Monte Antico Toscana – Wine Wednesday

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This week’s pick for Wine Wednesday comes from beautiful Toscana (Tuscany) in Italy. Just thinking of Tuscany conjures images of sun-drenched fields of grapes bursting with ripeness, amazing salumi and cheese and amazing times. If you can’t tell, one of my favorite vacations was in Tuscany and I immensely enjoyed my all too short time spent at Tuscan wineries.

Italy is one of my value countries for wine but usually Tuscany doesn’t top the list of value regions within Italy. This isn’t to say that the wines coming out of Tuscany are fabulously expensive. Rather, it’s the opposite. Even the most expensive wines are values compared to other part of the world. But, even in the most value conscious areas, its hard to get a great wine that is $10 and under.

Monte Antico Toscana hits a home run! It’s the brainchild of the Empsons, who have been importing wines and other goodies from Italy since 1972, and Franco Bernabei, a pretty famous Italian winemaker. The Monte Antico is a Super-Tuscan (with much lower prices than most), which means that it combines the native Sangiovese grape with Cabernet and Merlot (not the traditional blending partners for Sangiovese), which then sits in oak barrels for up to a year. It’s like the Italian-French fusion of wine.

Since 1977, the Empsons have been producing Monte Antico for the budget conscious. The 2007 Monte Antico is clear with a medium purple turning to ruby color. On the nose, the wine has medium aromas of cherry, blackberry, black plum, vanilla, sweet spices, dust, leather and cedar. On the palate, the wine has medium plus acidity, medium tannins and body and the same notes on the palate as it has one the nose with a little more emphasis on the wood flavors. Medium plus finish. Overall, this is a fruit forward wine that nicely showcases the Sangiovese flavors with nice compliments from the Cabernet and Merlot. Drink now.

Give this wine a try. There is a reason that the 2006 vintage was one of the best-selling wines on

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