Art, creativity, innovation... just a few words that have been used throughout the centuries to describe Italy and just the words we like to use when describing our award-winning Libero Toscana IGT.
Toscana has an intense ruby red colour with aromas of ripe red berry fruit, black cherry, hints of cacao, and sweet spices. Full-bodied and vigorous on the palate, a rich fruit and spice flavour and a classic refreshing acidity. Persistent and perfectly balanced, this wine has impeccable style both in structure and round tannins.
This wine is organically produced.
While I do enjoy drinking alcohol it certainly hasn't progressed to the state of becoming a connoisseur, especially with regards to writing descriptively. Even wine has only been a part of my palate for only the last few years; red wines specifically, even more recent. But I will do my best to be as descriptive as possible.
The title itself, Libero Toscana Indicazione Geografica Tipica, tells you a lot about the wine. 'Toscana' tells you that this is an Italian wine, specifically from the central region of Tuscany. 'Libero' while I am unsure if it is a descriptor or brand, translates to "Free" and could relate to the Vino Libero consortium that only produces wines free of chemical fertilizers and herbicides, with at least 40% below the legal limit of added sulfites. Indicazione Geografica Tipica or I.G.T. is a classification of wine that was introduced in 1992 and is used to classify high-quality wines that aren't quite the standard of the luxurious but outdated Denominazione di Origine Controllata (D.O.C.) wines, to avoid them being lumped in with the Vino da Tavola category, more commonly known as table wine. So we have a high-quality organic wine, imported from Italy. All determined from the title.
Unlike New Zealand wines with the brand at the top in bold, this wine has the brand at the bottom. Fratelli Saraceni. Which is interestingly the same company that released the 'Blumond', the blue sparkling wine that went viral in the media a few months back. But enough about the "who", let's look at the contents of that bottle.
The wine has a strong dark red colour to it; a blood-red colour so dark that it is almost opaque. Quite a strong aroma when first poured, there are hints of cherry and varied spices, but the scent does disperse quickly. There is a rich fruity flavour, but what really stands out is the smoothness of the wine. I have a tendency to avoid red wines because I dislike the often chalky feel left behind by the tannins, but this doesn't seem to exist with this wine. The sweetness, acidity, and tannins, are all well-balanced and well-rounded. Along with the smooth nature of the wine, there was a savoury finish. That is to say that the last flavour left after swallowing is a savoury one. The well-balanced flavour despite the reasonably high tannins meant the wine worked well with roasted red meats, though it would also work just as well with gamier cuts.
All grapes have tannins, but the red wines being fermented with their skins on means red wines contain much more than those wines fermented without their skins (white wines). But the tannin levels do presumably vary according to grape variety, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot having high levels of tannin, Gamay and Barbera having a lot fewer tannins, and Pinot Noir and Sangiovese (which is the variety that this wine is made from) sits in the middle.
That all being said I did drink the wine over a few days, and I did note that the balance did degrade over time quite quickly, and the acidity and tannin levels did become significantly more prominent. So I would recommend consuming the bottle in one sitting (share it! don't just drink the whole bottle for the sake of finishing it). This imbalance does mean the finish of the wine switches to something more tart and bitter.
An expensive price for a glass of wine, but it certainly has a great quality and flavour that is worth every cent.
I deliberately asked my friends the Ducks (so called because their home is a virtual sanctuary for wild ducks) to taste this wine with me as they are true connoisseurs, so I knew I would get honest comments. I don't drink a lot of wine myself, so I prefer to get an expert opinion for a product like this. We had planned a small dinner party - them, me, and Mr 15 (who does not drink wine so we won't count him)! Roast chicken was on the menu so I asked them if it was appropriate to have red rather than white wine with it. They said it was all a matter of taste, and they were very happy to try the red.
Mrs Duck sipped hers then looked at the rest of us in delight. We all waited while she had another sip, then another - and then declared that it was absolutely delicious! Mr Duck and I then tried ours too and had to agree: it was perfect. Just the right balance between sweet and dry, and very smooth. Mrs Duck asked where it had come from as it was much nicer than any other New Zealand wines she had tasted; of course, I had to explain that it was an import from Italy. She nodded; they have travelled extensively in Europe, and she agreed that a good Italian wine is among the best. While in Italy, they had been thoroughly spoiled for quality.
Mr Duck said he could taste fruit other than grapes, and liked the non-acidic aftertaste that lingered on his tongue. He thought he could taste cherry; we checked the descriptor on the Wuthrich Facebook page and found that his impression was correct - cherries are certainly included, along with cacao and other spices. He said this gave the wine a full-bodied flavour which made it very pleasant to drink. Both of them assured me that they could happily drink more than one bottle, but because they had to drive home, they had to be satisfied with just the one for the three of us.
The smoothness and the lack of acidity really appealed to Mrs Duck. She thought this was due to the strict quality controls which are applied to wines of this calibre. The descriptor "Indicazione Geografica Tipica", commonly abbreviated to IGT, appears on the label under the word Toscana - this shows that the wine is of a superior quality, consistent with the standards of a particular region, in this case Tuscany. It is also organically produced and contains only the best fruit and spices.
The bottle looks stunning, very sophisticated and deserving of a prime place in a wine rack so it can show off its dark charm. However, we did have one small issue with it. The printing is tiny; we all tried (and failed) to make out the words on the front label but it was too challenging. We all speak Italian, so it would have been interesting to read about the wine from the bottle itself rather than having to resort to the website to get the information. The rear of the bottle was much easier to read as it used a plain font rather than the elaborate cursive on the front label. Incidentally, the "Libero" in the product title means "free" (of artificial additives), and "Toscana" of course means Tuscany. So I suppose it could be argued that all the drinker really needs to know about the wine is summed up in those two words.
Like all special wines, this one is expensive - but all three of us thought it was worth it. It is a lovely drink for a special occasion, and they assured me that they would be buying some and spreading the word. It is far too good a find to keep to themselves. In the meantime, what nicer than to sit at home and enjoy a glass while watching the latest hatchlings play on the lawn outside? A bucolic pastime worthy of Tuscany!
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