I was going to wait to write the review for Cantina Del Grifone 2009 1967 but I really couldn’t! I’m too excited about this little gem. This wine is only available at Trader Joe’s as far as I know. If you don’t have a TJ’s close to you I’m truly sorry for this review because once you read it you might start packing the car for an impromptu road trip. Last time I went to TJ’s I was missing Italy something fierce, so I got a few Italian reds to drown my sorrows. This was by far and away the winner of the bunch.
The Cantina Del Grifone 2009 1967 is a “Super Tuscan”. Super Tuscan wines are a blended red wine comprising mostly of Sangiovese. The most common blends feature Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This blend differs a bit from the common grapes used by adding a splash of Syrah. The final blend is 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet, and 5% Syrah. This is an ITG wine but that doesn’t mean it’s low quality. This wine definitely saw oak (I don’t know if it was Slovenian) and it was produced in Tuscany. The vineyards used for the blend had a coastal influence according to the label. The Cantina Del Grifone 2009 1967 comes in at 12.5% alcohol. There were no issues with the bottle or the cork. We only lightly chilled this wine bringing it just under 58 degrees. I note this because the proper serving temperature is a bit lower between 50 and 55. I do find with Sangiovese based wines too much chilling makes them too smooth and lacking in aroma. You miss out on some of the brightness of the wine that you may see in a slightly higher temperature. Upon opening the bottle a very strong cherry aroma wafted up. I used a generic stemless glass for tasting and the wine was aerated using my trusty Vinturi. The color of the wine was quite a lovely deep red-violet.
The nose of the Cantina Del Grifone 2009 1967 was quite spectacular with red and black fruits exploding from the glass. Cherry was the predominate fruit aroma with more subtle undertones of blackberries, red currants, dried strawberry, and huckleberry. There was also espresso, baking spices, white pepper, violet, rose, and the hint of an oak box stuffed with vanilla scented tobacco. The taste is almost exactly the same as the nose with the fruits being the star and the spice, violet, and oak the most notable secondary flavors. The other flavors are there but just barely. With the beef based main course I served it with the wine’s spices came to the forefront as did the espresso with the fruit playing backup. With the chocolate covered almonds we had for dessert the wine became a total cherry bomb with a very heavy vanilla pipe tobacco note. The tannins stayed supple throughout the development of the wine. The acid was just enough to be palette clearing but not so much that it would spoil your enjoyment of the wine by itself. The finish is the perfect length and it’s very smooth with just whispers of the wines flavors lingering. The wine was very well balanced in every way and the flavors flow perfectly from one note the next with no harshness whatsoever.
Quite honestly this is the best red wine I’ve had since leaving Italy and my husband was also thrilled with the wine. It’s tough to find red wines we both agree on. He prefers the softer reds with well integrated tannins and I will drink just about any red but I do like a bit of tannin and acid to keep the wine from tasting flat and flabby. This is the perfect wine for both our tastes. On the standard Wine Spectator scale we give this wine a 92. I’ve seen it rated lower but I think that chilling and aeration make up the point difference. I’ve also heard this wine described as one dimensional. I wholly disagree unless it was over-chilled. It’s not as complex as some reds or as bold. It’s finesse, elegance, drink-ability, beautiful flavors and aromas certainly make up for what others might see as a short coming. I’ve saved the best part of this wine for last: It’s priced at $5.99! It easily drinks like it’s two to three times the price (I’ve had $50 bottles that were not this good!) making this wine an absolutely amazing value that’s excellent for any occasion!
Have you tried the Cantina Del Grifone 2009 1967? Have a favorite red you’d like us to review? Let us know in the comments below!