A Tuscan Beauty for under $15



barcolabelI’ve been making my way through our latest wine arrivals from Italy, reacquainting myself with old favorites and discovering new ones like Enrico Pierazzuoli’s Le Farnete 2010 Barco Reale di Carmignano. Producer/winemaker Enrico Pierazzuoli owns two estates, one in Carmignano and the other in Chianti Montalbano, whose wines TWH has been importing directly for close to 16 years. I know this because 15 years ago, a few months after I began working at TWH, I took off on a trip to Italy which I had planned well in advance of joining TWH staff. I had a pretty tight schedule already in place but was able to connect with Enrico at his estate in Chianti Montalbano near the town of Monte Lupo just west of Florence. Enrico met with me and my now-husband for a tour of the estate and winery. The lasting impression I was left with after meeting Enrico at his estate (which at that time was referred to as Tenuta Cantagallo, before Gallo Winery sent out a Cease and Desist letter claiming copyright infringement because “gallo” appeared in the name), was of a young, passionate winemaker prepared to put in the necessary hard work in the vineyard and in the winery in order to produce the best wine possible. Having completed extensive replanting and modernizing production with new equipment and a new regiment of barrels, it’s obvious to me that Enrico was able to actualize his vision. Along with his brother and two sisters, Enrico has brought his family’s winery estates into the modern era while retaining the traditions of a family business.

anyaenricoThe 2010 Barco Reale is essentially a mini-me to their Carmignano, a long-time Wine House bestseller.
Whereas the Carmignano, a DOCG, must be in barrel for a year and in bottle for another, Enrico’s Barco Reale, a DOC, sees only 4 months in 1 year old barrel and another 4 months in bottle before release. Like Enrico’s Carmignano, the Barco Reale is comprised of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The name Barco Reale refers to a wall constructed in the 17th century by the Medici family around a hunting preserve. Parts of the original wall exist to this day. In terms of its flavor profile, I get lots of dusty, rocky notes with underpinnings of red cherry and sweet plums. There is a discernible vegetal/bell pepper note from the Cabernet Sauvignon that adds a nice counterpoint to the cherry-er Sangiovese flavors. The 2010 Barco Reale has real charm and is styled for early drinking. It’s a good choice for backyard parties and informal gatherings. At our last patio party my husband grilled up some Spiedini, pounded meat stuffed with seasoned bread crumbs tied up with pancetta then impaled onto a skewer, and I can’t tell you how gloriously well the Barco Reale matched up with it. It was so good my guests assumed that the Barco Reale was a far more expensive wine than it is and when I told them it sells for $11.89 by the case, I got some incredulous stares back.

 

In the winter of 2011, I met with Enrico at a trade tasting event in New York City. Though only our second meeting I was greeted as an old friend. It can be that way in the wine biz. Enrico makes the wine and it’s my job to share his story and his wines. That relationship is valued and it’s what keeps me cemented in this business. More than a decade since we first met in Tuscany, with a few more grey hairs on our heads, Enrico once again impressed me with his devotion and pride for his wines. He still has a nerdy (I mean this in a good way!) attention to detail, explaining at length the technical aspects of his production. Upon departing, I was asked to come visit again in Italy and I replied my usual “You have no idea how much I would like that to happen!” —Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Italy, Tuscany

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