Rocca di Frassinello, “Le Sughere” Maremma Toscana DOC 2018 (about $29)

Italian Wine for june, 2023

The Rocca di Frassinello winery is a joint-venture between two top-of-the-wine-list wineries, one French and the other Italian. It came about as a result of a long-term friendship between two legendary producers, Paolo Panerai of Castellare di Castellina, producer of some of the best wines in the Chianti Classico area, and the Rothschild family (Domaines Baron de Rothschild-Lafite), a premier producer of classic Bordeaux wines.

The objective was to bring together the best of Italy’s Sangiovese with Bordeaux’s foremost red varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The end result is a Super-Tuscan wine enhanced with a French accent.

Five small independent farms in the central Maremma area in far western Tuscany were acquired in the late 1990’s and then consolidated to create Rocca di Frassinello. A sleek, modernist wine facility designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano was then built for production and ageing of wines and to showcase the estate’s wines. After the release of its first wines in 2004, Rocca di Frassinello rapidly became a “destination” winery prompted by both the high quality of its wines and its stunningly modern architecture.

The estate’s catalogue of wines is centered on red blends but also includes a varietal Merlot and a singular white of Vermentino. All the estate’s wines carry the broad Maremma DOC designation.

The 2018 “Le Sughere” is a blend of 50 percent Sangiovese (or Sangioveto as it’s known locally) and 25 percent each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks for two weeks and 2018 "Le Sughere" from the Frassinello winery in the Maremma area of Tuscany then aged in French oak barriques for 12 months with an additional 9 months in the bottle prior to release. The wine has 14 percent alcohol.

The wine takes its name from the cork trees (sughero in Italian) that encircle the vineyards.

The first thing you’ll notice about the 2018 Le Sughere is its exuberant bouquet. Prune and ripe red cherry aromas waft from the glass as the wine is poured, even before you have a chance to raise the glass to your nose.

It is medium-to-full-bodied with a dense and caressing texture. Ripe dark cherry and blackberry flavors on a smooth tannic frame are balanced with delicate acidity and an enveloping fruit-driven finish. It is an aromatic and expressive wine with an inviting style that makes a second glass hard to resist.

The 2018 Le Sughere pairs nicely with beef prepared any which way, full-flavored pasta dishes, sausages, braised or roast veal as well as aged cheeses.


©Richard Marcis
June 9, 2023

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