90 Points- James Suckling
"Nicely balanced with refined tannins. Full-bodied but stylish. One of Tuscany's great-value wines."- James Suckling
“One of Tuscany’s great values,” extols James Suckling, giving this one 90 points. Behind this incredible bargain hides one of Europe’s hottest winemakers and one little winemaking secret with big-time results.
Bibi Graetz is shaking things up in Tuscany and getting gobs of press for his internationally styled, delicious wines whose playful names belie very serious fruit, concentration and complexity. Casamatta means “crazy house.” Graetz has certainly deviated from the norm in this bottling. This is a blend of three recent vintages, and the decision to make this a non-vintage wine was anything but accidental or frugal. Graetz borrows a traditional technique from Spain called “solera” in which a small amount of each vintage is held back every year and combined. A proportion (20% in this case) of this “aged” wine is then added to the new harvest and bottled, giving an otherwise simple and young red added stuffing and nuance.
Still very juicy and fresh, however, this Casamatta is 100% Sangiovese and brimming with the varietal’s classic characters: Bing cherry, minerals, soft earth and stone fruit aromas and flavors along with Sangio’s always virile acidity and tannin make this a no-brainer with pasta of all shapes and pizza, too.
Reasons why we love it:
Cult winemaker Bibi Graetz studied fine art as a young man in Florence, and his artistic flair continues to flourish as one of the world’s most awarded oenologists. Graetz fashions his NV Testamatta with a nod to Spain, but the wine’s heart lies firmly in Tuscany.
Those Members who’ve speculated that Bibi Graetz’s surname sounds not so Italiano, correct! Graetz’s mother came from Norway, and his father was an Israeli-Swiss sculptor. He was raised in Italy, however, not far from the vines he so lovingly curates today.
According to the Wine Spectator: “Graetz' value wine, the Toscana Casamatta, has taken a new twist. To keep the price competitive on this 100 percent Sangiovese, most of which comes from purchased wine, Graetz came up with the creative idea of declassifying Casamatta from IGT to Vino da Tavola. This allows him to blend as much as 20 percent of the previous vintage to maintain volume and consistency. He decided to take it one step further and now uses a solera system for this red. The current release is a blend of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages. It's this creative spirit and playful humor that keeps the Graetz range fresh and innovative, but the quality is there too.”
Shows the earthy side of Sangiovese, with loam, iron, cherry and plum flavors. A juicy wine, with upfront fruit and light tannins.
Bibi Graetz, the iconic Italian winemaker, took an unconventional route to his winemaking career. Growing up in Fiesole, near Florence, in an artistic family, surrounded by the impressive metal sculptures created by his father, Gidon Graetz, and his own canvases and paint brushes, Bibi graduated from Accademia delle Belle Arte in Florence as a promising young artist. His increasing passion for wine had become evident while he was still an art student, however, and he began studying all he could find on enology. It was in the late 1990s, when Bibi was in the process of renewing his family’s contract to grow grapes for other producers that he impulsively decided to use the grapes to make his own wines.
Sangio’s always virile acidity and tannin make this a no-brainer with pasta of all shapes and pizza, too.