Brancaia 2012 Iltraia (94WS 94JS 93WA)
- Size: 750ml
- Item Code: 085000020555
- Vintage: 2012
#52 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2015 – Named for a hillside in the estate vineyard, Brancaia in Maremma, the 2012 Ilatraia (Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc) is a wine with intense aromas and flavors of licorice and blueberry. Full-bodied, with ultra-fine tannins and a long finish.
Tuscany is one of the first wine regions in Europe. It is also one of Italy’s top wine producing regions (after Piedmont). Despite producing many wine varieties, Tuscany is best known for: Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, and Carmignano.
Chianti Classico is also the region where most Super Tuscans are produced. SuperTuscans are the untraditional Italian wines that use Cabernet Sauvignon as a blend. The IGT classification was created to recognize their quality.
Petit Verdot is thought to be native to western Bordeaux, likely present in the Médoc well before Cabernet Sauvignon and probably more prevalently grown. Plantings are sparse today but where it is grown, the variety’s contribution is significant. In Bordeaux Petit Verdot is confined to the left bank of the Gironde, where the deep gravel soils are warmer than the clay soils of the right bank. It ripens extremely late, after Cabernet Sauvignon, and in cool years may not ripen at all, or only irregularly. Wet growing seasons also work to its disadvantage. Hardy but not prolific, the Petit Verdot vine produces small, spherical, thick skinned berries of intense blue-black color, high in tannin, alcohol, acidity and phenolics, or flavoring elements. In the Médoc, in those properties where it is planted at all, it usually represents less than ten percent of the vines. Its grudging cooperation in the vineyard is likely why it is not more prevalent, since it is an excellent contributor of color, structure, fragrance and fruit density, though it lacks finesse. On its own, in warmer climates, it yields a dark, firmly structured, tannic wine of superb acidic balance with full, fresh, spice, pepper and black fruit flavors and aromas offset by an impression of violets. Also grown in Italy, Spain, California, Australia, Chile and Argentina.
Recent studies in ampelography, using the relatively new application of DNA fingerprinting, have determined that cabernet franc is one of the genetic parents of cabernet sauvignon (the other is sauvignon blanc). Both cabernet varieties are among the five major grapes of Bordeaux. The differences between franc and sauvignon become apparent when grown and fermented in close proximity.
Cabernet franc vines bear thinner-skinned, earlier-ripening grapes with lower overall acidity, when compared to cabernet sauvignon. Yields are similar, although cabernet franc normally buds and ripens somewhat earlier. Cabernet Franc leaf.Consequently vineyards in climates where rain is a harvest-time threat often plant this grape, in place of or in addition to cabernet sauvignon. Cabernet franc vines survive cold winters better than cabernet sauvignon, but are more susceptible to being damaged by Spring frosts.
France has by far the most cabernet franc plantings of any wine producing nation with over 35,000 acres. There are significant plantings of cabernet franc in St. Emilion, the Loire Valley (where it is known as Breton), and south west France (aka Bouchy). There are cabernet franc vineyards in Romania, Hungary, the Balkans, and the Friuli region of north eastern Italy (aka cabernet frank). New plantings in the 1990s in Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina show promise. In the United States, cabernet franc is planted in Long Island, New York, and in Washington state. California has about 2,000 acres, mostly planted since 1980, over half in Napa and Sonoma.
Depending a great deal on vineyard practices, the flavor profile of Cabernet Franc may be both fruitier and sometimes more herbal or vegetative than Cabernet Sauvignon, although lighter in both color and tannins. Over-cropping and underexposure each tend to accentuate the vegetative flavor elements. Typically somewhat spicy in aroma and often reminiscent of plums and especially violets, Cabernet Franc is more often used as a secondary or tertiary element in varietally-blended red wines, such as Bordeaux or Meritage, instead of as a stand-alone varietal bottling.
Cabernet Sauvignon makes the most dependable candidate for aging, more often improving into a truly great wine than any other single varietal. With age, its distinctive black currant aroma can develop bouquet nuances of cedar, violets, leather, or cigar box and its typically tannic edge may soften and smooth considerably. It is the most widely planted and significant among the five dominant varieties in the Medoc district of France’s Bordeaux region, as well as the most successful red wine produced in California. Long thought to be an ancient variety, recent genetic studies at U.C. Davis have determined that Cabernet Sauvignon is actually the hybrid offspring of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Cabernet sauvignon berries are small, spherical with black, thick and very tough skin. This toughness makes the grapes fairly resistant to disease and spoilage and able to withstand some autumn rains with little damage. It is a mid to late season ripener. These growth characteristics, along with its flavor appeal have made Cabernet Sauvignon one of the most popular red wine varieties worldwide. The best growing sites for producing quality wines from Cabernet Sauvignon are in moderately warm, semi-arid regions providing a long growing season, on well-drained, not-too-fertile soils. Vineyards in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, much of the Napa Valley, and around the Paso Robles area of the Central Coast have consistently produced the highest-rated California examples. Typically, Cabernet Sauvignon wines smell like black currants with a degree of bell pepper or weediness, varying in intensity with climatic conditions, viticulture practices, and vinification techniques. Climates and vintages that are either too cool or too warm, rich soils, too little sun exposure, premature harvesting, and extended maceration are factors that may lead to more vegetative, less fruity character in the resulting wine.