Above: Acclaimed Italian winemaker Alessandro Bindocci, pouring his wines at an tasting in New York City earlier this year.
Tuscany’s Brunello di Montalcino is one of the world’s most celebrated wines. From Rome to New York, from San Francisco to Hong Kong, it is one of the most collected and coveted wines of all time.
But wine lovers cannot live by Brunello di Montalcino alone. A powerful wine, intended for long-term aging, Brunello is great for pairing with classic hearty Tuscan dishes like Florentine steak and wild boar sauce over pasta. But it’s not the type of wine you open every day.
That’s why thirty-something grape grower and winemaker Alessandro Bindocci, a fourth-generation producer of Brunello who works for one of the area’s most famous wineries (Tenuta Il Poggione) decided to make the Mazzoni line of food-friendly, ready-to-drink whites and reds.
The first was a classic “Super Tuscan” blend of Sangiovese — the quintessential Italian red grape — and Merlot. Inspired by the great Merlot of Napa Valley, California, this rich, fruit-driven wine is an affordable and approachable red that over-delivers when it comes to price and value. The Merlot gives the wine its richness, while the Sangiovese gives it the vibrancy that make Tuscan red wines stand apart from the crowd.
Next came the Mazzoni 100% Barbera, from the northern region of Piedmont. Barbera is known for its freshness and its bright fruit flavors, one of the Italians’ favorite wines to open at the dinner table. But winemaker Alessandro was disappointed to see so many Barberas that had been aged in oak barrels that overpowered the wine’s flavor that he decided to make his own, which he ages in stainless-steel, thus preserving the natural character of this versatile grape.
The success of the first two led the young winemaker to try his hand at white wines. Most people think of Tuscany as a producer of “big” red wines. But Alessandro looked west to the Tuscan coastline, where the gentle rolling hills and sea breeze create the ideal conditions for crisp, bright white wines.
His Vermentino-Chardonnay blend combines the classic white grape of the Tuscan riviera, Vermentino, with the international Chardonnay, which gives the wine some added structure. It was inspired by the white wines that you find in Alessandro’s favorite seaside restaurants, where Tuscany’s bountiful seafood calls for light, refreshing whites.
The quartet of Mazzoni wines is rounded out by Alessandro’s Pinot Grigio, a wine that many top wine writers have called a “Super Tuscan White.” It’s richer then the lighter-style Pinot Grigio that comes from northern Italy. Alessandro attributes its structure and complexity to the rich soils of Tuscany, where so many of Italy’s most famous wines are made.