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Cortona Wines 2023

The second edition of this brilliant event organised by Enoteca Meucci is held in Borgo Riccio just outside Cortona. The event gathers about 23 wine producers from the Cortona area and it is gaining ever growing popularity being attended by hundreds of Syrah lovers and the wine trade.

A fine dining experience at the Enoteca Meucci’s Restaurant followed the all day tasting held in the gardens.

The origin of the Syrah grape in Tuscany has many unproven claims. I believe it was Count Montecarlo of Lucca, in the early 20th Century on a return journey from a trip to France who planted this vine first in Arezzo, then in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in the area surrounding Cortona.

The history of this vine can be traced back to Savoy in France, originating from Mondeuse Blanc and Durezza vines, a cousin of Teroldego and Aglianico.

With the assistance of Professor Attilio Scienza and the University of Milan, a detailed analysis of soil and climate in the Cortona area was carried out. This led to various clones to be planted in the early 1970’s. The overriding factor in favour of Cortona was the similarity of the Cortonese climate with that of Rhône, the recognised homeland of Syrah.

Tenimenti D’Alessandro has become the foundling father of Syrah winemaking in Cortona.

At the end of the 1980’s intense experimentation started with the rootstock capable of giving the best qualitative results. The Syrah wine from this estate excelled, adapting well to the warm, bright and dry environment, helped by the sedimentary deposits of Pliocene origin: clay, sand and silt. The first vintage of Tenimenti D'Alessandro 100% Syrah in 1992 was named Bosco.

It was not until 2000 that a small group of local producers decided to get together and initiate the Consorzio Vini Cortona.

The importance of Cortona Syrah DOC was highlighted in 2004 when winemakers from this area were invited to Rome to compete with Syrah producers from all over the World.

Nowadays Cortona has become the capital of Syrah winemaking in Italy.

At the time of writing this article there are 60 wineries and producers allied to the Cortona DOC Consortium.

Wines worthy of mention…

Fabrizio Dionisio Il Castagno Syrah Cortona DOC 2016

An exceptional high quality Syrah from this outstanding producer

Baldetti Crano Syrah Cortona DOC 2019

Full bodied. Persistent and elegant. First bottled in 2008

Tenuta Angelici Bocca di Selva Syrah Cortona DOC 2019

An original expression of Syrah, showing great breadth and textural tenacity.

And... Not just Syrah!

Longaia Pinot Nero Cortona IGT 2019

Longaia is a boutique winery growing Pinot Noir biologically at Il Rifugio. This wine is exceptionally expressive and perfectly vindicates the long term commitment and temerity of its winemaker Chuck Ofria producing high quality Pinot Noir in the hills of Cortona.

Very quaffable indeed!

Tasting notes of the wines accompanying the private dining event:

Baracchi Brut Trebbiano Classic Method

Golden colour with straw yellow undertone. Aromatics of bergamot and gardenia, orchard fruits, citrus peel, almond shell and brioche. Balanced, fresh, crisp with layered minerality. Persistent. Long close.

Points 89 TW

Fabrizio Dionisio Linfa Viognier Tuscany IGT 2021

Pale straw yellow in colour with golden highlights. Aromas of magnolia and daffodil. A mix of yellow and green apple, quince, honeydew melon. Cool entry, shell minerality. Fine tannins balanced with zesty acidity. Full of energy. Agile and fresh. Leaves a clean mouthfeel. Quality wine from this top producer. Medium length on the close.

Points 91 TW

Cantina Canaio Le Petit Rosato Syrah 100% 2021

Bright pale pink with copper undertones. Aromatics of pink rose petal and gardenia. Strawberry with green top, white peach, rusty iron minerality. Medium body. Elegant and beautifully put together. Acidity and tannins in perfect harmony. Long finish. A classic rosé. Perfect for the approaching Summer.

Points 91 TW

Tenuta Angelici Syrah 100% Cortona DOC 2018

Deep ruby red in colour. Aromatics of violet and peony. Dark cherry, plum, redcurrant. Warm entry, soft edges, expressive and balanced. Great fruit quality. Secondary nuances of pomegranate and orange peel, mild spice. Long articulated close.

Points 92 TW

Chiara Vinciarelli Polluce Syrah 100% Cortona DOC 2018

Deep ruby red in colour with black undertones. Forward aromas of blackcurrant and dark blue florals. Plum, mild toasted tobacco, dark Eastern spice, white smoke. Rounded upon entry, expands on mid palate. Good textural depth. Showing faint alcohol warmth on the finish.

Points 91 TW

Baldetti Arenite Syrah 100% Toscana IGT 2017

Intense medium ruby red in colour. Red rose petal aromatics. Dark cherry, blackcurrant, bitter orange peel. Cool entry. Slate minerality. Juicy, agile, explosive on mid palate. Tons of energy, black fruits pumping through the veins of this wine. Faint puff of smoke on the close. Exotic dusty sensation from the tannins. Pin point acidity. Long broad finish.

Points 94 TW

Trevisan Il Papacello Vermouth Rosso Syrah

Clove, cinnamon, bitter orange zest, star anise, Sambuco flowers. Kirsch infused cherry.

A good pairing to the citrus dessert…

Congratulations to Mauro Meucci of Enoteca Meucci, Maître Sommelier Massimiliano Silvestrini and Chef Massimo for organising the successful Cortona Wine 2023 event at Borgo Riccio, Cortona.

© Tony Wood Italian Wine 2023

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