La Brancaia Il Blu
La Brancaia Il Blu 2006 is one of the best Super Tuscan wines around and with a growing reputation it won’t stay on my QPR doozy list for long. The 2006 vintage is sumptuous. A fantastic year for Merlot in Italy, that supple little grape has provided the knock out punch to the other great red of La Brancaia’s, Ilatraia. Usually, vintage after vintage these two wines can barely be separated both excellent though with very different flavour profiles. However, this year Il Blu is a baby giraffes neck ahead and with 96 points from Galloni and a Tre Bicchiere award, I had to get hold of this years vintage and see if the wine justified this stonking rating.
Swiss owned La Brancaia are foremostly fine exponents of Chianti Classico, and, like many other Tuscan estates with Chianti holdings, soon turned their attention to the cheaper and Bordeaux-esque Maremma to begin producing Super Tuscan wines. Still today these wines are wowing the critics. A little out of fashion in the noughties those in the know still swear by the Super Tuscan often rivalling, sometimes surpassing, the quality of Bordeaux and often for a fraction of the price. The interesting thing about Il Blu, a 50% Sangiovese, 45% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon wine is that it’s not actually from Maremma but grown within the Chianti jurisdiction.
The excellent thing about it, is that this wine can still be found for under £40. 96 Point wines at £40 are very few and far between especially from such a famous region. Although I wasn’t quite as impressed, to me 96 represents a unique barrier to push through, I happily award this wine 95 Points and a rubber stamped BUY.
As frequent readers of this blog will know, I spent 3 of the last 4 years living in Italy and one of the most beautiful things about it, excluding the people, countryside, food and wine, was the way these 4 qualities were often married. We spent many Friday evenings drinking and eating at the local Agriturismo’s, where you ate the produce from the working farms, many of these were not just farms and restaurants but also hotels too. At La Brancaia you can also take a vacation with a stunning location, great food and wine of course, and set yourself right in the heart of a gorgeous Italian wine holiday. Check it out here.
Back to the wine. I popped and poured the La Brancaia Il Blu 2006 on Sunday which, to be honest, was a good 5 years too early. The wines of La Brancaia, apart from the Chianti Classico which is surprisingly accessible young, should all be given at least 5 years in the cellar. Despite this it was very clear to see that this was a very special wine and after some time to breath I can say that, for 2009 so far, this is the best QPR wine of the year. If you love Italian wines you have to seek this out, if you are into Bordeaux you have to seek this out, if you collect wine to sell for profit… you have to seek this out. If an alien were to come down from Mars, point a gun to my head and forced me to choose just one wine to attempt to please his palate…I’d choose this wine.
Food Match: Duck, Pigeon or Venison.
Brancia Il Blu
La Brancaia Il Blu 2006 – BUY – £39
Deep dark ruby red edging on purple, the wine sits thick in the glass. On the nose you are taken on a power tour of fruit with cherries, plum and spicy vanilla oak. The wine is full bodied with the aromas carrying through to the attack. The mid palate is powerful and tannic at the moment but still enjoyable with the finish almost endless. Brilliantly structured, the wine hides the alcohol brilliantly and is sure to improve with age. 95 Points
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Which wine would you give to an alien to showcase the best planet earth had to offer?