My second wine from my visit to Hedonism was "Margari" from Ca'Marcanda in Bolgheri, the coastal region situated in Maremma, Tuscany in Italy. I am a huge fan of Italian wines and having spent 2 weeks in Tuscany this summer, my flat seems to be full of boxes of 2010 Brunellos now!
Now Bolgheri is a fairly new wine making area of interest; with its turning point going back to 1974, where the famous Sassicaia came out top in a Decanter event, rising above all the big Bordeaux names. Before this, Bolgheri was only making mediocre white and rose, nothing of much interest. Sassicaia was pretty unique as it was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, very much a Bordeaux grape, and a big change from Italys Sangiovese and Nebbiolo wines. This idea went back to the 1920s, where Marchese Mario Incisa dreamed of making a wine similar to those of Bordeaux. In the 1940s he went about his quest by settling on the Tenuta San Guido on the Tyrrehian coast, he recognised the same gravelly soil similar to that of Bordeaux, so he began experimenting with bordeaux grapes. The first few vintages weren't well received, so it remained a family affair. But with further ageing, the wines were improving considerably, and soon friends encouraged Mario Incisa to release his wines commercially, and as mentioned above, they were very well received.
But it was only since 1994 were Bolgheri reds actually given DOC status, before this they were sold under IGT or Vino da Tavola, this being because of their use of international grapes. Despite this change, many of the producers decided not to accept this change (which came far to late!) and are still carrying on quite happily with their IGT or Vino da Tavola status, but with their massive price labels.
Nowadays we're familiar with Ornellaia, Gaja, Antinori and other "Super - Tuscans" which followed suit and are still out performing the such loved Bordeaux classics.
Ca'Marcanda winery, so named for the long negotiations for the purchase of the estate (ca' meaning case, or house and marcanda meaning mercanteggiare or to haggle) started back in 1996, with the purchase of the 250 acre estate by the Gaja family.
Magari (if only it were true) by Gaja, is one of four of their wines they produce from the Ca'Marcanda winery; this one being one of the more entry level styles, for which I paid £39.80. 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc, grown on a loamy clay soil, seeing 18 months of a mix of new and slightly used oak.
Nose; On the nose, I get more of the Cabernet Sauvignon flavours; juicy blackcurrant and blackcurrant leaf, black cherry. Some notes of sweet spice from the oak - maybe liquorice and some cedar wood.
Palate;This wine has pronounced minerality, with luscious fruit from Merlot, a spicy feel from the Cabernet; giving a rich and well rounded wine, with an elegant and silky finish. Flavours of blackcurrant, black cherry, mint and some coffee notes linger on the palate too. Fine and well integrated tannins, which make it very easy to drink, and a medium acidity makes it easy to go back too. Although I enjoyed it on it's own, I could imagine it pairing perfectly with a spiced duck dish, a simple roast lamb with all the trimmings, or maybe steak tartare - Nothing too heavy say like steak or a stew as it would over power the delicate flavours of the wine. I enjoyed this wine without decanting (as I was on my own!) but I would recommend too, if you are enjoying it with a meal, or with more than 1 person! It defintely improved whilst further in.
Nothing overly complex, but a great wine which is perfectly balanced and beautifully smooth. I would highly recommend it and its one I will definitely be returning too. If your looking for a "Bordeaux style", I would definitely go for this wine, or one from this area - you do get a much more enjoyment for your money, and a lot more elegance. I think for this price, it's a higher quality and feels ready to drink, although will improve with further ageing too.
"Age is just a number. It's totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine" Joan Collins