Tuesday, October 4, 2011

KOBRAND Tour d'Italia: Tenuta Sette Ponti; the wines behind the Mona Lisa's famous smile

Part Two: KOBRAND Tour d’Italia 2011

Tenuta Sette Ponti; the wines behind the Mona Lisa smile

Dwight The Wine Doctor

Story and photo by Dwight Casimere

Giovanna Moretti-owner, Tenuta Sette Ponti Estate of Tuscany

New York—The Setta Ponti estate is located in a picturesque setting in Tuscany. Famed for its seven bridges, it is pictured in the background of Da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa painting, which hangs in the Louvre.

Sette Ponti lies in the heart of the Chianti zone, near the city of Arezzo. Via dei Sette Ponti leads into the beautiful hidden valley in which the estate is nestled. Sette Ponti means “Seven Bridges” in Italian. The bridges cross the Arno River on the road from Arezzo to Florence. They go back to the 13th Century and provide a romantic backdrop for creation of some of the greatest Super Tuscan wines to be had anywhere. Purchased in 1957 as a hunting retreat for architect Alberto Moretti, it is now the family property of his son, Antonio, who also raises racehorses, breeds native Tuscan Chiana cattle and has created a reserve for a rare breed of wild local pig, known as the Cinta Senese. They roam wild in fields of sunflowers and maize. You could not ask for a more idyllic setting.

Its vineyards are as varied and colorful as its history, just ask Giovanni Moretti, whose gracious manner and bubbly smile were her calling cards at a recent unveiling of her new releases as part of KOBRAND Tour d’Italia, held on the last day of summer at The Bowery Hotel in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Her presentation was stellar lineup of select Italian producers of finely crafted wines, which toured ten American cities, which included appearances in New York and Chicago.

“The primary grape we use to produce our wines is Sangiovese. This is a very aromatic grape with a very pronounced perfume and a rich, ripe flavor of fresh, dark berries. Our most prominent wine is the Crognolo, (Toscana IGT, $35.99). Our other important wine is Oreno, (also Toscana IGT, $110.99).

“In 2008, we changed the blend. In 2007, we used a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot, but for our new vintage, we replaced the Sangiovese with Petit Verdot. This is a very important wine. It’s a Super Tuscan. This is a dinner wine with a lot of intense character. It’s very expressive with notes of blackberry and toasted oak. The vines are 15-20 years old, so they deliver a very rich flavor with a long finish.

“In Sicily, we have another estate and there we produce Nero d’Avola ($20.48). “

This is a big, juicy wine, with a lot of character. Hey. It’s Sicilian! Its impressive, with lush fruit and a lot of refreshing fruit taste. I loved it with Prosciutto and a healthy slice of aged Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese. You need something to go with this wine, its just too big and fruity to have on its own, but don’t bother with a big meal, you don’t want anything to get in the way of enjoying the intense aroma and flavor of this rich, beautiful wine. For just about 20 bucks, I don’t think you can have anything more enjoyable for the price. Most of Tenuta Sette Ponti wines are available now at your local retailer. I’d hurry out to get them and make a side visit to your local gourmet food shop to obtain all the goodies that will enhance the experience of drinking them.

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