Rolling hills. Olive oil. Chianti. Medieval castles. Pasta. Wine…. Need I say more? Nope, but I will!
It’s been a few years since we hopped on a plane and visited Italy for the first time. It was a romantic
weeklong pilgrimage to the land of pasta and wine… better known as Tuscany. Our daytrip to Greve in
Chianti is vividly etched in my memory for eternity. I can remember the incredibly quaint hilltop town
like it was yesterday. If you have yet to visit, let me persuade you by saying that Chianti is the most scenic
area we’ve ever driven through – that’s actually how we discovered Greve. We drove until we found
ourselves in this beautiful, medieval town with breathtaking views, plenty of shops, museums, churches,
and restaurants. I wish I had known then of the amazing terroir, but I do now! Guess you could say I’m
making up for lost wine. Had to squeeze in at least one wine pun.
Today we’re focusing on some very exciting wines from Carpineto located in Dudda, a small village in the
countryside of Greve in Chianti where scattered stone farmhouses and villas look out onto wooded
hillsides and vineyard patchwork. Dudda is located halfway between Florence and Siena along one of
Tuscany’s most incredible wine roads Via Chiantigiana. It’s definitely worth exploring if you travel to
Tuscany – if not, thank goodness we can travel there by glass! Carpineto was founded in 1967 with the
vision to craft Sangiovese that stemmed from a passion for nature and sustainability. This past year the
winery received its VIVA certification from the Ministry of Ecological Transition. We love supporting a
winery that’s committed to sustainable practices and being stewards of the land! I’m absolutely loving
their Dogaiolo Bianco and Dogajolo Rosso because it’s the perfect way to lighten things up for summer.
Before we dive in, let’s cover some basics to better appreciate the Dogajolo line.
Let’s Talk Chianti vs Super Tuscan
Chianti DOCG must contain a minimum of 70% Sangiovese grapes and the remaining blend often
contains indigenous Italian grapes permitted in the region such as Canaiolo or Colorino. Chianti smells
and tastes like Italy! Red fruit, herbs, sweet tobacco, and savory flavors mingle on the palate in the most
extraordinary way. While Chianti captures the spirit of Italy in a glass, Super Tuscan is Italy’s fresh new
vibe. What’s the difference between the two? Super Tuscan wines are red blends made with mostly
Sangiovese but also include non-indigenous grapes such as Merlot, Cab Sauv, and Syrah. This style of
winemaking became popular in the 70s when winemakers started to craft wines with grapes that were
not traditionally permitted under Italian regulations. As a result, in 1992 IGT was established. Let’s pause
here for a second to decode IGT because it’s an important part of Italian Wine Labeling. IGT stands for
Indicazione Geografica Tipica. Prior to the establishment of IGT in 1992 many wines failed to qualify for
DOC or DOCG status, but not because of poor quality… it was a result of the grapes being used. If the
blend didn’t meet the minimum percentage of sanctioned grapes in their blend, they could not receive
the classification. IGT allows producers to craft wine with a little more freedom – great quality meets
really exciting grapes from different pockets of the country.
Ok, now let’s shift back to Dogajolo Toscano Rosso IGT which is a young Super Tuscan. The cool thing
about this red wine is that the blend of grapes changes from vintage to vintage based on the growing
season and how the wines develop. This 2019 vintage is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet, and various
other varieties chosen to balance and compliment the aforementioned. The winemaking process is
intricate as each variety is vinified separately since each one ripens at different times. When
fermentation is almost complete, the wines are blended and aged in small oak barrels. The bottled
product is deep in color between ruby and garnet. It packs some enticing flavors such as tart red plum,
red cherry, anise, and delicate undertones of potting soil. It’s full-bodied while being soft and supple on the palate with refreshing acidity. This wine is a terrific match for early evening BBQs with friends! I suggest pairing alongside caprese orzo and grilled tri-tip… yum.
Next up we have Dogajolo Toscano Bianco IGT for the white wine lovers out there! I said it often and I’ll
say it again… I love a crisp Italian white wine! There is nothing more invigorating than sipping this on a
warm, relaxing summer day. Once again, a big shoutout to IGT for allowing creative winemakers to
compose some really interesting, exciting blends. Dogajolo Bianco is a blend of Chardonnay, Grechetto,
and Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes are destemmed and undergo cold fermentation to retain purity of
flavors. The juice remains in contact with the skins for a brief period which gives the final product a
vibrant yellow hue speckled with green highlights. We’re all familiar with Chardonnay and Sauvignon
Blanc, especially if you frequent my accounts because I’m a big fan. But, have you tried Grechetto? It’s
actually the primary grape in Italy’s Umbria and Lazio regions which makes this find exceptionally cool!
It’s a fuller bodied white wine that delivers flavors of white peach, honeydew, white florals with a touch
of minerality. It perfectly marries together the characteristics of juicy Chardonnay with that of a lean
Sauv Blanc to create a harmonious, one-of-a-kind white wine blend. For pairing tips, go with anything
Mediterranean or get a little crazy and enjoy alongside a mildly spicy dish of pad thai.
What I love about these wines is their approachability! They both drink incredibly well young but they
can also age for a bit. I would decant the red for about 20 minutes to really capture all those subtle
herbal nuances. And when you do open these bottles, don’t forget to sit back and imagine those rolling
hills, covered in vines and the occasional medieval castle – it’s easy if you try.
Thanks for sipping with us!
The Social Grapes | @smashleythegrape