An Evening with: Tenuta Torciano Winery

Tenuta Torciano Winery: Italian Wine School

For our third meeting of the San Diego Wine Guild in 2018, we had Tenuta Torciano Winery presented by Chiara & Valentina Lunare. After some quick announcements about upcoming programs, we quickly got onto introductions of the presenters. They gave us a quick description of who they were and what the plan was for the evening. 'We were to spend the next few hours of wine & olive oil tasting, discovering how to taste, choose & pair a wine with our snacks, laughing and having fun together.

This 15th generation family-owned winery is located in the heart of Tuscany. They produce Tuscan wines that are classic to the regions they are produced in & take pride in the traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. The ladies made an off hand remark that the winemaker is their uncle, & that their Great Grandpa was responsible for getting the 'Super Tuscan' a recognized wine.  While Valentina was giving us the family history of the winery, Chiara was pouring a 2016 Poggioaicieli Vernaccia di San Gimignano (link). Once everyone had a glass, this great Italian white wine was used to demonstrate how to swirl & sniff. We went over as a group what we were smelling and why. This Pinot Gris grape mutated when planted in an alkaline & salt dominated soil. This combination imparted a saline texture.

The next pour was a 2016 Chianti D.O.C.G. (link) that was aged in Stainless steel and was very fresh. This is a wine best enjoyed young & went very well with one of the salami selections. At this point they also introduced us to their cold-pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil. So very smooth & light, it when very well with the bread we were served. While we discussed the difference between Chianti and Chianti Classico, Valentina got out a paper and started to make a diagram. "Our very own da Vinci," joked Chiara to a thunderous laugh from the audience. The presenters were having lots of fun answering questions from the members & having fun. Our next wine was something a bit more serious, a 2010 Nobile di Montepulciano D.O.C.G. (link). This wine was very nice with some bread and cheese.

Up next was a crowd favorite, the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino D.O.C.G. (link). We were informed that the vineyard it is grown in features volcanic soils and good breezes. The presenters also said that they also prefer to use a large berry clone of Sangiovese for their Brunello. This wine sparked lots of applause, discussion & requests for a 'smidge' more. Up next in the program was their presentation of the Pepper Olive Oil, which is macerated with the peppers for 6 weeks before filtering & bottling. It had quite a kick and & was happy to have it on the side where I could better gauge the level of heat to have with the wines. At this point I had 3 red wines at different stages in my glass. I could see that they were getting ready to pour another wine so I finished up 2 of the glasses & the final snacks on my plate.

As I began to refill my plate with charcuterie to pair with the wines, we got some general information about the wines we were about to experience. They were all IGT wines, meaning that they had less restrictions than the previous wines we had experienced and allowed the winemakers more freedom. All 3 of the wines shared shared several characteristics that helped to define the 'Super Tuscan' style. They all contained Cabernet Sauvignon in their blend. The wines were all co-fermented (not blended after like most wines) & aged is an assortment of barrels. The wines all spent 1 year in Oak barrels, followed by 1 year in Cheery wood barrels, and finally they aged for 1 year in Chestnut barrels before going into the bottles to rest for a few more years before release. First up was the Baldassarre 'Super Tuscan' IGT (link). A match made in heaven for for the Truffle Olive Oil that was shared for everyone to snack on.

The 2nd wine of this series was the 2012 Cavaliere 'Super Tuscan' IGT (link). The different wood treatments were more evident in this blend, adding complexity & body to wine that the 1st example did not show. This wine showed with a tart finish what went every well with several of the cheeses as well as the a great palette cleanser. Next up was the final Italian accompaniment, a 30-year Balsamic Vinegar (Old Selected) that was smokey with hints of chocolate. It was truly something special. The final wine of this series was a 2013 Bartolomeo 'Super Tuscan' IGT (link). It was such a wonderful pairing to  the Oil Oil / Balsamic mix on my plate, that I was out of wine & bread before I realized.

The very last wine of the evening was proceeded with a quick story about it. Well more of a skit than a story, with lots of innuendoes and fun. I am sure there are a few videos floating around the internet should you be determined, but I was laughing to hard with the other around me to take any media. I also would not want to ruin it, should you have the opportunity to attend a presentation of the Tenuta Torciano Winery Italian Wine School. The last wine was poured after the fun was a 2016 Vin Beato Dessert Wine (link). It was lighter than most desert wines I have had with very balanced structure, acidity & sweetness. What a nice way to finish the evening.

Appetizers: Tuscan Salami, Cheese, and Bruschetta (bread with olive oil).