2008 Carmignano from Le Farnete

1Watching pallets unload from a container is a sight that brings tears of joy to my eyes. The anticipation of something new and good is almost too much to bear. Less than two weeks ago a container arrived from Italy with a bevy of delectable direct imports from Tuscany, Veneto, and Piedmont. We wasted no time tasting through them. Oh boy what fun! And then came along the 2008 Carmignano from Le Farnete. It brought us to a reverent silence. A great wine, for sure. IT IS RED WINE THE WAY WE LIKE IT. It’s got ample fruit, unmistakable soil qualities, judicious use of oak, seamless tannins and a lively finish. And though I have the honor of choosing Le Farnete’s 2008 Carmignano as my Pick of the Week, I can assure you that my enthusiasm for this wine is shared by the entire Wine House staff; if it weren’t but for a computer glitch last week, Pete would have been all over this wine. Normally, if there are samples left to be taken home, the staff cordially divides up the wine. This time, however, I could see the calculating look in everyone’s eyes as we tried to determine who would be the lucky one to take the last bit home. No fistfights broke out, I’m happy to report, thanks only to learning that the bottle price was only $17.99 (that’s $15.29 with a case purchase)!!! Hey buddy, you take this empty bottle home, I’ll buy myself a full one to take home, thank you very much.
2The Carmignano from Enrico Pierazzuoli’s estate, Le Farnete, is not new to TWH. We’ve been importing Enrico’s Carmignano for several vintages. I’m pretty sure many of you still remember the incredible 2004 and the beefy 2005. Who could forget them? I bought a case each of the ’04 and ’05 at the time (and soon a case of the ’08), but nothing is left. If I know I’ve got a bottle of Carmignano from Le Farnete sitting somewhere in my vicinity, I’m going to drink it! I am unable to leave this wine alone to age. The wine region of Carmignano, north west of Florence, is an interesting one dating back to the 14th century. In the 17th century, the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’Medici gave this area legal status. He himself was growing and making wine here and regularly sent it to nobility around Europe. Despite this early recognition of Carmignano’s high quality, it was not until 1990 that it was given its own DOCG. Another curious note about Carmignano is that long before the proliferation of “Super Tuscans” from Chianti in the ’90s, Cabernet Sauvignon was cultivated in this region. It still remains the only Tuscan region to require the inclusion of Cabernet Sauvignon. Le Farnete’s breakdown of Sangiovese to Cabernet Sauvignon is 80/20. It’s clear that the supple bright cherry fruit comes from Sangiovese and the underlying structure and tannin comes from the Cabernet. Le Farnete produces less than 1500 cases each year of their Carmignano. It is aged in large 60 gallon oak barrels for eight months and then bottled aged for another eight months.

I’m sat here in front of the computer screen with a bottle next to the keyboard. Just writing about this wine gets my salivary glands going. I can’t stop dreaming about food pairings with the 2008 Carmignano like garlic-studded roast pork or oil-rubbed T-Bone steak. Yum! I remember once pairing the ’04 with oven roasted pork ribs seasoned with a hint of red pepper flakes which were then basted with Vermouth. Though I may be inclined to serving this with meat, the vivacity and lift of fruit in the ’08 allows for pairing with lighter fare like risotto or vegetable/grain main courses.
Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Italy, Tuscany

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