2017 Monte Antico Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy (Alcohol 13%, Residual Sugar 8 g/l) LCBO $16.95 (750ml bottle)

I’ve been enjoying this particular Tuscan IGT bottling for well over a decade, but going back to taste it recently I’ve decided that this may be the best release of this wine yet, and in the past few months it has become my go-to wine for mid-week pasta nights.

This blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from all over Tuscany, so terroir takes a bit of a back seat here, but certainly not to the decrement of this thoroughly enjoyable wine, as its a testament to the art of assemblage, and is amazingly consistent from vintage to vintage.

It is aged a year in oak (80% Slavonian barrels, 20% French barrique) with only around 15% being new cooperage, so there is a subtle whiff of oak spice that gives a touch more complexity to all the gloriously abundant fruit. It’s also given a year to mature in bottle before release, hence we often see wines that are a little more mature and evolved by the time they hit the shelves here… and this is a very good thing for the consumer as this is a wine that is over four years old.

The bouquet shows some evolution but it’s remarkably youthful and fresh with loads of black cherry, blackberry, and dark plum accompanied with hints of leather, anise, sandalwood, and subtle warm wood spice.

In the mouth this medium/full-bodied wine is both juicy and tannically grippy, a very pleasant combination, for sure. The acidity really lifts the dark fruit, and in this particular vintage I feel that the finish is more extended than previously.

I love to serve this alongside a hearty beef-based pasta, and it worked a charm with lasagne just the other night.

It’s always been a great value wine, delivering so much for an accessible $17, but this particular vintage really shines and certainly deserves your attention, meaning it gets four apples instead of the three and half I have rated it as previously.

(Four out of a possible five apples)

Monte Antico are represented in Ontario by Woodman Wines And Spirits.

Woodman Wine & Spirits is a Good Food Fighter. Please support the businesses and organizations that support Good Food Revolution.