This is not my first rodeo with Villa Cafaggio. When I was the national sommelier for Bacchus Selections, I was a huge fan of their Chianti Classico. It was a great balance of old-world style and modern winemaking. Oh, and the label was awesome, too. It’s one of the great values for Tuscan wines under $20. I bought up all I could. I even let our customers buy some of it. I know, I am a saint.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the Cortaccio is the winery’s Super Tuscan. Most of the vines were planted in their Panzano (Chianti) vineyards in 1986, replacing old vine Canaiolo. Additional planting happened in ’91 and ’95. With the average age of the vines over 25 years, harvests are only a few tons per acre, even in warm years. Ripeness is pushed to the limit, with the grapes harvested just before the Autumn rains. It’s aged in new French oak for at least a year and a half.
You want a steak with this wine. A simple meat and potatoes dinner is the best option here. Maybe some creamed spinach on the side. Maybe. I don’t know what to suggest for our vegetarian readers other than a hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio. Not exactly a balanced meal, but it’s an awesome pairing.
This starts like a classic Pauillac: brooding aroma rife with burnt cedar and black tar. In the glass, it turns into a syrupy bruiser. The wine is full-bodied on the palate with tightly structured tannins over a super-ripe body—a deep concentration of fruit flavor and dark chocolate with a deep mineral backbone to hold it up. The tannins remain soft but increasingly powerful. The age of the wine has allowed it to express some more complex flavors, with hazelnut and orange zest taking hold in the finish.