This wine, this, wonderful, amazingly seductive wine, is on my list of the top... no, no... it is the top story of all time. If you ever have the opportunity to come across a bottle of Bibi Graetz's Soffocone (or any other of his fantastic labels) buy it and buy some for your friends. I was first introduced to this label by my cousin, Jeff, the Wine Specialist for one of our distributors, Wirtz Beverage. He was representing his company the night of our Wine at Wholesale Tasting at the club and told me the remarkable story of Bibi Graetz and his line up of, what he called "the bomb" wines. Mr. Graetz is an artist, and pours the soul of his art into his bottles, the flagship being Testamatta. The labels are very bright, colorful, and in some cases, risqué.
Fast forward a week later, Bibi Graetz's team is in town on a sales blitz for promotion of his wines. I get a phone call from my Sales Manger, Casey (I love her by the way), saying I need to meet this guy from Testamatta. Long story short (too late), I meet Michele from Testamatta, and he begins to tell me about the wines he represents. And in all seriousness, these wines have amazing flavor profiles, and I truly think Soffocone is my favorite.
The flagship, Testamatta, means "hothead" or "crazy head." The basic tier wines, Casamatta Bianco & Rosso, mean "crazy house." Grille di Testamatta, "Hothead's Whims," or "someone with ideas." Cicala del Giglio, "cicada of Giglio Island," and cicada in slang, a "pretty girl." Bugia: "bullsh*t." And of course, Soffocone, of which the town where the vineyard is located, Vincigliata, overlooks the city of Florence, and is known to be where young lovers go to... um... well, be... young lovers... you get the idea. Let's just say everyone leaves Vincigliata satisfied -- or so you would hope. :) And Soffocone... as Michele so eloquently put it, in his awesome Italian accent, "we Italians, in general, serve Vino di Tabla, wine you serve on top of the table; Soffocone is a wine you can serve... under the table." It's a good ol' fashion, dirty Italian word for this carnal act best suited for carpeted floors. Really, it's a great bottle of wine to have after a long day's hard work. ... A bottle to enjoy when life has you down. ... Celebrating a new promotion? ... Celebrating anything at all? ... I can't think of a better birthday present. :)
And the label... again, Bibi Graetz is a great artist and designs all of his labels. The label representing the "under the table" bottle was just a little too risqué... just so that it became illegal to import to the States. Damn US wine label imagery laws... damn them all. I however, have a print of the European label given to me from my sales rep that I have framed. I know... it's a sick obsession, and Erica thought it was a waste of money, but if you only knew how long I rolled on the floor laughing in my bar while listening to Michele explain that "sex is not taboo like it is in America... we are comfortable showing off the 'love' for our wines," you would understand. I just need to have the print signed the next time Bibi is in town. Do you notice anything missing from the US label? In order to allow the wine into the US, the label had to be... altered... slightly.
|I think I'll hang it next to our wedding photo|
|Up close with the Original Label|
|US Label of an empty bottle... yes, it was luscious|
Now that I've gone through all of this bugia that quite possibly only I think is entertaining, on with the tasting notes. This vintage is 90% Sangiovese, 7% Colorino, and 3% Canaiolo. The nose is amazing... I love Sangiovese aromas, and the Soffocone 2007 does not disappoint. There is an excellent representation of plum, earth, sweet spice, coffee, and leather. With more air contact, a slight vanilla scent is released with more leather. The palate is full, sumptuous, and with hints of vanilla, you can amass the rich black cherry flavors with refined tannins and a wonderful finish that is worthy of the 92 point rating from Wine Spectator. Congratulations on the score, Testamatta! Soffocone can be found online (no, not the websites you're thinking of...) for about $35-45 through online retailers, and can be found in restaurants for, I imagine, somewhere in the vicinity of $60-75, and it is SO worth it. This wine is deserving of many spaces on your shelves for the beautiful texture and flavor of the wine, and for the awesome story that uses the best sales tool in the world: sex. Please enjoy!!