Ca’Marcanda winery is named for the seemingly endless negotiations it took to purchase the historic estate. The name has come to represent the best in modern Italian winemaking.
Italy is home to amazing world-class wines. But it wasn’t always so.
In the decades before the Italian wine renaissance, regions like Chianti had restrictive regulations that handcuffed the creativity of winemakers. The best wines sometimes had to be released as vino da tavola, table wine.
Modern Italian wine began to take shape in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Super Tuscan movement was launched near the town of Bolgheri, with the introduction of Cabernet-based Sassicaia. (A Super Tuscan is considered a Tuscan blend made with Cabernet Sauvignon or other international varieties.) Other wines based on international grape varieties followed.
Angelo Gaja, the owner of Ca’Marcanda winery, was instrumental in the introducing revolutionary winemaking practices in Italy, such as the planting of French grape varieties and the use of malolactic fermentation and oak barriques. His pioneering spirit is embodied in the Ca’Marcanda winery.
Super Super Tuscans
During a recent Wine Studio education session, we had the chance to explore three outstanding wines from Ca’Marcanda. Each features international grape varieties and only one includes a small quantity of a signature Italian grape.
Bolgheri is located along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in an area known as the Maremma. The climate, with hot days, cool nights and brisk sea air, is ideal for the growing of premium red grapes. Today Bolgheri is its own officially recognized DOC wine region.
Any discussion of Ca’Marcanda would be incomplete without mention of its two types of soil. The rich dark “terre brune” is primarily loan and clay. The “terre bianche” is light soil, primarily clay and sand, rich in limestone and filled with abundant stones and pebbles.
The 2015 Ca’Marcanda Promis was our first taste. It is 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah and 10% Sangiovese. Promis (pronounced proh-MEES) means commitment, expectation, fulfillment and hope. We enjoyed the bottle with a dish of spaghetti.
Promis grapes are grown in the terre brune. This wine is supple and elegant, with the Merlot providing a silky texture. There is a mix of black fruit and a savory note. The wine is aged in slightly used barriques for 12 months. Promis retails for $48.
The middle wine in the Ca'Marcanda trio of reds is the 2015 Magari. Magari means “if only it were true.” The wine has been produced for 20 years. Starting with the 2015 vintage, the blend will be predominantly Cabernet Franc. The composition is 60% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot.
In the glass the wine is a deep purple with a bright edge. On the palate the wine is rich and savory with luscious blueberry notes. The wine offers a pop of pepper. It is polished with a nice minerality. The SRP for Magari is $65.
Ca’Marcanda Flagship Red
The crown of Ca’Marcanda is its namesake wine. The grapes are grown in 100% terre bianche soil, which are ideal for producing long-lived wines.
To enjoy this special wine, Green Dragon prepared Filet Mignon and Truffled Mushroom Reduction. The entree was served with organic polenta with Pecorino Romano cheese and braised kale with onion, garlic and bacon.
The 2013 Ca’Marcanda is a blend of 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. It was decanted for an hour before our meal, but continued to evolve in the glass until the decanter was empty more than an hour later.
In the glass the wine is a deep red and the aroma has layers of fruit. Ca’Marcanda has structured but relaxed tannins, nice minerality with core of dark cherry and blueberry. This is a wine to savor and sip while reflecting on the goodness of life.
Ca’Marcanda is only produced in exceptional years. All three of the grape varieties are fermented separately. After blending, the wine ages for 18 months in slightly used barriques and gets another year of bottle aging. Ca’Marcanda retails for $145.
Why settle for average, when you can enjoy “super?” Super Tuscan, that is. The sensory experience of modern Italian winemaking is at its best in Ca’Marcanda wines.