2019 Piaggia Pietranera
Antonio Galloni | 92 AG
Wine Details for 2019 Piaggia Pietranera
|Type of Wine||
: Many grape varietals are planted all over the world so they're not typical for one single country anymore. For instance, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc form part of many blends coming from different countries. Super Tuscan wines are produced in this Italian region, but grape varietals used in the making are not indigenous - those are mostly Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
: Much like Merlot, the Cabernet Franc grape variety has been quietly providing the backbone for some of the greatest wines in the Right Bank of Bordeaux, most notably Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau Ausone. It has played the supporting role in most cases but is important to note that its role is an important one. It is one of the three major varietals used for blending Bordeaux wines (along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) and has proved its importance over a very long history. Cabernet Franc parented the highly popular and most planted varietal in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as the Bordeaux varietals of Merlot and Carmenere.
It is speculated that the Basque Country, in the western Pyrenees, is the birthplace of Cabernet Franc. This area straddles the border of France and Spain and is one of Europe’s oldest and strongest cultures. The varietal has greatly influenced winemaking in both countries, used in blending as well as single-varietal bottlings. The soil in this region is considered poor with high clay content, which is actually good given the vines tenacity and ability to grow vigorously in many soil types in both cool and warm climates. Studies by UC Davis confirm that it is ill-advised to plant Cabernet Franc in highly fertile, deep soils.
Cabernet Franc’s true date of origin is unknown; however, it far precedes its offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon, which began to appear in the 17th century. It would become popular in the 1600s in the Loire Valley France, where it is still very much used to this day. In fact it is the most important red grape variety in Loire. Cabernet Franc ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes it perfectly suited to its cooler temperatures. It would take another hundred years before its arrival to Saint Emilion and Pomerol.
France alone, is in possession of half the world’s Cabernet Franc vines. It has been a staple in Right Bank, covering massive amounts of hectares of vineyards and used in blending some of the greatest wines in the region. The tremendous vineyards of Chateau Cheval Blanc in Saint Emilion are planted to at least 55% Cabernet Franc, while Chateau Ausone is planted to over 52% of the varietal. The widely popular Pomerol, Chateau Lafleur is planted to 50% Cabernet Franc. Some of the greatest wine producers in the Right Bank rely on the Cabernet Franc growing in their vineyards for their continued success.
Though Cabernet Franc is not amongst the “sexy” category of grapes, it can be described as the feminine side of Cabernet Sauvignon. As world-renowned Jancis Robinson states, “it is subtly fragrant and gently flirtatious rather than massively muscular and tough in its youth.” This thin-skinned grape produces wines of high quality with the characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon but not of high color or tannins. The varietal ages rapidly in warmer regions, which interestingly brings California into the fray. UC Davis researchers concluded in a 1963 study that California was not a suitable location for planting Cabernet Franc due to its warmer climate; nevertheless it was planted in the late 1960s in Napa Valley. Originally, the idea for blending Cabernet Franc was to allow the wine itself to age quicker, making it immediately accessible to American consumers with less patience. Over the years the varietal has been re-evaluated and has begun to take on a larger role in California winemaking. Producers such as Viader’s almost-cult bottling is around 50% Cabernet Franc.
Today, Cabernet Franc is found in terroir hotspots (figuratively) around the world in mostly cooler climates and used in both blended and single-varietal bottlings. It has been flying under the radar helping to produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world. It assumes the under-appreciated, rarely thought of component which has quietly changed the landscape of winemaking and growing, greatly impacting the world of wine.
: Italy is renowned as one of the world’s greatest gastronomic havens; from certified Prosciutto di Parma to the sea-side seafood eateries on the island of Sicily. However, this epicurean experience could not possibly be as hedonistic without the ethereal combination of the country’s plethora of fine wines. It seems unfair that a nation should be able to boast, both, some of the world’s greatest cuisine as well as its greatest wines. Italian wine is one of the most sought after in the world, and has become the second most produced in the world, behind only France.
Stretching an impressive 736 miles from northern Italy to the peninsula’s southern tip, the country’s geography generates an enormous array of topography, climate and soil structure. This is an extremely important quality of its winegrowing and making industry which lays claim to nearly 550 different grape varietals, which all desire their own necessities, in terms of terroir and climate.
The still red wines of Italy truly characterize the nation’s vast and expansive terroir; Nebbiolo dominates Piedmont, where Barolo and Barbaresco reign king and queen of the region’s production. Hailing from Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, the rockstar Sangiovese grape has become synonymous with greatness. Vin Santo sweet wines have taken on a mighty feat of competing with the glorious wines of Sauternes, and of course, Prosecco. Prosecco, located in Trieste (northeast Italy) and its creation of luxuriously effervescent styles of wine has become Italy’s answer to Champagne. The Glera grape variety, which has become synonymous with the name Prosecco, is the main ingredient and is beloved in the appellation where the village of Prosecco’s name has become world renowned.
The blurred boundary between Italy and the countries of Slovenia and Austria, where German influence still resonates through Friuli wines. The prevalence of Riesling and other such grape varietals is high in this region and have become extremely popular on today’s market.
With nearly 702,000 hectares of grapevines covering the massive and diverse landscape, Italy’s annual average of 48.3 million hectoliters of wine production is second only to France in terms of volume and Spain in terms of hectares of vines. The country is vast and overwhelming when it comes to the culinary arts, but perhaps even this is overshadowed by its production of some of the world’s most sought after wines, whether the omnipresent Chianti to the highly collectible and sought after Amarone della Valpolicalla.
: Italian culture worships the concept of a shared meal, and their wines scream for a chance to be uncorked with your friends and family. The region's Mediterranean climate and hilly landscape combine to create a beautiful viticultural environment, where every chosen grape is brought to its full potential and transmuted into drinks worthy of gods. The vineyards are planted along the higher reaches of the hill slopes, creating a gorgeous view of the Italian landscape.
Once your lips kiss the wine, you're sent spiraling down a veritable whirlpool of pure flavor, touching upon notes of sensuous cherry, nuts, floral hints and undertones of honey and minerals. The wines can be as sweet as a fresh summer romance, and carry an air of dignity and elegance about them that can stimulate your intellect for months as you contemplate the seemingly infinite intricacies and details in the texture. Tuscany is an important part of Italian viticulture, and sampling their wines is the closest you can get to visiting this heavenly region and experiencing the culture.