This wine may as well be called Rocky Balboa - because it truly is an Italian Stallion. That’s where the comparison ends though, because this is no backyard brawler. It’s more of a pure thoroughbred: A 100% sangiovese, sourced from 40 year old vines grown at an altitude of 500 metres. Sounds like a pure Tuscan royal bloodline. And with 40 days on skins and three years in new and one year-old French oak, the wine has what it takes to be a title contender. There’s a pure minerality here, but there’s more punch on the palate compared to your typical Chianti. The fruit weight is turned up several notches - becoming more plush and textural than expected. Similarly, there’s more dark fruit richness and ripeness here with fruit intensity outweighing sangiovese’s usual savoury hallmarks. “Tutto bene!”
The Wine Advocate
“A pure expression of Sangiovese, the 2016 La Gioia is a beauty. Off the bat, the wine shows a specific mineral note that reminds me of black stone or dusty granite. Beyond that, you get a thick and dense layer of black fruit and plum. The wine is never heavy or flat, instead it shows a lot of energy and freshness with a point of spiciness on the close. That energy is typical of Gaiole in Chianti. This is a medium-to-full bodied Sangiovese with all its various moving parts in harmony, ready for a Tuscan bean and tomato stew with fresh bread and healthy wedges of pecorino. Production is 7,000 bottles.”
It’s cool, we get it, you want to know absolutely everything about this wine. Well here you go, go nuts.
- Alcohol by Vol.
- Bottle Vol
- Blend Info
- 100% Sangiovese
- Serving Temp.
From the producer
La Gioia shows an intense garnet red color, with a full bouquet of red fruits (blackberry and blackcurrant) and subtle spices, greatly supported by velvety and rounded tannins. It is an explosion of flavours and complexity, characterized by a lingering and smooth finish of flowers (peony and violet), cocoa and tobacco.
The grapes are crushed by foot, then fermented into open top bins and in cement tanks, with 40 days of macerations on the skins.
I first heard of this maker when I was working at Ngeringa, a little biodynamic place in the Adelaide Hills. Both winemaker Erinn and then-viticulturist (now successful vigneron in his own right) Tom Shobbrook had both completed harvest at Riecine, and reports were good. Founded by a Brit in the early '70s who bought a hectare and a half from a monastery, and under new ownership since 2011, it sounded like a bit of a gathering place for people in wine who really care about the impact they have on the earth. Now eight organic vineyards at around 500m altitude, the wines have gained a reputation for their purity of fruit and inherent character. Fermentation happens in concrete vats, and ageing happens in vessels that are chosen for their ability for oxygen exchange rather than to impart flavour (concrete again, or older oak). Pretty excited to see their wine here at the ‘fo. Get around it.
Ah...Tuscany. The home of rolling hills, extra virgin olive oil, Steak Florentine and, of course, Chianti. Everything here is about the earth, and it shows through in the produce. Earthy, vinous, purely rustic and unadulterated. Some of our most enjoyable experiences have come from here. They don't generally come cheap, but they're well worth it.
The rules are there ain’t no rules, but here are some foods we think will work pretty well with this wine...
Steak with chimichurri sauce
- 1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil, plus extra to brush
- 1/4 cup (60ml) red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 bunch fresh oregano, leaves chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried crushed chillies
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 6 large rib-eye steaks
- Preheat barbecue or chargrill to high. Place 1 tbs sea salt in a jar with 1/2 cup (125ml) warm water and stir to dissolve. Add remaining ingredients, except steak, and shake well. Brush steaks with a little oil and season. Barbecue until cooked to your liking (1-2 minutes each side for medium rare). Rest for 5 minutes.
- Shake sauce again, discarding bay leaf. Place steaks on plates, drizzle with sauce and serve with baked sweet potatoes and iceberg wedges (see related recipe).
The wines we remember are about the moments. The people, the places. That’s life. Here are some ideas...