A Sleek Tuscan Red in Your Corner Store

MARY DOWEY selects an AFFORDABLE TUSCAN RED as her bottle of the week …

Ceppaiano Alle Viole Toscana IGT 2013 

As you’ll discover in a couple of weeks from my wine column in the October issue of The Gloss, I’m all fired up about the fabulous red wines of Tuscany after a tasting trip to Florence earlier this year. I’d forgotten just how inviting so many of them are – elegantly balanced, refreshing and moreish. The article focuses on Chianti Classicos – the high profile and pricey end of the spectrum. But here’s a tasty Tuscan red that’s much more affordable and widely available too.

Like Chianti and Chianti Classico, it’s based mainly on the Sangiovese grape which performs so outstandingly in Tuscany, giving many red wines their appetising tang as well as the ability to age. In this instance, some Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are blended in. The end result is an enticing wine with aromas of red and black cherries, herbs and a hint of earthiness. Silky in texture, it gradually unleashes layers of flavour around a juicy, savoury core. And the alcohol level is relatively modest – a definite plus if you’re in the mood to have more than one glass. 

Like most Italian red wines this is one to enjoy with food rather than drink by itself, but it’s extremely versatile. Pasta with a meaty or tomato sauce, pizza, roasts, grills and more vegetarian dishes than I have room to mention will all taste the better for being in its company – and it will slip down as well with a casual mid-week supper as with a posh, pull-the-stops-out weekend extravaganza.

The heavy bottle with its striking label will look good on your table, too. The Castellani family who own the Ceppaiano estate near Pisa are an arty bunch. 

Alcohol: 12.5%

From Eurospar, Spar, Mace and Londis outlets, €13.99.

@MaryDowey

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