Once famous for basic wines produced in novelty bottles wrapped in straw, in recent years Tuscany has become known for producing a large number of excellent quality red wines, dubbed the Super Tuscans. Unfortunately for me, it has not been so diligent in producing white wines. However, all that is changing with a new wave of wineries producing wines from little known autochthonous grapes which include some excellent whites.
One of the hidden gems of the Valtiberina is the shop Ottimi Vini in Sansepolcro run by the charming Stephanie Strugnell. Of mixed Italian and English origins (like me), Stephanie has an encyclopedic knowledge of local and not-so-local wine gained from her family’s fifty-seven years in the wine industry. Stephanie is currently guiding me through the wines of the region and so I have decided to start a new feature on Chestnuts and Truffles of Wine of the Week. Don’t worry though, I will be featuring a large amount of red wine too.
We’ll start this week with a wine Stephanie sourced for us after trying a similar wine in a restaurant: a white Sangiovese. Sangiovese is the grape typically associated with the red wines of Chianti and many of the Super Tuscans and is not often used to produce white wine. I must say that the results were very pleasing, producing a dry white exactly to my palate. The wine is made at Tenuta Fertuna in the south-west of Tuscany in a vineyard of 50 hectares.
Producer: Fertuna, Gavorrano, (GR)
Region: Toscana Bianco, IGT
An elegant, deep-straw coloured wine with a flowery nose with hints of grapefruit and citrus. Once in the mouth you get the dense, velvety richness of black cherry dissolving into a long, dry, toasty finish. Made unusually for Tuscany, from 100% Sangiovese (red) grapes, it resembles a champagne without the bubbles.