The expression of a destination once visited comes alive with a sniff and sip. For me, a trip to Tuscany was revisited when I opened a bottle of 90+ Rosso Toscana Sangiovese Merlot, Lot 57, 2012.
A bottle of 90+ brings about mixed emotions to those in the wine industry. While we like to attain bottles of premium wines otherwise affordable only to the upper class, 90+ offers the opportunity to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak.
If you aren’t sure what 90+ labels are about, here’s what I found out through the grapevine: When 90-plus rated wines don’t sell out with a private label, there is opportunity to sell unlabeled bottles to consumers who can’t pay a lot for those premium wines, but want to sip them nonetheless. Slap on a 90+ label, document the grapes (in this case, Sangiovese and Merlot), the wine region (Rosso Toscana), country (Italy) and the year (2012). The most important factor beyond the grapes and region is the lot number (Lot 57) so that if you enjoy the wine, you can get another bottle from that same lot. If you get a different lot, it will be a different wine from another winemaker, but in the same region.
Overage is put to good use via 90+, and consumers will never be able to know the winery or winemaker behind the bottle, but you will know a good wine when you taste it, and this Rosso Toscana Lot 57 is quintessential Tuscan wine grown from perhaps the greatest wine region in Italy…Chianti and its super Tuscan blends.
Central Italy’s history of wine dates back to the 8th century, B.C., with the Etruscan settlements. This is one situation where it’s a good thing that history repeats itself. I love Rosso Toscana because it is not as robust as a cabernet sauvignon, so drinkable alone. But you will crave Italian food once you have a taste.
Lot 57 Ross Toscana Reserve 2012 sells for approximately $15 a bottle…not much compared to what the true label might sell for, given the grapes hail from the home of Sangiovese.