Wine blending is an art that reaches a high level in the 2005, Brancaia, Tre.
Earlier this year, I tasted with Martin Kronenberg the range of wines made by his wife, Barbara Kronenberg-Widmer, from Widmer’s family estates in Tuscany.
We began at the top of the pyramid: Brancaia’s Il Blu, created from the family’s vineyards in the prestigious Chianti Classico villages of Castellina and Radda; next came Ilatraia, from their new property in Maremma; followed by Tre.
Il Blu has developed a following that Ilatraia hopes to cultivate. Both are made in that new world style of darkly-colored, new French oak-accented, ripe fruit flavor that is all too common nowadays. Depending on your taste, you can either thank or blame certain wine critics and California winemakers for this style.
Tre, however, is a different story. The 2005 Brancaia, Tre is named for its numerical origins. It’s made from a blend of three grapes: sangiovese, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. They come from the family’s three estates: Brancaia, Poppi and Maremma. And it’s the family’s third wine.
Winemaker Barbara Kronenberg-Widmer blends 80-percent sangiovese with 10-percent each of the other two grapes. Aging the wine in large barrels for a year yields a bright cherry-colored wine with a pronounced fragrance and taste of blackberries and cherries. Medium-bodied, the 2005, Brancaia, Tre’s fruit contains soft tannins and a gentle acidity that gives a suppleness on the palate.
It is this combination of judicious barrel aging, expert blending, and a balance of fruit, tannins, and acidity that makes Tre a delightful wine.
During our luncheon at Manhattan’s La Pizza Fresca Restaurant, I returned to the 2005, Brancaia, Tre with my first course of polenta with porcini mushrooms, followed by a plate of orecchiette with sausage and broccoli. Tre never overwhelmed the food and kept my palate fresh for each flavor.
Spring is here and the need for medium-bodied red wines takes on greater importance as our menus begin to shed the heavier foods of winter like lamb shanks and stews.
Try the 2005, Brancaia, Tre with the season’s shad or its roe; your first outdoor grilled pork chop; or barbequed spare ribs. That’s another Tre.
The 2005 Brancaia, Tre retails for approximately $20.