It is not a secret that I am a fan of Tua Rita wines, and it is not a secret that L’Anima is one of my favourite Italian restaurants in town. If we combine the two, the result can only be excitement!
Yesterday, l’Anima hosted a dinner organised by Armit Wines to celebrate the visit in London of Stefano Frascolla of Tua Rita, and his Brand Manager Paola Banchi.
Under the meticulous but relaxed supervision of l’Anima’s manager, Alessandro Bianchini, the sparkling and informative interaction with Head Sommelier Franco Fortunati, and the entertaining incursions of Head Chef Antonio Favuzzi, a.k.a. Lello, a dozen of us sat at the privé next to the elegant wine cellar, to enjoy different vintages of Rosso and Giusto di Notri, as well as two old vintages of Redigaffi, a Merlot in purezza of which Italy can be very proud.
After a short introduction by Paola on the family-run Tuscan estate just outside Suvereto, we were served a 2012 Rosso di Notri, paired with a pounded raw beef with anchovy sauce, bottarga and black truffle.
Rosso di Notri is a blend of Sangiovese (50%), Merlot (30%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) and Syrah (10%). Ruby in colour; an explosion of red fruits on the nose and succulent fruit on the palate, with spices and light notes of tobacco. Fresh, fruity and young.
The second, mouth-watering dish was tortelli with stracciatella, ricotta and aged balsamic, proposed with three vintages of Giusto di Notri: 2011, 2005 and 2000. This year, Tua Rita celebrates the 20th anniversary of this wine, which was their first produced. Giusto di Notri is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc in varying percentages. Only the 2005 was embellished with a small percentage of Petit Verdot (5%) added to the blend.
The 2011 is all about abundance of fruit: red berries and red currants, with a hint of vanilla and good acidity to forecast a great ageing for this wine.
I was particularly impressed by the 2005, a “difficult and unusual vintage”, as Stefano pointed out during the dinner: a well-structured wine with plenty of ripe black fruits, intense aromas of tobacco, chocolate, spices and fine tannins. A powerful and elegant wine that will still deliver for at least another 10 years.
The 2000 was another surprise: a very earthy nose followed by liquorice, tobacco leaves, woodland, herbs, dried fruits, leather and truffle. In fact, it reminded of the truffle I had enjoyed with the beef.
The roasted rib of veal with asparagus and potatoes that followed was unbelievably delicious, and was presented on stage with Redigaffi’s “big guns”: double-magnum 2007, and magnum 2004. It was like seeing the guests of honour finally entering the floor, while fans excited were taking pictures of and with them (and this is not a metaphor!)
Redigaffi: the real, natural competitor of Pomerol. A monument to Tuscan excellence!
2007: a complex and deep Merlot with aromas and long lasting flavours of mature red and black fruit and liquorice, which open up with decision as you swirl the glass. Silky and firm tannins, with generous acidity that will no doubt keep this wine alive until 2020.
2004: a sophisticated nose of blackberries, spices and hints of dried fruit; then mocha, chocolate, tobacco leaves and leather, all completed with velvety tannins. A fulfilling and accomplished wine, if compared to the vibrant 2007.
Redigaffi 2004 and 2007 are two chapters of the same novel about Tuscany, its people, terroir and hot summers. The differences we have detected between these two vintages describe a wine in constant evolution with great potential over time.
The dinner ended with a quick guided tour of the kitchen. A true temple to the flavour, with a team of great professionals.
It was a tasty and amusing event. I love it when producers travel and familiarise themselves with the environment where their fine products blossom and make diners’ experiences unforgettable.