2006 Caiarossa Bianco, White Tuscan Wine with Grana Padano Cheese
This white (Bianco) wine I actually made… some 10 years ago.
As the winemaker in charge working at a small but magnificient biodynamic winery and estate in Tuscany, Italy called Caiarossa.
This is a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier from the winery’s estate vineyards on the coast of central Italy, on the hills just up from the famous Bolgheri area (that gives some of the ost famous reds in Italy that are Sassicaia and Ornellaia).
As I always did as a winemaker, it was made with extreme attention to details and love. I picked the grapes in full ripeness, the Viognier in particular, having waited from the typical tropical and apricot characters to reach a solid maturity level and start shining in the berries.
Last time I had tried this wine though…
Somewhere in 2009 I think as it was still a relative youngster of a white wine, I found it very bland, dominated by oak characters and not much fruit expression.
It was such a disappointment to me, and a hit to my pride as a winemaker 🙁
I was always more of a red wine winemaker. But had a fair amount of experience and successes with barrel-fermented whites. And I had put so much heart into this baby… it was heart-breaking to find out the result seemed in the end simply poor!
This is until, 7 years later, I stuck my nose back into a bottle of 2006 Caiarossa Bianco I had stored, just in case…
You might be thinking that as a winemaker, you receive tens of bottles of the wine you’ve made. But this is simply often not the case. You do the hard work, but your baby wine belongs to the estate and unless you’ve stored a few bottles after bottling yourself, it is often sold before you realize.
So even more important to me was the re-encounter with a crib of mine I had left behind…
This Tuscan white wine comes in very shiny gold yellow color, showing its 10 years of age in a splendid fashion. It Hasn’t turned brown or amber in any way, purely gold!!
The nose also shows signs of wine’s evolution. It’s nutty (fresh and juicy walnut), a littl warm-waxy, but there is also bright ripe lemon and tropical aromas freshening up the nose’s profile.
Not 100% sure what to expect at smelling it! Either a tired evolved white, or a mature one with plenty to say…
The answer comes rather quickly at putting it in your mouth!
What’s strikes first is an utter smoothness and delicate silky tannins combined with a luscious perceived sweetness although the wine is actually dry, but it feels so full of sunshine with jammy lemon flavors, and confit pineapple that there is an impression and subtle sweetness and luciousness to it.
Oily texture, solid acidity balance out the sheer alcoholic power and flavors concentration well giving an overall fresh feel.
The outstanding feature here is the complexity of the flavor profile. Fresh citrus and tropical fruit we’ve talked about already…
But there is also big flavors yet with a subtle expression revealing each note one after the other, of toasted nuts (hazelnut and pecan), sweet spices (nutmeg mainly), and luscious well-integrated oaky not s of vanilla and coconut.
It’s a butttery, lemon-infused, coconutty pecan pie!
If you can visualise what this would taste like… simply yummy !!
A rather outstanding 10-year-old Tuscan white with huge powerful and aromatic concentration, but also an outstanding complexity combining freshness of sun-ripen fruit with notes of oak and mineral evolution.
I guess I made this wine some ten years ago, so probably you can discount me from judging it.
But while I thought a few years back that I had made an ordinary white wine, from bland and inexpressive it has now turned out to be an absolute stunner of balance and concentration, to me anyway…
Was I a decent white wine maker as well?
Now I am more convinced than ever, that I was…
Wine & Food Pairing?
If drinking an excellent wine I made with my own hands wasn’t enough, I also happened to find a pairing paying partner for it on the night I tasted it!
I had just received some Grana Padano cheese from the Consorzio (the bureau responsible for the promotion of the protected origin deli).
I found the young version of it, only aged for 10/12 months (while these cheese are often more matured, 15 or 24 month-old generally), made for a stunning wine & food pairing partner, with a spectacular reaction on the palate.
This younger Grana Padano is more creamy that its elder cousins, more nutty and with fresher grass aromas that resonate perfectly with the wine’s walnut and citrus flavors.
Genuinely an outstanding combination!
I have tried a fair amount of wine & Italian cheeses pairings in my days, but this combination of Grana Padano with aged Tuscan white was simply close to perfect, creating some sort of irresistible chemical flavor reaction on the palate.