|What did Blake Leonard serve on July 4th?
Most likely, her delicious new red wine, an Italian and French varietal blend known as a Super Tuscan.
Blake Leonard and Beatrice Landini (who lives in Tuscany and doesn’t celebrate American independence) introduced their first bottling, BLBL, a few weeks ago. The two partners, who first met at the age of 14, are now 24 and old enough to be in the wine business.
Both BLs come from a noteworthy food heritage. Blake, the marketer, is the granddaughter of the founder of Stew Leonard’s, a fine food empire in metropolitan New York. Beatrice, the winemaker, is the daughter of Alessandro and Nicoletta Landini, proprietors of Fattoria Viticcio, one of the finest winemakers in the Chianti region of Tuscany.
Chianti and the other notable Tuscan reds—Brunello and Vino Nobile di Monepulciano—are made with at least 85% of Sangiovese grape, which is usually blended with other local grapes.
Photo by Joshua Wong Photography.
|But step outside the region and blend in some of the great grapes of France, and you produce a style of wine known as a Super Tuscan, a name bestowed by wine writer Robert Parker in the 1970s at the dawn of this stylistic movement. Super Tuscans are “supercharged” with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and/or Merlot—Bordeaux varietals that are not indigenous to Italy, but are popular with wine connoisseurs worldwide. Sometimes Syrah, from the Rhone Valley, is used.
BLBL is a blend of 40% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 20% Syrah grapes. The wine is full-bodied with beautiful ripe fruit, and at $13.99 for a 750 ml bottle, it is the best bang for the buck we’ve had in a long time.
The wine is currently sold exclusively at Stew Leonard’s eight Connecticut, New Jersey and New York stores (and shippable to addresses in these states). Stew Leonard’s customers know a good deal when they see one: We expect the wine to fly off the shelves.
In this economy, when we can’t afford a $200.00 bottle of Sassicaia, our favorite Super Tuscan, we’re grateful that we live in one of the BLBL states.
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