, Guidalberto, Le Difese, Guado al Tasso, Messorio, Tignanello, Vigorello, Ornellaia, Solaia

Background: A collective term for many different blends from Tuscany that may not fit within the Italian DOCG rules governing the labels of wines. Often they fall into the IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) when in fact by quality, they belong in the higher quality DOCG or DOC designation. Most of the time these wines are blends of Sangiovese or other Italian grapes with non-Italian grapes such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon and made using the tradtional French methods of using small oak barrells (barriques) rather than the larger used wood bottis that Italian rules call for.

The best producers seem to be using Sangiovese alone, Sangiovese plus Merlot, or traditional Bordeaux blends with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.

Classic Brands and Sources: Fontodi, Tenuta San Guido, Villa Antinori, Le Macchiole, San Felice, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia,

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical

Body – full

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (+) to high


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Generally these wines pair with full-bodied slightly acidic to acidic dishes and foods

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Olives, tomato-based pasta, roasted meats and game, beef steaks, chicken in wine sauce, mushrooms, pancetta, prosciutto, pizza , smoked meat, cold cuts, salami

Cheese Pairings:
Asiago, Bel Paese, Fontina, Grana, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Pecorino, Provolone, Romano, Taleggio


Pinotage

  (Pee-no-TAWJE)
Synonyms: None

Wine Name: Pinotage

Background: Pinotage is a South African grape developed in 1925 as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. It does not have much of the aromas or flavors of its parents but rather comes across as ripe plum and blackberry fruit with undertones of campfire and earthiness. It responds to oak aging well but is also made in a lighter, unoaked style. It can be a difficult grape to make into wine resulting in some styles having harsh tannins and/or unusual mineral spirits tastes. Recently winemakers have had better success in making Pinotage as a fine, ageable wine.

Classic Brands and Sources: Graham Beck, Claridge, DeWaal, Robertson, Spice Route, Warwick

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical

Body – full

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (+)


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well meats that are roasted or smoked and dishes with hearty sauces slightly acidic

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Beef, lamb, game, chicken, turkey, veal or pork grilled, roasted or smoked, barbeque, chili, cold cuts, hamburgers, meatloaf, sausages, mushrooms, risotto

Cheese Pairings:
Mild, medium or smoked Cheddar, Edam, Glouchester, Manchego, Muenster, Provolone (aged), Parmesan, Pecorino, Roncal, Smoked Gouda.

Primitivo

  (pri-meh-TEE-voh)
Synonyms: Zinfandel (ZIHN-fuhn-dehl), Primitivo, Crljenak (tsoorl-YEN-ak) kastelansk, Tribidrag, Pribidrag, Kratosija

Wine Name: Zinfandel, Primitivo, White Zinfandel (Rosé that is off dry)

Background: Zinfandel grapes originally came from Croatia by way of Italy and was brought by immigrants to California where they have come to prominence for decades. Italian grapes are called Primitivo (pri-meh-TEE-voh) and the Croatian parent grape, Crljenak (tsoorl-YEN-ak).

In warm climates such as California, Zinfandel tends to produce fruity raspberry, blackberry, boysenberry, cranberry, and black cherry aromas with those same tastes. It may have subtle spices such as cinnamon, black pepper and licorice especially if they are from old vine field mixtures of clones. Usually the wines are medium-bodied, with light to medium tannins, but they can be high in alcohol. Zinfandel is a very versatile grape although its youngest wines tend to be the best. It can be made into a blush or rosé wine (White Zinfandel) that is fruity, easy drinking jug wine, a great dessert wine from raisinated grapes and a full-bodied, oaked wine with soft tannins.

Classic Brands and Sources: California – Ridge, Rosenblum, Ravenswood, J Rickard, A Rafanelli, Dry Creek and many California producers; Australia – Cape Mentelle, Kangarilla Road, Nepenthe; Italy – A Mano, Accademia dei Racemi, Masseria Pepe, Torrevento

Characteristics:

Style #1 – light, fruity

Body – medium

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – medium

Style #2 – full-bodied, alcohol > 14%, oaked

Body – full

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium

Style #3 – Rosé (off dry)
(White Zinfandel)

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – off dry, slightly sweet

Tannins – medium (-)


Wine and food pairing guidelines:

Light, fruity style – Pairs with chicken, pork, veal and beef with acidic sauces as barbeque that does not have too much capsacian hot spices.

Full bodied, higher alcohol style – Alcohol levels over 14.5% generally do not pair well with foods. With lower alcohol levels, pair with lamb and beef with medium acid or wine sauces.

White Zinfandel style – Pairs with spicy barbecue, Mexican dishes with hot peppers, Thai cuisine and sweet dishes.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:

Light, fruity style – barbecue chicken and pork, sausages, pizza, hamburgers, meat loaf

Full bodied, higher alcohol style – lamb and beef roasts and steaks with wine sauce or balsamic reductions

White Zinfandel style – Thai Red Curries, Chile Relenos, Hot salsa dips

Cheese Pairings:

Light, fruity style – Brie with rind, Camembert with rind, Cantal, cheddar (aged), goat’s cheese, Emmental, Feta, Morbier, Muenster, Raclette, Vacherin, Vermont Shepherd

Full bodied, higher alcohol style – Mild Cheddar, Edam, Glouchester, Manchego, Muenster, Provolone (aged), Parmesan, Pecorino, Roncal, Smoked Gouda.

White Zinfandel style – Cream cheese, Mascarpone, Neufachatel, Boursin, Swiss, Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano

Zinfandel

  (ZIHN-fuhn-dehl)
Synonyms: Zinfandel, Primitivo (pri-meh-TEE-voh), Crljenak (tsoorl-YEN-ak) kastelansk, Tribidrag, Pribidrag, Kratosija

Wine Name: Zinfandel, Primitivo, White Zinfandel (Rosé that is off dry)

Background: Zinfandel grapes originally came from Croatia by way of Italy and was brought by immigrants to California where they have come to prominence for decades. Italian grapes are called Primitivo (pri-meh-TEE-voh) and the Croatian parent grape, Crljenak (tsoorl-YEN-ak).

In warm climates such as California, Zinfandel tends to produce fruity raspberry, blackberry, boysenberry, cranberry, and black cherry aromas with those same tastes. It may have subtle spices such as cinnamon, black pepper and licorice especially if they are from old vine field mixtures of clones. Usually the wines are medium-bodied, with light to medium tannins, but they can be high in alcohol. Zinfandel is a very versatile grape although its youngest wines tend to be the best. It can be made into a blush or rosé wine (White Zinfandel) that is fruity, easy drinking jug wine, a great dessert wine from raisinated grapes and a full-bodied, oaked wine with soft tannins.

Classic Brands and Sources: California – Ridge, Rosenblum, Ravenswood, J Rickard, A Rafanelli, Dry Creek and many California producers; Australia – Cape Mentelle, Kangarilla Road, Nepenthe; Italy – A Mano, Accademia dei Racemi, Masseria Pepe, Torrevento

Characteristics:

Style #1 – light, fruity

Body – medium

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – medium

Style #2 – full-bodied, alcohol > 14%, oaked

Body – full

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium

Style #3 – Rosé (off dry)
(White Zinfandel)

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – off dry, slightly sweet

Tannins – medium (-)


Wine and food pairing guidelines:

Light, fruity style – Pairs with chicken, pork, veal and beef with acidic sauces as barbeque that does not have too much capsacian hot spices.

Full bodied, higher alcohol style – Alcohol levels over 14.5% generally do not pair well with foods. With lower alcohol levels, pair with lamb and beef with medium acid or wine sauces.

White Zinfandel style – Pairs with spicy barbecue, Mexican dishes with hot peppers, Thai cuisine and sweet dishes.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:

Light, fruity style – barbecue chicken and pork, sausages, pizza, hamburgers, meat loaf

Full bodied, higher alcohol style – lamb and beef roasts and steaks with wine sauce or balsamic reductions

White Zinfandel style – Thai Red Curries, Chile Relenos, Hot salsa dips

Cheese Pairings:

Light, fruity style – Brie with rind, Camembert with rind, Cantal, cheddar (aged), goat’s cheese, Emmental, Feta, Morbier, Muenster, Raclette, Vacherin, Vermont Shepherd

Full bodied, higher alcohol style – Mild Cheddar, Edam, Glouchester, Manchego, Muenster, Provolone (aged), Parmesan, Pecorino, Roncal, Smoked Gouda.

White Zinfandel style – Cream cheese, Mascarpone, Neufachatel, Boursin, Swiss, Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano

Monastrell

  Monastrell (Spanish)/Mourvèdre (French)
(moe-nah-STRELL)/(moor-VED’rr)

Synonyms: Alcallata, Alcayata, Alicante, Arach Sap, Balzac, Balzar, Benadu, Beneda, Beni Carlo, Berardi, Bod, Bon Avis, Buona Vise, Casca, Catalan, Cayata, Caymilari Sarda, Charnet, Churret, Damas Noir, Drug, English Colossal, Espagnen, Espar, Esparte, Estrangle-chien, Flouron, Flouroux, Garrut, Gayata Tinta, Karis, Maneschaou, Marseillais, Mataró, Maurostel, Mechin, Monastre, Monastrell Menudo, Monastrell Verdadero, Mourvedre, Mourvegue, Mourves, Murvedr Espar, Negralejo, Negria, Neyron, Pinot Fleri, Plant De Ledenon, Plant De Saint Gilles, Reina, Ros, Rossola Nera, Spar, Tintilla, Tire Droit, Torrentes, Trinchiera, Valcarcelia, Verema, Veremeta, Vereneta

Wine Name: Mourvèdre, Monastrell, and in Rhône blends, in Australia – GSM blends and blends from the Spanish regions of Almansa, Valencia, Alicante, Jumilla, and Yecla

Background: Mourvèdre has tradtionally be a blending grape mostly for southern Rhône red blends as well as Spanish red blends from Jumilla, Valencia and Alicante. It adds a deep purple color and and earthiness with spice to Grenache and Syrah wines. The grape has moderate tannins and sometimes show a gamey taste. It is showing up as a pure varietal wine recently especially from Jumilla, Cline in California and from Australia.

Classic Brands and Sources: Château Beaucastle, d’Esclans, Domaine Tempier, Domaine Ray Jane (France); Bonney Doon, Cline, Qupé, Ridge (U.S.); D’Arenberg, Penfolds, Pikes, Rosemont, Torbeck, Yalumba (Australian)

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical varietal

Body – full

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (+) to high


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well meats that are roasted or smoked and dishes with hearty sauces slightly acidic

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Beef, lamb, game, veal or pork grilled, roasted or smoked, barbeque, chili, cold cuts, hamburgers, meatloaf, sausages, mushrooms, cheese based pasta, risotto, truffle oil

Cheese Pairings:
Mild, medium or smoked Cheddar, Edam, Glouchester, Manchego, Muenster, Provolone (aged), Parmesan, Pecorino, Roncal, Smoked Gouda.

Mourvèdre

  Mourvèdre (French)/Monastrell (Spanish)
(moor-VED’rr)/(moe-nah-STRELL)

Synonyms: Alcallata, Alcayata, Alicante, Arach Sap, Balzac, Balzar, Benadu, Beneda, Beni Carlo, Berardi, Bod, Bon Avis, Buona Vise, Casca, Catalan, Cayata, Caymilari Sarda, Charnet, Churret, Damas Noir, Drug, English Colossal, Espagnen, Espar, Esparte, Estrangle-chien, Flouron, Flouroux, Garrut, Gayata Tinta, Karis, Maneschaou, Marseillais, Mataró, Maurostel, Mechin, Monastre, Monastrell Menudo, Monastrell Verdadero, Mourvedre, Mourvegue, Mourves, Murvedr Espar, Negralejo, Negria, Neyron, Pinot Fleri, Plant De Ledenon, Plant De Saint Gilles, Reina, Ros, Rossola Nera, Spar, Tintilla, Tire Droit, Torrentes, Trinchiera, Valcarcelia, Verema, Veremeta, Vereneta

Wine Name: Mourvèdre, Monastrell, and in Rhône blends, in Australia – GSM blends and blends from the Spanish regions of Almansa, Valencia, Alicante, Jumilla, and Yecla

Background: Mourvèdre has tradtionally be a blending grape mostly for southern Rhône red blends as well as Spanish red blends from Jumilla, Valencia and Alicante. It adds a deep purple color and and earthiness with spice to Grenache and Syrah wines. The grape has moderate tannins and sometimes show a gamey taste. It is showing up as a pure varietal wine recently especially from Jumilla, Cline in California and from Australia.

Classic Brands and Sources: Château Beaucastle, d’Esclans, Domaine Tempier, Domaine Ray Jane (France); Bonney Doon, Cline, Qupé, Ridge (U.S.); D’Arenberg, Penfolds, Pikes, Rosemont, Torbeck, Yalumba (Australian)

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical varietal

Body – full

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (+) to high


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well meats that are roasted or smoked and dishes with hearty sauces slightly acidic

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Beef, lamb, game, veal or pork grilled, roasted or smoked, barbeque, chili, cold cuts, hamburgers, meatloaf, sausages, mushrooms, cheese based pasta, risotto, truffle oil

Cheese Pairings:
Mild, medium or smoked Cheddar, Edam, Glouchester, Manchego, Muenster, Provolone (aged), Parmesan, Pecorino, Roncal, Smoked Gouda.

Merlot

  (mare-LOW)
Synonyms: Merlot, Merlot Noir, Médoc Noir

Wine Name: Merlot, Red Bordeaux (St Saint-Émilion, Pommerol, Fronsac, right bank Merlot dominant) many producer names

Background: Merlot was traditionally a blending grape for Bordeaux wines in France and other places. It is softer and fruitier than Cabernet Sauvignon and came to prominence after the 1991 Sixty Minutes television show titled “The French Paradox.” Less experienced wine drinkers rushed to this softer, milder red wine as its own varietal for health reasons. The 2006 movie “Sideways” tried to tarnish Merlot’s reputation as the number one red wine varietal consumed in the United States but it still reigns strong. One of the most expensive wines in the world, Château Petrus, produced in Bordeaux France is 100% Merlot grape so it can be a great wine. In cool climates Merlot may have some leafy, green pepper aromas but when produced in temperate or warm climates it usually tastes of blackberry and plum fruit with soft, velvety tannins and not very acidic.

Classic Brands and Sources: France – many Bordeaux producers; USA – Clos Du Bois, Chateau St Jean, Duckhorn, Merryvale, Newton, J Lohr, Pahlmeyer, Paloma , Shafer, Sterling, Chateau St Michelle, Barefoot; Chile – Casa Lapastole, Santa Rita, Viña Casablanca

Characteristics:

Style #1 – Right Bank Bordeaux

Body – medium (+)

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (+)

Style #2 – warm climate , New World

Body – full

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – medium (-) to medium


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well with savory, low acid dishes

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:

Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, veal or pork grilled, roasted or braised, chili, hamburgers, meat loaf, mushrooms, cheese based pasta, risotto

Cheese Pairings:
Brie and Camembert without rind, mild Cheddar, Emmental, Gouda, smoked Gouda, Gorganzola, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Pecorino, Provolone, Romano

Malbec

  (MAHL-bek)
Synonyms: Côt, Auxerrois, Pressac

Wine Name: Malbec, Cahors

Background: Malbec is a native grape to southwest France commonly used to blend in French Rhône and Bordeaux blends. In Cahors, France, near Toulouse, it is still used as a varietal where it is likely to taste of plum, raisins and tobacco and be somewhat acidic. However as a varietal in its own right, it has come to prominence in Argentina where there often are violet aromas along with the plum and a soft ripe lush texture. It has ample tannins somewhat between a Cabernet and a Merlot.

Classic Brands and Sources: Argentina – Alamos, Catena, Luigi Bosca, Norton, Trapiche; France – Château du Cayrou, Château du Cèdre, Clos la Coutale, Clos de Gamot, Château Gautoul, Château Lagrezette; Chile – Montes, MontGras, Morandé; Australia – Taltarni, Wendouree

Characteristics:

Style #1 – Cahors style

Body – medium to medium (+)

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium (+)

Style #2 – Argentinian style

Body – full

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – medium


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs with a wide range of foods both savory red meat dishes and those with slightly acidic sauces.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Beef, bacon, barbeque, cassoulet, ham, meat loaf, pork, prime rib, sausage, stews, veal.

Cheese Pairings:

Mild Cheddar, Edam, Glouchester, Manchego, Muenster, Provolone (aged), Parmesan, Pecorino, Roncal, Smoked Gouda.

Lagrein

  (lah-GRINE)
Synonyms: Burgundi Lagrein, Lagrain, Lagrain Blauer, Lagrein Kretzer, Lagrino, Lagroin

Wine Name: Lagrein, Lagrein Scuro, Lagrein Dunkel, Lagrein Rosato, Lagrein Kretzer, Lagrein di Gries, Lagrein di Grieser

Background: This tannic red grape from northeast Italy in the Trentino-Alto Aldige region produces a very drinkable wine with sour plum, cherry and chocolate flavors with some herbalness and not unpleasant bitterness.

Classic Brands and Sources: Viticolori Alto Adige Co-op, Barone de Cles, Colterenzio Co-op, Muri Gries, Hoffstäter, Lageder, Thurnhof, Tiefenbruner, Peter Zemmer

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical

Body – medium

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – high


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs with medium bodied, acidic dishes

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Pairs with chicken, game, veal, pork, lamb and heavier fish especially tuna and salmon, and shellfish with slightly acidic sauces

Cheese Pairings:
Epiosses, Feta (sheep’s milk), goat cheese, Gouda, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Bucheron (French goat cheese), dry Jack cheese, cream cheese, Gouda, Neufchatel, Pont-L’Eveque, Raclette, Reblochon, Roquefort, Saint-Nectare, Vacherin

Garnacha

  (Spanish Gar-NAH-char), (French gra-NOSH)
Synonyms: Grenache Noir (French), Garnacha Tinta (Spanish), Garnatxa (Catalan), Cannonau (Sardinia)

Wine Name: Grenache, Garnacha, Southern Rhone Blend, GSM

Background: Garnacha is the world’s most widely planted grape variety although most of it is in Spain. It produces a high alcohol, fruity wine often used for blending. Because it is low in acid, it is susceptible to oxidation. When used in France’s southern Rhone region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, it takes on heady aromas and spicy, red berry fruit flavors. It is also used extensively in Southern Rhône Rosé and Provence wines because of its acidity. Old vine (more than 50 years old) Garnacha has moderate procution levels in Spain and produces a much fuller-bodied concentrated wine.

Classic Brands and Sources: Priorat – Mas Martinet, Alvaros Palacios; Spain – Campo de Borja, Borsao, Cellar de Capçanes; France – du Péga, Rayas, Chapoutier, many others; Australia – Clarendon Hills, D’Arenberg, Hardy’s

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical young vines

Body – medium

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – medium (-)

Style #2 – old vines

Body – full

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs with medium to full-bodied savory dishes

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Savory dishes with beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, veal or pork grilled, roasted or braised, chili, hamburgers, meat loaf, mushrooms, cheese based pasta, risotto

Cheese Pairings:
Brie and Camembert without rind, mild Cheddar, Emmental, Gouda, smoked Gouda, Asiago, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Provolone, Romano