New Super Tuscans: Meet “the Guv’nor”

Something completely new here, folks. ‘Governo’ is a winemaking technique going back to 14th century Tuscany whereby a proportion of the harvest is held back, partially dried and then added to the already fermenting first portion of the harvest. It’s a bit like how they make Amarone and Ripasso, only completely unique with the second fermentation. As well as adding depth, colour and alcohol, this re-fermentation process also helps stabilise the wine as well as reducing astringency in grapes like Sangiovese.

The Bernardeschi Governo is a Super Tuscan blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Merlot from father and son Andrea and Marco Valiani. Manually harvested in late September, a proportion of the grapes is dried for 60 days before being added to the already fermented main batch. The Sangiovese and Merlot are vinified separately, with the final blend aged for three months in French oak barrels.

The result of this patient, labour-intensive approach is a densely coloured and flavoured wine that’s very approachable when young. Full, rich and creamy with lashings of sweet blackcurrant, black plum and dark cherry, with subtle wafts of garrigue, wild herbs and vanilla, the palate is smooth and long with sweet, melt-in-the-mouth tannins.

Andrea Valiani is a wine industry veteran of more than 40 years but only started his latest venture, with his son Marco, in 2016. The family start-up currently produces only three wines from 10 hectares of vineyards but has already established distribution in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Hong Kong, Canada and now (yay!) Ireland.

The plan over the next few years for Andrea and Marco is to add more vineyard holdings, focusing on indigenous varietals and winemaking techniques and styles traditional to Tuscany, like the Governo all’uso Toscana.

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