PICK of the RACK: Aia Vecchia | Lagone | Red Blend | Toscana (Tuscany) IGT | Italy | 2010 | $17 | 89 pts

AIA Vecchia LagoneAromas: dried dark fruit; leather; pepper; rose petals
Character:  dry; full-bodied; firm & intense; expressive acidity; moderate tannins; mild, cedar-tinged oak; nicely balanced; 13% ABV
Flavors: blackberry; bell pepper; licorice; woodsmoke; flint; musk; dusting of cocoa
Food Pairing: sharp cheeses; roasted meats & game; andouille; dark chocolate

Tuscany’s Bolgheri region, situated along Western Italy’s Tyrrhenian Coast, is the land of the “Super Tuscan.”  Such are Bordeaux-inspired wines made from French (not traditional Italian) varieties that flourish in the appellation’s seaside climate, soils, and topography.  Super Tuscans are often super expensive, but thanks to producers like the Pellegrini family, owners of Aia Vecchia, the spirit of this style can be experienced without having to spend a fortune.  The 2010 Lagone is a worthy example — a hefty red that flows with aromas of dried dark fruit, leather, graphite, pepper, and rose petals that segue into flavors of blackberry, bell pepper, licorice, woodsmoke, and musk, with a light dusting of cocoa on the lingering finish.  The blend is Merlot driven — 60% — with the balance going to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and it was aged for a year in French oak barriques.  It is a wine of considerable intensity and still quite young — so we recommend an hours’ worth of decanting — but nevertheless deeply flavorful, approachable, and satisfying.  And at less than $20 for wine of this quality, it is a tremendous value.

AIA Vecchia 2

Aia Vecchia

Availability:  We found Aia Vecchia’s 2010 Lagone at Planet Wine in Alexandria, Virginia.  If you live in Northern Virginia or surrounding locales, please pay them a visit in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood or virtually at www.planetwineshop.com.  For more information about AIA Vecchia, their winemaking, and wines, visit the winery at www.aiavecchiabolgheri.it/For information on where else you may find this wine, visit the importer at www.dallaterra.com.

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