I recently had the unique opportunity to taste four new wines from Le Miccine, an Italian winery in the heart of Tuscany. The line-up consisted of a unique mono-varietal made from 100% vermentino, two chianti classicos, and a “super-tuscan” made from a blend of merlot and malvasia nera.
Left to right: ’08 I’aura, ’07 Don Alberto Chianti Classico Riserva, ’07 Chianti Classico, ’07 La Principessa
About Le Miccine…
When they purchased Le Miccine in 1996 Clifford Weaver and Donna Meneghetti Weaver took on the monumental task of converting a languishing bulk-wine producer into a quality-focused estate winery. For the past fourteen years, the Weaver’s and their team of experts, led by consulting enologist Vittorio Fiore and consulting agronomist Remigio Bordini, have created award-winning wines tailored to today’s discerning wine drinker while maintaining the time honored traditions of Chianti Classico.
The Weaver’s acquired neglected vineyards with great potential in an area well suited to making premium Italian wines. A rigorous program of thinning, retraining, and replanting the vineyards has resulted in lower yields, allowing each vine to produce the best fruit possible. The changes in the vineyards, combined with upgrades to the equipment and technology in the winery have enabled the team at Le Miccine to dramatically improve the overall quality of their wines.
2008 Le Miccine I’aura (100% vermentino)
Finding vermentino in a mono-varietal wine is somewhat rare. Most of the time you’ll find it blended with other varieties such as trebbiano. I’aura is a distinctive wine that stands well on its own. It has a pale golden color with floral and herbal aromas reminiscent of a crisp sauvignon blanc. The light-bodied flavors are very refreshing with distinct notes of tropical and stone fruits tied together by an underlying backbone of flinty minerality. Its fresh acidity and clean finish make this a very food friendly wine that will pair well with light summertime fare.
2007 Le Miccine Chianti Classico (85% sangiovese, 10% malvasia nera, 5% merlot)
The ’07 Chianti Classico is a direct descendant of the Weaver’s first vintage in 1997. Emanating from its gorgeous ruby color are refined aromas of dark cherry with delicate undertones of vanilla and toasty spice. Juicy flavors of cherries and raspberries along with creamy vanilla nuances are brought into balance by bright acidity and light tannins with distinctive peppery spice. The medium-length finish reinforces the well balanced combination of fruit an oak. This wine paired nicely with the rich shrimp and pasta dish that we had for dinner.
2007 Le Miccine “Don Alberto” Chianti Classico Riserva (100% sangiovese)
The “Don Alberto” Riserva is made from the best fruit in Le Miccine’s vineyards. In 2007 the small amount of fruit provided enough juice for only 155 cases! Careful selection and meticulous vinification has resulted in an opulent Chianti Classico with a complex range of aromas and flavors. The deep ruby color is full of rich cherry and blackberry aromas with complex hints of leafy tobacco. Juicy black cherry flavors and spicy vanilla notes are integrated with well-rounded tannins made evident by the additional barrel aging required for riservas. The lingering finish is laced with subtle flavors of dried berries and smoky vanilla. I would give this one a more few years to mature in order to fully enjoy the complexities of a Chianti Classico Riserva.
Note: This was a barrel sample provide by the winery. The ’07 “Don Alberto” will be released in May, 2010.
2007 Le Miccine La Principessa (80% merlot, 20% malvasia nera)
The final wine in the line-up was La Principessa, Le Miccine’s “super tuscan.” It’s bright red ruby color is full of fresh cherry and wild berry aromas. Full bodied flavors hold true to the aromas with the soft textures of creamy vanilla and soft well-rounded tannins. Pair this with a succulent roast or a rack of lamb and you can’t go wrong!
A Final Note…
Le Miccine’s wines can be found in numerous retail outlets and restaurants in Illinois and the greater Chicago area. They can also be found in a few select locations in California. Keep an eye out for these wines in a location near you as they expand into the U.S. Market. See Le Miccine’s website for a retailer or restaurant in your area.