Supremus Toscana IGT

Some (relative) newcomers on the wine scene have a great past. Take Supremus. Launched in 2009, it was actually over thirty years in the making. Its creators, Neil and Maria Empson, set up Neil Empson Selections in 1972 and later founded several of their own brands from various Italian regions. Tuscany had always been a favorite, as was working with their winemaker of choice and close personal friend, Franco Bernabei, the maestro of Tuscan reds – AKA “Mr. Sangiovese”. The combined passion and experience of Empson and Bernabei has brought splendid fruit in this “Supremus Tuscan” that epitomizes the harmony of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The grapes hail from a few of the region’s finest vineyard sites in the areas of Maremma, Colline Pisane, Colli Fiorentini and Chianti Classico. Vines are over 25 years old, yielding small, highly concentrated crops.

TYPE
Red
GRAPES
75% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
AGE OF VINES
Best after 4-5 years, very long-living
TOTAL PRODUCTION
1,200,000 bottles a year
WINEMAKER
Franco Bernabei with Neil Empson
VINEYARD CHARACTERISTICS
From 50 of Tuscany’s best vineyards in Maremma and in Colline Pisane and Colli Fiorentini, as well as a few areas in Chianti. Soil types vary between compact, very fine-textured limestone at 1,300-1,500 feet above sea level; clayey/calcareous, rocky galestro (marl), at altitudes around 1,300 feet; and clayey/siliceous/calcareous soil, at 820-990 feet.
VINIFICATION AND AGING
Coastal grapes guarantee structure, with plenty of sun and early ripening, while inland, hillside grapes enjoy important day/night temperature swings, lending fruitiness and acidity. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at 25 °C (77 °F), followed by maceration on skins for 15-20 days and malolactic fermentation. The wine is then ages one year in oak (80% Slavonian barrels, 20% barrique). At least 10-20% of the French barrique is new, while the rest is second use. Slavonian barrels are 5-6 years old. In the words of enologist Franco Bernabei, “Larger barrels are good for slow aging and maintaining fruit, finesse and elegance. Barrique is good for complexity and structure, as well as a light, toasted and vanilla nuance which, blended into the mass of barrel-aged wine, creates a floral fusion integrated by a subtle spicy tone, without compromising the floral character of Sangiovese.” Bottle aged for one year.
TASTING NOTES
A Tuscan classic! Deep ruby red with garnet reflections, it boasts elegant aromas of leather, black cherry, licorice and plum. The palate is medium to full-bodied with flavors of ripe red fruit, goût de terroir, and subtle notes of vanilla and violet; silky texture with soft tannins, a firm backbone, the perfect integration between acidity and fruit, and a pleasant finish.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS
Best at 16-18 °C (60.8-64.4 °F); Wonderful with pasta, risotto, structured dishes, meat and cheese; extremely versatile and food-friendly.
ANALYSIS DATA
Alcohol cont. 13% by volume; dry extract: 29.5 g/l; total acidity: 5.80 g/l; residual sugar: 2.85 g/l; pH: 3.36
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