Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lunch: Cecchi Family Estates

by Rob Bralow, Wine Post Editor

The world is full of people. Even better, the world is full of people trying to make something new, exciting, and refreshing. I find that this is especially true in the world of alcoholic beverages, especially wine.

I was treated to a press lunch where roughly ten other journalists and I tasted through the offerings of the Cecchi Family Estates, imported by Banfi Vintners. Cecchi started as a n├ęgociant family, lead by Luigi Cecchi. Today's Luigi Cecchi, grandson of the first, began purchasing land throughout Italy, including vineyards in the famous Chianti Classico region.

Andrea Cecchi, the current generation proprietor along with his brother Cesare, lead the lunch and expounded on the family philosophy of earth driven wines. Tasting through the wines I could see what he meant. They all had a lot of rich and rustic qualities, certainly wines that screamed for food.

There were three wines that stuck out to me at the tasting. The first was the aperitif wine, the 2009 Litorale Vermentino Maremma Toscanna. This white wine was beautifully floral, with a light perfume of red grapefruit, lemon zest, and soft minerality. It was very pleasant to drink and had I not known there were bigger fish coming down the stream, I might have indulged myself unhealthily.

The second wine I took note of was the 2006 Villa Cerna Chianti Classico Riserva. I almost did not want to take my nose out of the glass and taste the wine, it was that good! Rich tea leaves, a soft mix of red and black fruits, and a spicy complexity made me go back again and again to see what I could find. I was absolutely shocked when I was told this wine sold for under $25. Incredible value.

The last wine was really the spotlight wine of the afternoon. The Cecchi Family's new wine, COEVO is a quintessential super-Tuscan. The name means "contemporary" in Italian and also alludes to an "EVOlution." On the bottle is one of the famous quotes from St. Augustine:
Time does not exist. It is only a dimension of the spirit. The past is past. The future does not exist, as it has yet to happen. And the present is only one instance of separation between past and future.

Whether you feel philosophical or not, this wine is certainly worth seeking out for the experience. With a strong Sangiovese base, the 2006 COEVO is a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. The wine is huge, larger than life fruit with a dry background. Definitely in a more modern style, I believe this wine may need a year or two to integrate the flavors together.

Disclaimer: This write-up is a direct result of a press lunch.

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