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Wine Spectator: Toscana Promis 2015 91 Points

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“There is purity to the cherry and black currant fruit, laid out on a velvety texture, with hints of cedar, sandalwood and green olive. Harmonious, long and ready to enjoy. Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese. Drink now through 2024. 6,250 cases made.” – Bruce Sanderson

 

Daily Meal – Piedmont Soul & Tuscan Soil: Gaja Breaks Ground in Bolgheri with Ca’ Marcanda Wines

Ca' Marcanda wines Gaja

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When your name is known around the world for producing some of Italy’s most extraordinary wines, staying in the relative comfort zone of your vineyards in Piedmont would be the safe thing to do. Lucky for us, the Gaja family does not believe in playing it safe. Gaja’s winemaking roots in Piedmont run deep and can be traced back to 1859. But Gaja’s journey towards icon status really kicked off in 1961 when Angelo Gaja began working at the family winery after completing studies in enology at Alba and Montpellier. Angelo introduced innovations that revolutionized winemaking at his family’s winery and he is widely credited for single-handedly establishing Barbaresco’s reputation as one of the world’s great wine appellations.

Giovanni Gaja generously shared his family’s Ca’ Marcanda wines and their winemaking philosophy with me. 

So why Tuscany? This is the question that I posed to Giovanni Gaja, Angelo’s son and the 5th generation (along with his older sisters Gaia and Rossana) of this winemaking dynasty. With a smile he replied that the family’s 150+ years of experience with Nebbiolo had emboldened them to say “let’s try this with Brunello,” so in 1994 they ventured to Tuscany and purchased Pieve Santa Restituta winery in Montalcino. In 1996 they acquired Ca’ Marcanda – a stunning estate in Bolgheri, in the Tuscan coastal region of Maremma. But even with a name like Gaja, securing the property in Bolgheri took tremendous patience and tenacity. Angelo Gaja spent so many hours convincing the property’s previous owners to sell him the estate, the family decided to name their hard-fought jewel Ca’ Marcanda, which is the Piedmontese term for “house of endless negotiations.”

Impact2_openimage courtesy of Ca’Marcanda

Gaja’s persistence paid off beautifully and the wines of Ca’ Marcanda eloquently express their Tuscan terroir and the skill of the winemaker. The first winery from the Gaja family that was designed and built from the ground up with Angelo’s vision, Ca’ Marcanda is a deeply personal venture and a source of pride.

Cmcbarrique300dpi-720image courtesy of Ca’ Marcanda

As the youngest of the Gaja siblings, Giovanni and Ca’ Marcanda are so close in age that they essentially grew up together and Giovanni jokes “Ca’ Marcanda was my puppy.” Giovanni has a strong emotional connection to Ca’ Marcanda and during our conversation it became clear that it isn’t just another winery in their portfolio but an essential part of the ongoing Gaja legacy of innovation and excellence.

Ca' Marcanda Vistamare
Ca’ Marcanda Vistamare 2016 ($65) is the only white wine produced by the estate. Vistamare means sea view and the vineyards used to craft this wine are subtly influenced by the salt air. A blend of Vermentino and Viognier, Giovanni describes this crisp but luscious white wine as a fine example of “opposites attract.” Vermentino thrives in the sea breezes and Viognier prefers the heat, but together they create something special and absolutely delicious. Viognier’s rich velvety nature is given superb structure from the acidity and minerality of the Vermentino. Vibrant and harmonious, Vistamare is a winner.

Ca Marcanda Promis
A beautifully balanced blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Sangiovese Ca’ Marcanda Promis 2015 ($48) is a great introduction to Gaja’s Tuscan reds. A truly Mediterranean style with a fresh tapestry of sweet, savory, and herbal flavors, Promis is silky and graceful.

Ca' Marcanda Magari
The vineyards for Ca’ Marcanda Magari 2015 ($65) are further away from the sea and the richer soils impart the wines with intensity and depth. Magari means “if only it were true” and this blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot is the real deal. Rich but not overwhelming, Magari has layers of ripe dark berry flavors with savory herbal accents. Quite a sexy vino!

Camarcanda
Only produced in exceptional years, Camarcanda 2013 ($145) is the estate’s namesake and flagship wine. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, the grapes were cultivated in white soils, rich in calcareous clay, that are ideal for crafting wines with long aging potential. Deep in color and flavor, this is a wine that demands that you take your time to savor its complex charms.

Made with passion and expertise by a family with a rich legacy, the wines of Ca’ Marcanda are absolutely captivating.

From www.blackdresstraveler.com by Wanda Mann

Ca’Marcanda turns 20!

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These have been twenty exciting years full of many satisfactions. Thanks to the beauty of the place, the peace that the landscape instils, and the elegance and the fullness of its wines, our love for Bolgheri renews itself every day. These have been twenty years of commitment, experimentation and research to fully express the characteristics of the
soils, to elevate the wines’ aging potential and their elegance. To represent the exceptional territory of Bolgheri, in the last three years we have also re-thought some of our vineyards. We favored more late ripening varieties, able to express fresh notes and more moderate alcohol. The Merlot vineyards have been downsized to include only the areas that proved consistency and quality potential in line with our goals.

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On some vineyards, we preferred grafting Cabernet Franc, which over the years charmed us with its freshness and its botanical notes. We considered other vineyards more suitable to express the floral and dark fruit notes, elegant and compact tannins
of Cabernet Sauvignon. Thus, from 2015 vintage, the Ca’Marcanda wines will partially change their composition.

Camarcanda vineyard
PROMIS will not change in its blend: through the years, its fulfilling perfumes have acquired complexity and its body has become juicier and silkier.
MAGARI will predominantly be made of Cabernet Franc with a small addition of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The last two will contribute to its structure, acidity, roundness and color.
CAMARCANDA has not been bottled in the 2014 vintage and starting from 2015 it will be composed mainly of Cabernet Sauvignon with a small percentage of Cabernet Franc.

Ca_marcanda space view

The blends are thus the following:

PROMIS

55% MERLOT
35% SYRAH
10% SANGIOVESE

MAGARI

60% CABERNET FRANC
30% CABERNET SAUVIGNON
10% PETIT VERDOT

CAMARCANDA

80% CABERNET SAUVIGNON
20% CABERNET FRANC

James Suckling on Promis: ‘Succulent and Delicious’

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Here’s a new review of the 2014 Promis from veteran journalist and wine critic James Suckling:

GAJA Ca’Marcanda Toscana Promis 2014
90 points

A soft and fruity red with subtle tannins, light chocolate and currant character. Medium Finish. Succulent and delicious. Drink now.

See more at JamesSuckling.com.

Promis 2014 Tasting Notes Released

2014 promis bottleThe 2014 has been overall a small crop due to the challenge of the very cool and rainy year. However, it has been a pleasing vintage expressing intense and mineral wines.

Climate and harvest
The 2014 weather trend has been marked by a mild winter, a cool and rainy spring and a moderately warm and quite rainy summer, especially in July when we counted 20 episodes of rainfalls. The temperatures have been far below the annual average, never exceeding 29°C. The winds, typical and constant in the Bolgheri region, were less evident than usual. Instead of the cool and dry northerly Tramontana wind, the warm and southerly Scirocco made sporadic appearances throughout the whole of September. To ensure healthy and evenly ripe grapes we proceeded with the heaviest leaves thinning ever done in our vineyards. We also had to go through the toughest grape selection which lead us to a 50% reduction in the overall production. The harvest has been late, it begun on September 15 with Merlot and ended with Cabernet Sauvignon on October 4.

Tasting notes
The 2014 weather trend has benefited the early ripening varieties. In particular, both Merlot and Syrah have performed well in Promis 2014. Bright and lively purple-nuanced color. The nose opens up with sweet notes of blackberry and black cherry, followed by the typical Syrah spiciness – notably cinnamon, black pepper and clove. In the mouth, the Merlot-core of the wine is open and fulfilling, lightened by the juiciness from Sangiovese. The final is remarkably fresh, with notes of moist earth, fresh-cut grass and roots.

Vineyards
In Bolgheri and in the neighboring area of Bibbona, mainly planted on dark soils full of lime and clay.

Appellation
Toscana I.G.T.

Grape varieties
55% Merlot, 35% Syrah, 10%Sangiovese

Winemaking method
The three varieties ferment and macerate separately for around 15 days. After 12 months of ageing in oak, they are blended and then aged for several months in the bottle before release.

First vintage produced
2000

Magari 2014 Tasting Notes Released

2014 magari bottleThe 2014 has been overall a small crop due to the challenge of the very cool and rainy year. However, it has been a pleasing vintage expressing intense and mineral wines.

Climate and harvest
The 2014 weather trend has been marked by a mild winter, a cool and rainy spring and a moderately warm and quite rainy summer, especially in July when we counted 20 episodes of rainfalls. The temperatures have been far below the annual average, never exceeding 29°C. The winds, typical and constant in the Bolgheri region, were less evident than usual. Instead of the cool and dry northerly Tramontana wind, the warm and southerly Scirocco made sporadic appearances throughout the whole of September. To ensure healthy and evenly ripe grapes we proceeded with the heaviest leaves thinning ever done in our vineyards. We also had to go through the toughest grape selection which lead us to a 50% reduction in the overall production. The harvest has been late, it begun on September 15 with Merlot and ended with Cabernet Sauvignon on October 4.

Tasting notes
Deep and vivid purple color. In the bouquet of 2014 Magari features well the fresh and floral character of Cabernet Franc. It takes a while to open up, but when it does the nose expresses complex aromas of balsamic herbs – notably mint and eucalyptus – ink and sweet spices. It also has a particular hint of anise and dill, lavender and violet flowers. In the mouth is juicy and sweet, with notes of crunchy black cherry. The wine is well balanced and harmonic in the final.

Vineyards
In Bolgheri, both on dark soil rich in lime and clay, and white soil full of limestone, clay and stones.

Appellation
Bolgheri D.O.C.

Grape varieties
50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc

Winemaking method
The three varieties ferment and macerate separately for around 15 days. After 12 months of ageing in oak, they are blended and then aged for several months in the bottle before release.

First vintage produced
2000

Vistamare 2015 Tasting Notes Released

2015 vistamare bottleThe 2015 has been a positive vintage, notably in the Bolgheri area. Drinkability and juiciness are the features of this vintage which shows balance between acidity and perfectly ripen grape.

Climate and harvest
The 2015 winter has been a cold one followed by a rainy spring, thus providing the appropriate amount of water reserves to the soil and also decisively hampering the diseases pressure in the vineyards. The 2015 summer started with a positive and balanced situation in the vineyard, which has been crucial to face the very high temperatures of July and August. Very little selection has been necessary in the vineyard, and the 2015 grape which entered the cellar was clean and healthy. The fermentations have carried out regularly and without arrests, resulting in medium-to high acidity wines with remarkable fresh aromas. The harvest began with Viognier on August 27 and ended with Vermentino on September 11. The 2015 Vistamare displays a pleasant readiness to drinking.

Tasting notes
Clear and bright green-lemon color. The nose open up with typical Vermentino notes: white flowers and crispy citrus fruit. Viognier finds its expression through notes of melon, apricot and mirabelle plum. In the mouth, the blend of Vistamare finds its perfect balance, with Vermentino providing freshness and drinkability, while Viognier gives body and roundness to the palate. In the finish is clean and inviting with an almost salty touch, proving the sea-facing exposure of the Vistamare vineyards.

Vineyards
Lying on a sweet hillside overlooking the Tyrrhenian coast, the Vistamare vineyards benefit from the great luminosity and the heady marine breeze.

Appellation
Toscana I.G.T.

Grape varieties
60% Vermentino, 40% Viognier

Winemaking method
The two varieties ferment separately, Vermentino in steel vats and Viognier in wood. Then, Vermentino ages for 6 months in steel while Viognier in oak, and finally they are blended.

First vintage produced
2009