Malcolm Jolley recommends Brancaia’s Tre at the LCBO Vintages.

Barbara Widmer holds a magnum of her family’s Brancaia Tre at the Noble Estates Women in Wine show October 2017.

I would argue that no European wine producing country has benefited more, nor for that matter advocated more for, the recent resurgence in interest for wines made with ‘indigenous’ grapes. This is all great, and let’s thank them as we sip our Cortese and Frappato-made wines, but… but, but , but: Italy is also where an awful lot of “Atlantic” (i.e. French) varietals were planted, especially thirty or forty years ago. Those vines are now at peak age, and as much as I would like to keep up my indigenous grape snobbery, I have to admit there are some truly delicious Italian Cabernets, Merlots and Chardonnays being made these days, and not all of them at the premium price point of the so-called ‘Super Tuscans’ of Bolgheri.

One such wine that’s part of the August 4th LCBO Vintages release is the Brancaia Tre I.G.T. Rosso Toscano 2015 (LCBO#164715 – $24.95). It’s a blend of 80% Sangiovese with rest split between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with fruit sourced from Chianti and Maremma. I really like this wine because, while it is definitely Tuscan with dominant notes of Cherry and Sangiovese earthiness and a bright food-friendly acidity, it also has this kind of black fruit cassis lift. At $25 a bottle it’s certainly priced above my everyday wine budget, but it performs at a level that I would expect to pay $30 to $40 for, so an extra $4 or $5 for a bottle on Saturday night seems justified to me.