The Italians know how to live life with a certain flair. This weekend's Strade Bianche was a prime example. This 190 km one day race sends the pro bike racers across 57 km of unique white gravel roads in Tuscany, hence the name Strade Bianche.
In terms of the One Day Classic Races, the Strade Bianche is an infant. This is just the seventh edition of the race and, surprisingly, no Italian had won the race. Until this past Saturday when Moreno Moser took the race by storm attacking the main peleton on the final gravel road section. He bridged to the remainders of the day's break away in the race's final 10 kilometers and then bided his time, finally attacking on the final climb leading into the Piazza del Campo. Ultimately, soloing to victory and driving the Italian Tofosi into a frenzy.
This week's challenge honors Italian style and the strade bianchi with a Super Tuscan matchup.
2007 Brian Carter Tuttorosso v. 2009 Antonio Sanguineti Nessun Dorma Maestro Super Tuscan
Tale of the Tape
2007 Brian Carter Tuttorosso
71% Sangiovese, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and11% Syrah
Most sourced from vineyards in the Yakima Valley AVA with 4% of the Syrah coming from Snipes Mountain.
Aged for 24 months in French (80%) and European (20%) Oak Barrels. 20% new and 80% used (1-4 years old).
Purchased at Cellar 46 for $20.99.
2009 Antonio Sangiuneti Nessun Dorma Maestro Super Tuscan
50% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot and 20% Syrah
Aged for 8 months in barrel and 2 months in bottle.
The Sangiovese was aged in Stainless steel and the Merlot and Syrah were aged in neutral open vats.
Purchased at Esquin for $15.99.
Round 1. First opening
Brian Carter cartwheels into the ring with a fistful of dynamite bursting with power. The nose shows dark currant, smoke and tart cedar. The palate is equally potent with currant, clove, menthol and a bit of cocoa powder that leads into a nice tart finish of espresso bean and cedar spices.
The Maestro is flashing some style with a nose of earthy dark cherry and leather. The palate is ripe with dark cherry, tart cedar, all spice and a tart dry cherry bark finish. The Super Tuscan from Tuscany is definitely showing more Sangiovese character than the Luchador from Washington.
The Maestro is elusive, but The Brian Carter bruiser was able to corner the challenger and subdue it with a wicked headlock. Round 1 goes to Carter the crusher.
Round 2. One hour after opening
The Carter Crusher is full of fury. The nose is bold with smoke, black cherry, cocoa and espresso bean. The palate is also showing currant, black cherry and tart cocoa cedar spices with a finish that features dry cedar menthol spices.
The Maestro counter attacks with classic Tuscan style. The nose is packing a punch with a bouquet of cherries along with savory light soy, white pepper and notes of cedar. The palate is racy with tart cherries and sultry, savory light smokiness that leads to a tart semi-smoky finish.
Another tough round to call and this time the judges give the points to the Maestro based on its ability to showcase the character of Tuscany and the mighty Sangiovese grape.
Round 3. One day after opening
The Brian Carter Tuttorosso is flashing some serious muscle with the nose showing currant, sweet spices, leather, tart cedar and smooth and savory licorice. The palate is dark and menacing with currant, black cherry and earthy clove spices. The finish is bolstered with tart cocoa powder and some notes of sweet cherry.
The Maestro is showing stamina and consistency with a nose of bing cherry, tar and smoky charcoal. The palate is also featuring bing cherry along with cedar, clove and menthol spices that deliver a tart spicy finish.
These two luchadors are bringing totally different styles into the ring. The Brian Carter is bold, muscular and powerful. The Maestro is cunning, attacking with zingers from angles nobody can anticipate.
The judges award the final round points to the Carter Crusher based on its power and panache'. That makes the Brian Carter Tuttorosso the winner of this match 2 rounds to 1.
Wrap up and overall observations
The Brian Carter is a rich full bodied example of Super Tuscan style. If you like your wines big, bold and expressive you will really like this Washington state luchador.
The Maestro from Antonio Sanguineti does Tuscany proud. The Sangiovese really shines through in this Super Tuscan blend. It also delivers a nice streak of acidity that would make this an awesome companion for some rich Italian food. At $15.99 this is definitely a wine worth finding.
I was not familiar with Antonio Sanguineti, but noticed that the importer was Small Vineyards. I have had good luck with their wines in the past and was not disappointed by this selection. Small Vineyards also receives solid marks!
I give both of these wines a rating of Excellent and would welcome them both back for a return engagement any time.