Carmignano: grape variety, history and characteristics of a great Tuscan red wine
History of Carmignano wine
This small strip of land, close to the Arno and protected to the east by Montalbano, produces one of the oldest (and most renowned) wines of Italy. Carmignano wine has been known since the Etruscan times, and mentioned, for its fundamental importance, in 1716 by Cosimo III dei Medici, in the announcement with which he established the borders of the four most important regions of the time: Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano, and Val d’Arno di Sopra. We could say that Carmignano wine is the progenitor of the Supertuscan the use of vinifying Sangiovese in blend with Cabernet Sauvignon dates back to 1700, when Caterina de ‘Medici, queen of France, imported the so-called Francesa (French) grape into Tuscany.
Organoleptic characteristics of Carmignano DOCG
Thanks to a favorable microclimate (the Apennines are not far away) Carmignano is a sumptuous wine, which combines the nervous elegance of Sangiovese with the opulence of Cabernet Sauvignon. And the result of this blend is an excellent wine with warm fruit, based on black cherries and blueberries, with good body: elegant, with deep nuances that come from Cabernet. It takes some time to open up in the glass, but is layered and tasty, with a nice fleshy fruit framed by vigorous tannins and the classic smoked notes of Cabernet. Thanks to the incredible acidity and the powerful tannins, the Carmignano wine has remarkable aging potential, even of tens-twenty years.
Carmignano food pairings
Carmignano wine goes perfectly with the rich Tuscan cuisine: try it with Florentine steak, Florentine baked duck, scottiglia, Petigliolo peposo, flank steak, lamb kebabs, gnocchi with Bolognese, hamburgers, baked lasagna, truffle risotto, pasta Amatriciana, veal chop with pepper sauce and all your favorite BBQ dishes.
The production area of Carmignano
Carmignano is a tiny DOCG, 170 hectares, which includes only two municipalities, just west of Florence, between Prato and Empoli: Carmignano and Poggio a Caiano. These lands are famous not only for the goodness of the wines but also for an excellent olive oil, Montalbano denomination, and a tasty cuisine based on rich sauces, game, and mushrooms.
Barco Reale DOC
Another noteworthy wine is Barco Reale, Carmignano’s younger brother, produced with the same grapes and subjected to shorter aging, but which is lighter, incredibly drinkable. The name comes from the Medici estate which extended over the current territory of the municipalities of Poggio a Caiano and Carmignano and which was surrounded by the wall of the Barco Reale: 30 miles long.
Vin Ruspo DOC
Also noteworthy for its freshness and grace is Vin Ruspo, one of the few pink wine DOC in Tuscany, always produced from Sangiovese and Cabernet grapes. The picturesque name of Vin Ruspo comes from the custom of doing a small saignée (drain) by the sharecroppers from the wine before handing it over to the landlord.
Vin Santo DOC of Carmignano
Do not miss the Vin Santo di Carmignano, from the best bunches of Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia, which after the harvest are left to dry on the racks. Here they stay for two/four months so that the sugars can concentrate. Then they are pressed and the must is placed in small caratelli (100 liters casks) and left to ferment for three or four years in “natural” environments such as attics, characterized by large overhangs temperature, to ensure that the seasons are imprinted in the wine. Exactly as for the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena or Madeira. In the end, after this extreme aging, you get incredible nectar with splendid fruity aromas that mix with quince jelly, saffron, and chestnut honey creating a sumptuous weave where sweetness and freshness are in perfect balance. It a rare and precious wine, perfect for pairings with difficult desserts like chocolate cheesecakes, brownies, galaktoboureko, apple crumble, chocolate and pear tart, mud cake, creme brulee.