Deep ruby color; cherry, blackberry, red berries, leather, pepper on the nose; black cherry, blackberry, redcurrant, plum, oak, vanilla, roasted nuts on the palate.
Dry; plush in the mouth, but with some tannic tug and redcurrant tang. Mild acidity. Full body. Rich in the mouth. Aggressive fruit flavors that flaunt merlot power on the initial attack, then calm down on the mid-palate and relatively abbreviated finish. While this wine is six years old, it is big and bold enough to benefit from a few more taming years in the bottle. 14% ABV
Fermented in stainless steel at controlled temperature to coax out maximum flavors and intensity. Malolactic fermentation in barriques. Aged in new French oak barriques for 18 months—imparting significant oak influence—followed by more than a year of bottle age before release. Even at that, at six years old this is young wine. Decant or let it spend time in your large glass.
Colline San Biagio is in the Carmignano wine region 12 miles west of Florence and overlooking the Arno Valley and the plain of Pistoia. This has been quality wine country since the 14th century. In 1716, the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici made it one of the first designated Tuscan wine regions, along with Rufinà, Pomino, Chianti Classico, and Valdarno di Sopra. In 1932, the Carmignano area was part of the Chianti Montalbano DOC. It was recognized on its own in 1975 and declared a DOCG—the highest recognition—in 1990.
With its honors, the region often is under-appreciated because of its small size—270 acres—and production—30,000 cases a year. That said, their quality consistently earns respect. Major reason: it has long been a trailblazer. Sangiovese is the most-planted grape, but centuries before “Super Tuscan” became the next big thing in wine, the region was growing Bordeaux grapes. This wine is 100% merlot, for instance.
Colline San Biago is located in the tiny town of Bacchereto, which is close to Vinci, which is where Leonardo da Vinci grew up. Leonardo’s first work was a view of the Arno River from this vicinity.
The makers have a deep history. From the website: “Since 1578 our family has taken care tenaciously and confidently of the products of a generous and unique land, in Tuscany, where centuries-old vines and olive trees coexist in an aesthetic combination of great emotional impact. Our wines, our oil and our grappa tell a past and a present made of memory, traditions and techniques, which enhance the potential of nature and the human work. The bond of these experiences is our strength and we are proud to make it shared.”
More info: “Since the 16th century our family has lived and worked in this land of Carmignano with the dedication that we have passed down over time to the new generations, so that they can remember and respect what nature has given us. The art of winemaking has always been our commitment, our mission, which grandparents Luigi and Maria Beatrice, sons Maria Pia, Claudia, Luigi, and grandchildren Elisabetta, Gabriele and Matilde have always cherished. Our family history represents our heritage today, a story of passion and dedication in enhancing the resources of a particularly suitable territory.”
Colline San Biagio Merlot Quattordicisei, Tuscany 2015 is big and bold merlot. Muscular, assertive red and black fruits built around a significant backbone of oak. As it evolves in the glass, phenolic sweetness/ripeness appears, especially late in the mid-palate and finish. If you like your merlot soft, demure, and unchallenging, this is not the pour for you. If you want a merlot that runs with right-bank Bordeaux cousins, seek out this bottle. Because I received this as a tasting sample, it means the winery is trying to expand its US market, which is a good thing for wine lovers. Pair with grilled beef; lamb; veal; poultry; wild game; cured meat; medium-aged cheese. $30-36