The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

When Wines Get Mythic and Prodigious

Posted on | July 21, 2011 | Written by Jordan Birch | No Comments

The cellar at Tua Rita

Wine writers, due to the nature of the business and the desire to elevate not only the wine they are describing but themselves as well,  often use high impact words as descriptors to entice the  public into believing that a particular vintage or offering is  absolutely essential for their cellar or palate.  You hear words like “epic,” “mythical,” and “prodigious.” More often than not, I get annoyed with these efforts to canonize or deify a particular effort and only very rarely does a wine live up to this kind of effusive praise.

But sometimes it does happen.

Tua Rita's vineyards in spring

Call it luck, call it intuition, call it epic and mythical and prodigious all at once, but in 1984, the Virgilio family purchased a small vineyard in Suvereto as a place to spend their retirement and follow their passion, cultivating the land. The wines they made for their own family were so well loved that they decided to start marketing them, and Tua Rita was born. The estate’s medium textured, predominately clay soil that is especially rich in iron and zinc so well suits the international varietals of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that Tua Rita almost instantly created some of Tuscany’s most revered cult wines. The specific minerality of the terrior at Tua Rita combined with the care and craft of this family-run estate helped it to produce truly top-notch wines almost from the estate’s inception. Giusto di Notri, Perlato del Bosco, and the  small production Redigaffi receive effusive praise from every corner of the wine world, and even I must agree with these beatific descriptors.

The beatified wines of Tua Rita

This week I was thrilled to see the 2008 vintages from Tua Rita arrive in our showroom cellar, and yesterday a most remarkable event occurred.  One of our senior Portfolio Managers had a client lunch scheduled in our Vintage Room.  Excited to share these tastes with his client, he opened both the Perlato del Bosco and Giusto di Notri about ninety minutes before the lunch. He discovered that the Perlato was spectacular, tight right out of the bottle but opening beautifully within the hour.  The Giusto remained completely shut down on the nose, taut and complex in the mouth, a contemplative experience that was not yet presenting its essence and potential. Not wanting his clients first taste of this beauty to mislead them, he made the executive decision not to serve it.

Two hours later, he walked into our newly renovated second floor sales office, decanter  in hand, and said, “Grab a glass.”  Needless to say we needed no second invitation.  It had softened into lush fruit, currant and dark berry, an aromatic beauty of mythic proportions.  Epic, my mind said to itself, and while I winced at the descriptor, I couldn’t disagree.

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