Wine: Cantina del Grifone 1967 Toscana
Grapes: Sangiovese (85 percent), cabernet sauvignon (10 percent), syrah (5 percent)
Region: Tuscany, Italy
Availability: Trader Joe’s
In the glass: This 1967 Toscana wine is a deep blood-ruby-red color with a dense semi-opaque core going out into a fine light reddish-violet rim definition with medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: The wine exudes tremendous crushed black fruit character with a soft underlying “buttery” streak, ripe black cherries, violet pastilles, molten licorice, spice box, tobacco and clean earth-driven minerals with just a hint of oak references.
On the palate: This wine is rich and vibrant with loads of crushed black fruits, cherries jubilee, phenolic compounds, black currant juice, huckleberry sauce, red raspberry sorbet, herbs and spices, minerals and hints of violets. The midpalate is just clean, bright cherry fruit all the way through to the well-balanced and supple finish that lingers with crushed raspberry character, hints of chalk and stone ground cherries.
Odds and ends: This tremendous value champion stood out in a blind tasting of more than 20 wines.
Performing easily like a wine many times its price, Cantina del Grifone 1967 is a delicious little wine that represents what Tuscan winemaking is all about but in such a way that there is no question we’re dealing with a modern Italian wine.
Employing the same sort of sangiovese-based blend that many of the so-called Super Tuscan wines do, it succeeds in creating an impression that we’re dealing with something way more expensive, and that in its own right is the main mission of any winemaker. Winemaker Piero Castelbari dedicates this blended Tuscan wine to his Uncle Giorgio, who first made this wine in 1967, hence the name.
Try it with a classic spaghetti Bolognese. It should drink well through 2016.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.