IGT Toscana rosso, Tenuta dei Sette Cieli, 2014
Intense and complex bouquet with distinct floweriness, notes of prunes, blackberries and amarena cherries, liquorice, coffee, dark chocolate and cigar. Powerful and dense on the palate, with great intensity of taste, with fine-grained but present tannins and a long-lasting finish.
|Origin:||Italy / Toscana|
|Grape variety:||Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot|
|Maturity:||2 to 10 years|
|Serving temperature:||16 to 18 °C|
|Drinking suggestion:||Latin American dishes, Spiced grillades, Roasted lamb gigot, Wild boar entrecôte with Spätzli, Hearty stew with pulses|
|Vinification:||long must fermentation, Punching down|
|Harvest:||hand-picking, strict selection|
|Maturation:||in partly new and used barriques/ Pièces, some months bottle storage before sale|
|Maturation duration:||20 months|
Italy – Where wine is a way of life
The Italian wine regions are extremely diverse, and this is made clear in their wines. Established varieties such as Merlot, Syrah, and Sauvignon can be found on just 15 percent of the total vine growing area. The remaining 85 percent is reserved for autochthonous, indigenous varieties. More than 2,000 different grape varieties are grown under diverse conditions and pressed with various techniques into wines that reach the top tier of the international wine market.
Tenuta dei Sette Cieli
It isn’t easy to ascend to seventh heaven. And indeed, the road to the Tenuta Sette Cieli is fraught with some difficulties. You might need to take a few detours (seventh heaven isn’t on Google Maps’ radar), but the Ratti family’s wine paradise is more than worth the effort.
As is so often the case in the world of wine, this winery was created as the realisation of a dream. Erika Ratti made her dream a reality by planting the first vines in 2001 high above the Bolgheri plain, the birthplace of the world-famous Bolgheri wines. The magnificent view from up there extends from Monteverdi Marittimo, surrounded by dense forests, over the plain to the Tyrrhenian Sea shimmering on the horizon – a wonderful place!
At first, only few people believed that her vision of growing wine on the hillside, so far removed from the vineyards in the plain, had any chance of success. But her know-how, tenacity and hard work ultimately bore fruit. Now her son Ambrogio is carrying on his mother’s dream. He is joined by CEO Elena Pozzolini, an oenologist with a wealth of experience and a model of strength and vitality. Their high-altitude wines are different to the wines from the plain. They are powerful, complex, richly structured, unbelievably fresh and endowed with great potential. 10 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec grow at about 400 metres above sea level on stony soil permeated with sand and clay. Massive stone terraces were erected in the upper area. The Mediterranean climate at this altitude is characterised by cool winds and great variations in temperature. This unique terroir is one of the reasons these wines are so distinct.
Merlot is the most charming member of the Bordeaux family. It shines with rich colour, fragrant fullness, velvety tannins and sweet, plummy fruit. It even makes itself easy for the vintner, as it matures without issue in cool years as well. This is in contrast to the stricter Cabernet Sauvignon, which it complements as a blending partner. Its good qualities have made the Merlot famous worldwide. At over 100,000 hectares, it is the most-planted grape in France. It also covers large areas in California, Italy, Australia and recently in Eastern Europe. The only catch is that pure Merlot varieties rarely turn out well. Its charm is often associated with a lack of substance. Only the best specimens improve with maturity. They then develop complex notes of leather and truffles. This succeeds in the top wines from the Bordeaux appellation of Pomerol and those from Ticino, among others.
The backbone of Bordeaux
The Cabernet Sauvignon gives the Bordeaux its backbone, yielding deep violet wines with powerful tannins and endless ripening potential. It is the top dog in Médoc, and is placed in all five premier crus of Bordelais. When young, it often appears strict and unapproachable, but with advancing years, its tannins round off. It is wonderfully velvety, and yet always maintains its freshness. Typical flavours include cassis, graphite and cedar. Wherever Cabernet Sauvignon is found, Merlot is not far away. It complements the robust structure of Cabernet with softness, fruit and richness. The Cabernet Sauvignon is the most-exported vine in the world. It delivers persuasive qualities in Italy as an ingredient of the Super Tuscan, or as the flagship variety from California. There, it is lovingly titled “Cab Sauv”. Meat fans should be aware that it fantastically accompanies a grilled entrecôte. The family tree of Cabernet Sauvignon is surprising: its parents are Cabernet Franc and the white Sauvignon blanc.
New Home, New Fortune
The Malbec once belonged to the classic assortment of varieties from Bordeaux. But it was demanding to cultivate, and in the changeable climate of the Bordelais it often became green and herbaceous, so winemakers replaced it with Merlot in the middle of the 20th century. Luckily, the Malbec found a new home in Argentina. In 1868, a Frenchman brought the first stocks along to the land of the Andes. Today, the Malbec is the most-planted variety there. Especially in Mendoza, it shows what it can do: it yields very dark, well-structured wines with aromas of black fruit, violets and game. They just call out for an Argentinean steak! The Malbec has its origins in Cahors, in southwestern France. There, it is kept today under the name Cot. Due to their earthy tannins, in the middle ages the growths from this area were also called "the black wines of Cahors".