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Riserva Del Canapone Maremma Igt 2011 750ml

Rated 91 - Loads of ripe, spicy fruit with prunes and an almost brown-sugar undertone, plus figs, too. Full body, round and generous with lots of...
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Rocca Di Frassinello Baffonero 2013 750ml

Rated 94 - The 2013 Baffonero is superb in this vintage. Nuanced and delineated throughout, the 2013 offers much more sophistication than has been...
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Rocca Di Frassinello Le Sughere 2013 750ml

Rated 91 - Sweet red cherry, plum, mocha, licorice, lavender and dark spices meld together in the 2013 Le Sughere di Frassinello. Pliant, silky and...
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Rocca Di Frassinello Ornello 2013 750ml

Rated 93 - The 2013 Ornello is terrific. A blend of Sangioveto, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, the Ornello offers striking depth and...
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Rocca Di Frassinello Poggio Alla Guardia 2013 750ml

Rated 91 - A big and juicy red with lots of ripe fruit, chocolate and spice character. Full-bodied, velvety and rich. Lots of fruit flavors. Drink...
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Rocca Di Frassinello Rocca Di Frassinello 2012 750ml

Rated 93 - We are finally seeing some very exciting results from Paolo Panerai's Rocca di Frassinello estate in northern Maremma, Tuscany. The 2012...


In the heart of Italy lies its most well-recognized region: Tuscany. Chianti is a large wine zone extending through much of Tuscany. All of the zone is DOCG status, and it is divided into seven districts. Two of these have readily-available wines on the world market: Chianti Classico (Classico refers to the defined area--not to a reserve or superior bottling) and Chianti Ruffina. In addition to their district of production, Chianti wines vary in style according to aging. Reserve wines, often aged in French oak, may be released after two or more years at the winery.

Chianti is always a very dry red wine, with very concentrated fruit character, most often made entirely from the sangiovese grape. Chianti goes well with food, and can range in style from light to full bodied with tart cherry and violet aromas and flavors. Chianti can age ten or more years in a good vintage.

The second great red wine of Tuscany is Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, from the town of the same name just south of the Chianti district. Brunello is a local term referring to the grape variety sangiovese. These wines are of superior quality and limited production. Intense, concentrated and tannic, they tend to require long aging (up to 20 years), although some producers are now making a more approachable style. Rosso di Montalcino is a less expensive, ready to drink version from either young vines or slightly inferior fruit.

Three more Tuscan wines of note include:

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG. From the town of the same names, these wines are made from basically the same grapes and same blend as Chianti, although the sangiovese clone in this district is Prugnolo Gentile. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was the first DOCG, and there are some excellent examples.

- Carmignano DOCG. This is a dry red wine made from Chianti-like blends, although Cabernet Sauvignon can also be used.

- Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG. Tuscany's best white wine, it is vinified from the grape variety of the same name. A fresh wine with an almond flavor and slightly oily texture, it is best drunk young.

What is a Super Tuscan?

The Super Tuscan phenomenon began in the 1970's when some producers decided to get attention by creating a new style of wine. The wines are called Super Tuscans either because they are produced outside the Chianti zone, or because their grape blends include varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc) that do not conform to the DOC requirements for Chianti, or because they are 100% Sangiovese which previously was prohibited in the Chianti area. Although the blends differ from producer to producer, what these wines do have in common is their expensive price tags. The most famous Super Tuscans, such as Sassicaia and Solaia , can induce collectors to spend upwards of $200 a bottle in a good vintage. The wines can vary widely in style from Chianti-like to Bordeaux-like to California Cabernet-like, depending on the blend.