- 2014 Poggio al Casone, Toscana, Italy ($9.99 @Trader Joe’s in California)
Frankly, every time I take a first sip of this wine I exclaim (often to myself): “I don’t know how they do it!” For starters, this brand is always well-aged. In this case 8 (!) years. That rarely comes cheap. And it comes in a classy package that would make this appropriate for bringing to an Italian dinner with friends and/or family. But most importantly: The Wine. Never. Disappoints.
Not bad for $10.
This is a solid, dependable value, year in and year out. This Casone is what is called a “Super Tuscan” wines made by winemakers that do not strictly adhere to Chianti’s rules and regulations. The winemaker has much more flexibility in the blending of the wine. In this case, 20% Syrah has been blended with Sangiovese. Often Super Tuscans are blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, but the goal is the same. Pair the lighter and more acidic Sangiovese with a dollop of a complementary red wine that adds some body and fruit without extinguishing the sense of place you get with say, a Chianti.
Pours a nice medium red with a surprisingly clear rim given its age. It has pleasant aromas of black cherry, strawberry, dusty spice, cedar some balsamic notes and a little spearmint. In the mouth it is smooth and soft with mild tannins. Black cherry, sweet berry, cola, and a little vanilla also combine seamlessly in this medium-bodied wine with good complexity and acidity. It ends long and dry with lovely black cherry notes from the nose returning and a whisper of truffle.
We first reviewed the 2010 vintage of this wine, and more recently the 2013. Unlike most of the Trader Joe’s wine set, it is rare that this wine is ever out of stock at my local Trader Joe’s. Which is why it is a perfect go-to “house wine” when you just need to grab a quick wine to pair with a weeknight dinner of pizza, pasta or burgers. A blend of 80% Sangiovese (the workhorse grape of Chianti) and 20% Syrah, we always keep a couple of bottles of this wine handy for those nights when Italian fare is on our menu at home. If you don’t believe me, here is a photo of one of the Italian wine shelves in our home wine cellar:
It is a solid, dependable value, year in and year out. Ditto the unwavering quality and high QPR.
Legendary in Italy for its Renaissance art and striking landscape, Tuscany is home to many of the country’s best red wines. Sangiovese reigns supreme here, as either the single varietal, or a dominant player, in almost all of Tuscany’s best. Earning global acclaim since the 1970s, Tuscan blends are composed solely of international grape varieties or a mix of international wines and Sangiovese.
If you would like some help picking out Tuscany on a map, look down and you’ll find it just north of Rome.
If you’re shopping finds you at Trader Joe’s, keep an eye out for our Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine.
If you’re headed to Costco soon, you can find our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list.
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