2004 Le Tre Stelle Ciliegiolo Rosso Toscana IGT
Mission Codename: In Search of ‘SILLY JELL-O’
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Seek out the a wine from the elusive Ciliegiolo varietal.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Az. Agr. Le Tre Stelle
Wine Subject: 2004 Ciliegiolo Rosso Toscana IGT
Winemakers: The Three Stelle Women
Search for Ciliegiolo in the Sootheby’s Wine Encyclopedia and you wont find it. Do a search for the Ciliegiolo on Google and you’ll find a single paragraph on Wikipedia. Try to find a wine from 100% Ciliegiolo and you might only find this one. Extremely rare, the Ciliegiolo varietal is primarily used as a lesser blending grape with Sangiovese in a few Super Tuscans. It is genetically related to Sangiovese. Hailing from the town of San Gimignano in the heart of Tuscany, this particular wine is a cult Super Tuscan and when you taste it you’ll know why. By the way, 2004 was a exceptional year, rated 94 Points for the vintage with a ‘drink/hold’ recommendation.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet ruby in color, pinkish hued edges, surprisingly clear (not inky like many of its Super Tuscan friends) with legs that streak down the side of the glass when swirled.
Smell – Profound and youthful, with aromas of tart black cherry against a backdrop of cocoa, oak, spicy black pepper and cinnamon.
Feel – Full-bodied, warm and intense and dry with firm tannins, a unique minerality that enhances the dryness and tannins with bright acidity.
Taste – Bold and uniquely tangy and concentrated black fruit, with that distinct Italian Super Tuscan wine zest that we love so much. Additional flavors of black pepper, cocoa, cedar box and tobacco are layered over a subtle earthiness that makes this wine well rounded.
Finish – Long, lingering and clean with flavors of its bold and tangy fruit and other flavor components with good acidity.
Conclusion – There is nothing silly about this 100% Ciliegiolo. While this wine is relatively young, tangy and zesty it is surprisingly well integrated with tons of layered flavors. This is a fun wine to drink and will complement a wide array of food. And like the women that make this wine, it is firm, bold and pulls no punches. Drink it now for a wine that explodes in your mouth with flavor or cellar it for a few years. Definitely let this wine open for an hour or decant it prior to enjoying it – and enjoy it you will!
After losing Agent Baco Noir’s trail and reacquiring it in the Marche region a few weeks back a new mystery emerged. Baco, in the way only she can, had lead us on a wild goose chase from winery to winery, but given the results, the wines that we were tasting along the way, nobody really minded.
Then everything got turned upside down.
Op Center had received a coded message saying ’SEEK THE SILLY JELL-O’. When Agent Red mentioned this to me, I was immediately hit with a strange feeling. SILLY JELL-O had resonated in a strange way. Then I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Just days before, at Coquinarius (a great wine bar at the Piazza del Duomo) in Florence I was enjoying a glass of Reserve Chianti with Agent Stefy from another local winery that we will soon feature and Agent and Pilot No Bueno. I remember distinctly overhearing someone order a SILLY JELL-O (pronounced with a heavy Italian accent of course). Beyond the strangeness of the request, I didn’t think anything of it at the time. Now I knew there was a connection.
Going back the the Piazza del Duomo to do some recon I was able to pick up the trail. It lead just southwest of town to the village of San Gimignano. We settled in and began to scope out some of the local wine scene. Agent No Bueno, in her typical no B S manner, located a group of similarly bold women and began asking them questions about SILLY JELL-O. He paid not attention to discretion or keeping cover. No matter, at least I had some veil of plausible deniability.
It was only after meeting Donatella Rubicini that the mystery was uncovered.
’Che è questa JELL-O che lei cerca?’, she asked
’Abbiamo ricevuto un messaggio, ha detto la scoperta la JELL-O’, I responded
’Oh, lei il Ciliegiolo vino medio!’, she laughed, ’lasciarmi la mostra, seguirmi’
From there we headed to the farm of Le Tre Stelle where they presented us with a bottle of 2004 Ciliegiolo Rosso Toscana IGT.
Donatella’s sister Antonella and mother Maria came out and explained that Ciliegiolo is a very rare grape, in fact one of the rarest. It is bold and robust, and it makes a spectacularly delicious Super Tuscan.
SILLY JELL-O or CILIEGIOLO, I think I prefer the later.
This wine, however, is no mystery. It is hands down one of the more unique and fun wine drinking experiences I have had in a long time.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Le Tre Stelle farm can be seen in this satellite photo.