Italian wines, like the country and its people, are all about individuality; even two villages only 15km apart can have vastly different cultural practices and dialects.
Italy produces wines that range from continental-climate-influenced crisp whites to full-bodied, sultry reds from the south. Tuscany best embodies this diversity and modern-day dynamism: The wine region is famous for its reliable, dark-cherry-filled medium-bodied red wines made from local Sangiovese grapes, which are now competing with suave, modern renditions that may not use Sangiovese at all – modern producers are favouring cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah.
Sassicaia paved the way for such bold, anti-establishment superstars as early as the 1970s. Then, in the early 1990s, Masseto and Ornellaia became the newest wave of modernists. What attracted many to these Super Tuscan wines, as they are known, is their intense flavours that are reminiscent of Bordeaux, yet riper, firmer and more generous.
Singapore Airlines’ wine programme has a balanced selection of traditional and modern styles, with a focus on quality.
Currently, you can find the 2013 Marchesi de Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni (main photo; left) on many Business Class routes. This blend of cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese and other Bordeaux varieties is a great example of a polished, balanced, modern Tuscan red. A contemporary Tuscan red being poured in First Class is the 2008 Fattoria Nittardi Nectar Dei Maremma, made from Bordeaux varieties with a touch of syrah for added spice.
There are classics too. Try the earthy, savoury 2011 Poliziano Asinone Vino Nobile di Montepulciano in Business Class, and the delicious 2013 Marchesi de Frescobaldi Castello di Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva (main photo; right) in First Class.
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.