In recent weeks I have been reviewing a lot of inexpensive value wines in the $15 and under price category that give you great bang for your buck. A couple nights ago I had occasion to bring out something a little nicer from my cellar that was in a little bit higher price category. The Castello del Terriccio Tassinaia 2005 retails for about $45, which definitely takes it out of everyday value territory, but I'm here to tell you that for my money, this wine still delivers outstanding value.
The 2005 Tassinaia is made entirely with estate grown fruit at Castello del Terriccio in the northernmost part of the Tuscan Maremma just twenty short kilometers from Bolgheri. This is Super Tuscan territory where many of the best Italian blends are made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese. The 2005 Tassinaia is made from 34% Sangiovese, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 33% Merlot that are aged separately in French oak for 14 months and then blended and bottled. The winemaking process is guided by consulting oenologist Carlo Ferrini. Ferrini has become a bit of a celebrity winemaker, but he is very unique in his belief that he will only work with nearby Italian wineries where he can be an estate consultant as opposed to a flying winemaker who shows up once a year for a few days. All his clients are in driving range and he visits them often and spends as much time in the vineyard as he does in the winery. I have to say that I like his approach.
In your glass the 2005 Tassinaia gives you wonderful aromas of blackberry, cassis, and black cherry laced with bell pepper and herbs. On the palate you get more great black fruit flavors similar to the nose along with some plum. The wine has a very pleasant full body and beautifully soft tannins (note that this is after 3 hours in decanter). The finish is fantastic and long with some very subtle earthiness and herbs to go with the fruit. To sum it up in one simple word, this wine is delicious! It's hard to believe that this is actually a second label to Castello del Terriccio's Lupicaia.
As far as value goes, this is relative for everyone and what they are comfortable spending on wine, but I believe that at $45, the 2005 Tassiniaia gives you great value for your money. Its certainly not for everyday, but its well worth it when preparing a nice meal at home. I had this a few nights ago with rosemary scented lamb chops with a port wine mushroom reduction, and they were wonderful together. It would also be great with a nice steak or grilled venison. So go ahead and splurge for that special occasion at home, or bring a bottle of Tassinaia to your favorite restaurant that allows you to bring your own and pay a reasonable corkage fee. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Cheers!