Wine: San Felice Perolla IGT
Grapes: Merlot (55 percent), sangiovese (35 percent), syrah (10 percent)
Region: Maremma, Tuscan Coast, northern Italy
In the glass: San Felice Perolla is a deep ruby-red color with an opaque core going out into a deep garnet-hued rim definition with medium-high viscosity
On the nose: The wine seems a bit restrained at first, but then opens up with a barrage of crushed red cherries, black pepper, marinara sauce, loganberry juice, ripe elderberry fruit, spice box, chewing tobacco and rustic earth-driven minerals.
On the palate: It is a nice mouthful of a wine on the palate with juicy black spicy fruit, peppercorns, tobacco, cherry juice, huckleberry sauce, ripe black plums, toast points and loads of chewy minerals. Although the tannins seem very forward through the midpalate, the wine actually appears measured and balanced despite its rustic appearance. The finish is excellent with yet more black pepper, crushed ripe brambleberries, and good structure and backbone.
Odds and ends: Maremma is a pretty wild area of the Tuscan Coast, but Marchesi Antinori “discovered” the area and began a process that has made it the hottest subregion in Tuscany. This wine is made from a typical IGT international blend of French and Italian grape varieties, which is becoming the defining point for so many great Italian wines in all tiers of the pricing scale. It is a big food wine and demands something substantial. Think pot roast with plenty of rich gravy and green peppercorn mashed potatoes. It should drink well through 2012.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.