Friendship, friendship, it’s the perfect blendship

Castello di Amorosa

We had a Super start to 2014. A couple of weeks ago Sippity Sup received a Christmas present from the Castello di Amorosa winery in Napa Valley: a do-it-yourself wine “kit” that included barrel samples from three of their 2012 wines, a pipette and the challenge to formulate a luscious Super Tuscan-style blend.

What’s so super about a Super Tuscan? If you ask Italian winemakers, they might say it’s the freedom to create wines outside of restrictive appellation laws. Italy’s top-quality DOC/DOCG regulations require specific percentages of local grape varietals. Innovative Tuscan winemakers wanted to “think different” and give complexity, nuance and strength to their creations by adding Bordeaux varietals to the mix. Antinori was an early rule-breaker with their Tignanello (adding Cabernet Sauvignon to the local Sangiovese) followed by the super successful, super expensive Sassicaia (Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc) by Tenuta San Guido.

Well, Helen and I are great friends with pretty good palates (especially Helen’s), but we’re blending newbies. My one and only attempt was a few months back at a Kendall-Jackson wine blending seminar. But we’ve surely tasted hundreds (who are we kidding here, thousands) of wines.

On its own, Helen and I liked the Castello di Amorosa Sangiovese best. So our first instinct was to use this traditional Italian varietal as the base wine. As the tasting-blending-tasting progressed we began to question this decision. Perhaps the later, more super Super Tuscans were on to something with their Bordeaux leanings? So we took a Cab to our best blend. An untraditional two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, enhanced by 22% of the more traditional Sangiovese and a 11% touch of Merlot. Our percentages also broke with tradition – professional winemakers blend in 5% increments. Good wine makers or not, we had a Super time. KEN

PS Ken and I had our first date 24 years ago today! He’s as cute now as he was then, don’t you think? HNYXO GREG