Bibi Graetz Casamatta Bianco 2016
Bright and fruity with aromas of lemon zest and green apple. The Vermentino lends a clean, fresh acidity with structure; Moscato Bianco adds aromas and flowery notes; and Trebbiano balances and smooths out the wine giving way to a medium-bodied mouthfeel.
From a medieval castle, Castello di Vincigliata, acquired by his parents over 60 years ago, winemaker Bibi Graetz crafts his wines on a hillside overlooking the great city of Florence. Beginning initially with only a small, 5-acre vineyard on this hillside in Fiesole, in little under two decades, Bibi has become one of Italy's most ingenious winemakers adding "cult winemaker" in addition to "talented abstract artist" to his dossier.
Since the release of his first wines in 2000 and without any formal training, Bibi Graetz has managed to stir-up the Tuscan wine scene, and with the creation of Testamatta and Colore, has made his name eponymous with great Tuscan wines. Regularly scoring in the high 90’s with wine publications like Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, and James Suckling, coupled with his unique and artisanal winemaking approach, Bibi Graetz’s wines have garnered a loyal following among wine collectors and wine trade.
Sourcing grapes from parcels of old vines around Tuscany give the Bibi reds great depth and soul; while grapes from vines on the Isola del Giglio have provided proof that Tuscany can be known for beautiful white wines as well. This affinity for old vines allows for the concentrated yet elegant wines of Bibi Graetz making this portfolio a collectible from Tuscan producers. His passion for producing his flagship wines exclusively from traditional varieties of Sangiovese, Colorino, and Canaiolo for the reds and the indigenous varieties of Ansonica and Vermentino for his whites have resulted in very distinctive wines that consistently set his wines apart from those from the rest of Tuscany, and Italy.
One of the most iconic Italian regions for wine, scenery and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simple to complex and age-worthy, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano coming in second.
Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines have their own respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, scattered with vineyards.
Sangiovese at its simplest produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright and juicy red fruit, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity and ageability. Top-quality Sangiovese-based wines can be expressive of a range of characteristics such as sour cherry, balsamic, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise and tobacco. Brunello expresses well the particularities of vintage variations and is thus popular among collectors. Chianti is associated with tangy and food-friendly dry wines at various price points. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, with or without Sangiovese. These are common in Tuscany’s coastal regions like Bolgheri, Val di Cornia, Carmignano and the island of Elba.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.