Tuscany in a glass: a lovely portfolio of real-deal Tuscans has landed

My wife Tracie and I thoroughly enjoyed this bottle of Toscana rosso last week by Scheggiolla in Chianti Classico, Siena province (pronounced skeh-JOHL-lah if I’m not mistaken). winemaker doesn’t specify the blend on the winery’s site but gauging from the color and flavor, I imagine it’s mostly Sangiovese with the addition of some Merlot.

It had that earthy Chianti character that you could easily pick out in a bland tasting. And it had just enough funk initially on the nose to live up to its credentials as a true small-scale, one-farm, family-run estate. We loved it and it weighed in at a price that would make it a by-the-glass restaurant entry.

We weren’t surprised: this estate, together with a handful of other Tuscan properties, is brokered in Texas by our friend Federico “Fredman” Marconi from Montepulciano. He’s one of the best Tuscan tasters I’ve ever known. In part because of his unfiltered experience on the ground and in part because of his many years in the trade, his knack for sourcing real-deal Tuscan wines is up there with the very best.

I’ve tasted the higher-tier wines by Scheggiolla as well: they reminded me of those chilly Saturday nights in Tuscany when you sit around a hearth and eat fried wild boar liver with the grandpa’s wine — and it’s freakin’ delicious, all around.

I am also eager to pop the cork on a bottle of 2009 Pruneto Chianti Classico, another wine from Fred’s wheelhouse. I tasted it at a trade tasting last year and there’s a bottle in my wine library just waiting for a blood rare steak. I bought both bottles at the Houston Wine Merchant.

Fred’s portfolio landed with one of the growing army of young and independent importer-distributors in Texas — DASH Imports — who increasingly cater to buyers who want authentic Italian and who aren’t afraid to turn their customers on to something they don’t recognize. Every day, it seems, there are more cracks in Southern-Glazer’s and Republic’s once impenetrable iron curtain in our otherwise free-market state. And that’s a good thing for everyone concerned (even the big boys, in my view, because diversity enriches our wine culture and community and as a result, everyone wins).

Keep on trucking, Fred. We love you and we love these awesome wines. Thanks for getting them to Texas.

In other news…

Just need to give a major shout-out to Tracie who hooked my band up with her delicious carbonara (below) yesterday after a songwriting session. Really awesome, paired with some Bucci Verdicchio, an excellent match for the dish imho.

What can I say? I married well!

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