Badia di Morrona, Toscano Rosso IGT "N'Antia"
Badia di Morrona, Toscano Rosso IGT "N'Antia"

Badia di Morrona, Toscano Rosso IGT "N'Antia"

Tuscany, Italy 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$40.00

Badia di Morrona, Toscano Rosso IGT "N'Antia"

As wines such as “Sassicaia,” “Ornellaia,” and “Paleo” have proved, the Mediterranean coast of Tuscany is more than capable of producing world-class reds from the ‘Bordeaux’ varieties—namely, the Cabernets and Merlot. Tuscan takes on Bordeaux-style blends may have once been considered novelties, but today, they are classics. And while the epicenter of the “super-Tuscan” movement is the area around the coastal town of Bolgheri, the stretch of coast extending from Pisa in the north to Grosseto in the south is teeming with serious Cabernet. One could use the term “Baby Bolgheri” to describe today’s red from Badia di Morrona, but the only babyish thing about it is its price. Otherwise, this 2019, called “N’Antia,” is grown-up wine through and through, offering serious super-Tuscan breed at an exceptionally reasonable price.

“Badia” is Italian for “abbey,” and the centerpiece of this vast estate is a lovingly renovated 10th-century monastery set on 600 hectares of land (100 of which are vineyards). The hamlet of Morrona, about 20 miles outside of Pisa, is part of the Colline Pisane—one of the geographically specific subzones of Chianti and the closest of those to the coast. As with Bolgheri, which is further south and closer still to the Mediterranean, the Pisane hills were once underwater; generally, there is more silt, sand and alluvial gravel in Bolgheri and more limestone and clay up near Pisa, but both areas are ultimately a wide mix of soil types. Given their proximity to the sea, they are milder, drier climates than those further inland (i.e. Chianti Classico), and have shown an affinity for the Bordeaux varieties even before the Marchese Mario Incisa della Rochetta (Sassicaia) first planted them in Bolgheri in the 1950s.

Comprised of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and roughly 20% each Merlot and Cabernet Franc sourced from a south-facing site in gravelly soils, the 2019 “N’Antia” was aged 15 months in French oak barriques and 10 months in bottle before release. It has since enjoyed a few years of bottle age, which has given its time to integrate its oak component and allow fruit and earth notes to come to the fore. In the glass, it’s a deep, nearly opaque ruby-black moving to garnet at the rim, with aromas of black currant, raspberry, cassis, tobacco, sage, and a cedary/underbrushy component that, to me, is a common thread among the best super-Tuscans. Nearly full-bodied, with a still-powerful tannic structure and great balancing freshness, this wine transforms into something more lush and velvety with about 30-45 minutes in a decanter. I certainly would have pegged it as a much-more-expensive bottle, and I can’t help but wonder how popular this wine must be among sommeliers in Italian restaurants—I would have loved to work with it back in the day, as it is a lot of wine for the money. My first impulse is to serve it cool (60 degrees, to tame its power a touch) with a grilled ribeye and a side of sautéed broccoli rabe, but there are lots of ways to go here: just meet it head-on and let the fun begin. It’s delicious wine, so it’s hard to go wrong. Cheers!

Badia di Morrona, Toscano Rosso IGT "N'Antia"

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