Syrah is a wonderful grape that has found a home in many places around the globe, manifesting itself in a variety of styles as a result. One such place is Cortona, in Eastern Tuscany, where Syrah has been made into some particularly excellent wines. I spoke with Gaetano Soccoccio, Export Manager for Tienimenti Luigi d'Alessandro, and he enlightened me to a bit of history surrounding Syrah in the Cortona region. As it turns out, the d'Alessandro family pioneered the growing of Syrah in the region. Moving there from Rome in 1968, their goal was not to grow the grape that they wanted to grow, but rather to grow the grape that was best suited to the place.Over a five year period, they experimented with plantings of different varietals on various plots until they determined that Syrah was the best fit. Eventually other producers started growing Syrah as well, and in 1999 DOC status was granted to Cortona Syrah.
I have to agree that the pairing of Cortona terrior and Syrah is a good one. I've tasted quite a number of them, from various producers, and they are generally quite enchanting. Here are my notes on examples from the d'Alessandro family.
|Gaetano Saccoccio, Export Manger and Great Syrah Ambassador|
2011 Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro Borgo Syrah, Cortona DOC 13% ABV, $19
Fresh blackberry and strawberry fruit, with a dark, dense heart, overlaid with dried violets, aromatic herbs, and coffee notes. The palate has chewy blackberry and raspberry, with char-grilled meats, some tobacco, espresso, and a little sweet vanilla. The balance is excellent with plenty of acidity to carry the density, and tannins that add a delicate grip. The finish is solid, with lingering tobacco notes to complete the experience. Alluring and satisfying. 90Pts
2009 Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro Il Bosco Cortona DOC 14% ABV, $48
Deep, dark, black fruit. Blackberry, black current, and some blueberry, with notes of melba toast, aromatic smoke,and grilled meat. The palate has wonderful texture, aromatic roasted black cherry and blackberry skins, charred Earth, and sandalwood. Great structure and balance. The finish is long and vigorous with nice aromatics, lively tannins, solid acidity, and flinty Earth. Plenty of stuffing and balance to support longevity. 92 pts.
2009 Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro Migliara Syrah, Cortona DOC 14,5% ABV, $80
Dried violets lay atop black cherry dust, and blackberry compote with a vein of savory aromas. The palate is serious and firm with fresh, lean, black cherry, baked strawberry, bitter chocolate, charred meats, and scorched sandalwood. The balance is excellent, with plenty of textured grip, juicy acidity, and animal character. The finish is long, solid, and aromatic. 92 Pts