Thursday, November 15, 2012

Soffocone: The Wine, The Story

Artist turned winemaker Bibi Graetz, the owner of Azienda Testamatta, is a relatively new player on the Tuscan wine scene but his wines, based largely on old vines and indigenous grapes, are garnering well justified acclaim. 

After a recent tasting of his entry level Sangiovese, Casamatta, I decided it was time to climb the ladder a bit and after reviewing his portfolio, my interest was piqued by his Soffocone. 

Wine often tells a story.  Great wines evoke images; of history, of place, or perhaps fond memories of where the taster first encountered the wine or who he was with and what they were doing.  Wine is a story, and this bottle, tells a great one. 

In the hills outside Florence lies the small hamlet of Vincigliata, a tiny village near Fiesole from where Graetz sources much of the fruit for his wines.  There are many vineyards in the area, and the panoramic vistas offered from the perch provide breathtaking views of Florence from above.  For tourists, it's a must stop for those seeking stunning pictures of Florence.  For the locals, the vineyards have become a sort of "lovers lane" or "make-out point"; secluded, row by row, among the vines.  Such is the case with the Soffocone vineyard, which provides the grapes for Graetz's eponymous wine.  Loosely translated, Soffocone means fellatio, although in local dialect, the translation might be less proper. I will let the reader's mind wander, especially when armed with the knowledge that Graetz can be somewhat whimsical and when their eyes catch Soffocone's label.  On to the wine....

The 2009 Soffocone di Vincigliata is a delicious red wine made from Sangiovese (90%) Canaiolo (7%) and Colorino (3%).  It is traditional, crafted from 40 year old vines, and eschews non-Italian varietals.  The wine is dark garnet to brick red in the glass.  The aromas of the wine are so sexy.  Deep dark ripe cherries mingle with sweet pipe tobacco, flowers, dried leather and herbs, and a hint of oak. In the mouth Soffocone is nothing short of stunning.  The racy red cherry fruit is focused like a laser.  Complexity abounds in this young red as anise, flowers, suede and earth are all in proportion.  Balanced and elegant already, I do not think this wine needs cellar time.  It will drink well for the next 7-10 years.  It's delicious, and as my friend said: Who doesn't like a good Soffocone?  92 points, about $31.



2009 Azienda Testamatta "Soffocone di Vincigliata"
 Bibi Graetz will be the subject of future winemaker interview here on TuscanVines.  Until then, ci vediamo!

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