On the nose, Haiku is savoury, actually, it is sheer perfection. Red fruits, dry leaf almost undergrowth, tangy, cocoa.
The palate on Haiku is plush, mineral, meaty, with a hint of ginger. Not surprisingly, Haiku has dry tannins. And at 11 years of age, it is ready to drink now.
Haiku has more than a passing resemblance to mature Bordeaux, it will pair with anything you serve with Bordeaux. Lamb, duck, hard cheese.
Haiku originated in 2009 with the acquisition of the Montebuoni vineyard, whose replanting finished in 2001. Haiku is a blend of three varieties: 50% Sangiovese, with the remainder
divided in equal measure between Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Haiku comes from 4 sites within the Montebuoni. Castello di Ama researched climate and soil to decided what to plant.
They believe that Cabernet Franc is the best variety for the site. They planted Cabernet Franc even though they had not grown in previously. Even from the first release of Haiku, this wine, they have proven this is true.
Castello di Ama Haiku Tuscan IGT 2009 Wine Notes
Wine Advocate, June 2012
“The 2009 Haiku is a new Sangiovese/Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend meant to showcase regional distinctiveness over strict varietal character. Dark red cherries, flowers, mint and spices are some of the notes that flow from the glass… Like all of the Ama 2009s, the tannins are quite firm and call for cellaring. The blend is 50% Sangiovese and 50% Cabernet Franc/Merlot. Haiku is a promising wine… Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029.”
After much planning and analysis, Marco Pallanti planted his high altitude vineyard to Sangiovese in 1982. The elegance and balance of the wines have won many fans over the years and has meant Marco received Gambero Rosso’s winemaker of the year in 2003 and he has held the position of President of the Chianti Classico Consortium. Sangiovese is King here, but wines like Haiku and L’Appartia
Widely cultivated across Italy from Emilia-Romagna to Campania. Sangiovese produces as much wine as Barbera in Italy. Sangiovese has a wide range of clones. Couple this with hugely diverse growing conditions and you get a lot of variety: Rosato (rose), easy-drinking ‘quaffers’, all the way to benchmarks. Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, Sangiovese di Romagna and Morellino di Scansano are all top examples.
It gets a tough time most of the places it is grown. But in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion Merlot not only dominates but makes some of the best wines in the world. Perfume, silky and plush. Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon season the wines with structure and acid but in some places, like Petrus, they are almost not needed.
Cabernet Franc is one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with Sauvignon Blanc (oh! The name makes sense now!). It is most famous for being the third most crucial grape in quality Bordeaux. But also excels in the Loire Valley (where it lived before it went to Bordeaux), especially Chinon and Saumur. The wines are bright red, highlight aromatic with raspberries, rose petals, violets along with tobacco, cassis and some herbal elements. The best examples can live as long as any great wine.
It is essential to understand it is a name that does not have any legal status. The wine trend started because the Chianti laws stated that you could only use 70% Sangiovese and had to include at least 10% of local white grapes in your blend. It meant that a lot of Chianti was more like Rosato and did not age.
The Super Tuscans were a group of producers who chose to ditch the Chianti laws to use international varieties and/or higher amounts of Sangiovese to make the best wine they could from their terroir. These wines were labelled at Vino da Tavola and were selling for significantly more than the best wines of Chianti.
In the 1990s the laws were changed, and a lot of the Super Tuscan wines could legally use Chianti again. But most of them used the Toscana IGT appellation, which came to be to allow these experimental wines to exist too.
Italy’s most famous wine region. Beautiful lightly wooded rolling hills covered in vineyards, olive groves and cypress trees. The reds from Chianti Classico received its most significant boost in quality from being awarded the much more stringent DOCG rating.
When most people think of Central Italy, they think of Tuscany. Not surprisingly because Chianti is an ocean of vineyards within the winegrowing region of Central Tuscany. Chianti produces more than 750000 hectolitres of wine each year. Tuscany’s wine history starts somewhere in the 8th-5th Century BCE when it was part of Etruria. Vernaccia from San Gimignano and reds from Montepulciano were known and loved before the Renaissance. The Tuscany we know now started in the 19th Century with Chianti gaining the ascendancy. Brunello di Montalcino debuted in 1888, and the Super Tuscans took shape in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Beyond Tuscany, there are the magical places of Emilia Romagna, Marche, Abruzzo and Umbria. Each area has a unique history and personality that deserve a night of their own. Better still, a few nights in situ.
There are 1000s and 1000s of grapes in Italy. There are sub-alpine cool-climate regions in the North and Sun-baked vineyards in the South. Add to that, volcanoes and many cultures within one Country. You could struggle to find anything uniform about the wines. The best of the best include Tuscan reds from Sangiovese or Cabernet. Nebbiolo from Piedmont, especially Barolo and Barbaresco. The aromatic whites of NE Italy from Garganega, Pinot Grigio, and numerous crazy blends. The volcanic wines of Mt Etna in Sicily. And many more.
The only generalisation I will make is that a lot of Italian wine is undervalued when compared to a similar French style.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins, the wine gains tannins, and flavours. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.
The Wine Depository
I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.