It's an international place.

It’s an international place.

Here I am, back in the saddle with another wine review (of a wine not short on saddle leather notes). I had manicotti on the menu and a desire for a rich, Italian red that didn’t rely on my fall-back red sauce option of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or push me into my cost-prohibitive favorites of Alba. After far too long in the aisle, I settled on a super-Tuscan blend.

L’Arcipelago Muratori makes several red wines under the Rubbia al Colle label from their vineyards in Val di Cornia Suvereto on the Ligurian coast of Tuscany. The “Vigna Molisso” bottling is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Petit Verdot (the tech sheet .pdf on the website is very informative, so look there for that stuff).

(Notes are based on isolated tasting, pairing with food, and re-taste two evenings later.)

Origin: Val di Cornia, Toscana, Italia

Composition: 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 15% Syrah, 15% Petit Verdot

Appearance: opaque deep black-garnet with translucent, slightly bricked edges

Nose: mixed berries, striking balsamic edge, freshly turned garden soil, saddle leather, sandalwood

Palate: robust stewed cherries/wild berries, fire-roasted mixed herbs, subtle menthol, leather, licorice

Mouthfeel: lush with cleansing mid-palate acidity and chalky tannins

Still tight upon opening with a odd earthy plasticine fragrance that blew off a minute after pour. Evolutionary in the glass suggesting that a decant would be in order for a dinner party. Pretty much exactly what I was looking for going in (after much internal debate over this or the G. B. Burlotto Dolcetto—either would have been just right as a pairing partner). Lush and rich but not at the expense of balance and elegance. Ample earthy/vegetal funk and herbaceousness keep this rooted as a wine of place despite the international varietal blend.

Firm and ponderous upon opening. Opens up beautifully over the course of an hour or so as the stewy fruit comes to the fore. Held up gorgeously three nights later with the firm tannins going chalky and the fruit mingling evenly with the earthier mineral elements. Could still lay this down for a few more years, but it’s plenty drinkable now.

Ideal pairing would be gamier meats (venison, goat, et al.) and roasted herbed veggies, or ratatouille. A welcome winter warmer no matter what.

Around $30 in MD (2004 is current vintage).