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Carpineto 2012 “Valcolomba” Merlot, Tuscany

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This wine starts with dark berries and toasted almonds, with a whiff of diacetyl (that butterscotch smell so popular in chardonnay and so reviled in Heineken). There is a hint of spice and earth underneath, but not too forthcoming. The fruit and buttery elements are evident in the palate, moving from blue and lush to red and tart as the wine evolves in the glass. The finish goes toward black pepper and fresh red fruit.

A great Merlot for the price, round and fleshy and fun. Bottom line: 2012 is the first bottling for this wine, and we hope it’s not the last.

Carpineto is named for the Greek term carpos, meaning fruit. It usually holds to its namesake, putting the grape ahead of such things as Closed Loop Marketing and Viral Content. It is one of the larger wineries in Tuscany, but it keeps the focus on the wine. They are mostly known for its Chianti Classico bottlings, but it has holdings throughout the region, including the coast, where this bottling comes from. The warmer coast is one of the top spots for international varieties like Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah. This bottling is from Maremma, famous for its Super Tuscans (and Etruscan ghosts).

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