I feel like I was taken in, but I was. I just bought a case of Insoglio del Chingale by Tenuta di Biserno.
Biserno is the result of a collaboration — ready — among Piero and Ludovico Antinori, Umberto Mannoni, Helena Lingberg, Ranieri Orsini, Michel Rolland and architect Gae Aulenti.
The wine follows the path of the Super-Tuscans, which started in the ’70s with famous Sassicaia by Tenuta San Guido.
The wines were called Super Tuscans because they did not follow the dictates of the DOC and used Bordeaux varietals instead of sangiovese. The result was the expansion in 1992 of the Italian wine laws to include IGT, or Indicazione Geografica Tipica, which is supposed to ensure quality while allowing grapes, blends and methods not included in the traditional designations.
The collaborators include the Mondovino-made infamous Michel Rolland, whom many credit with the increased parkerization of wine, and the Antinoris who were ahead of the game with their Tiganello, a super Tuscan from Bolgheri. Biserno also makes wine from vineyards in Bolgheri.
This wine is made from cabernet franc, merlot and syrah. I tasted it in New York at a trade tasting in the beginning of May. And given the provenance and the realization that this wine is made for the American market, I had to admit, after tasting it, that I could sell this wine.
There are more than a few people who come in the restaurant straight from their boats with black American Express cards who look at the wine list and say, “Don’t you have any Sassicaia or Opus One?” At this point I have to give up and accept these customers did not come to learn something new about wine, they want something powerful, extracted and familiar.
The Biserno wine, however, is new so at least I get to introduce them to something they’ve never had before. How many people have had a wine from Bibbona?
My notes from May said the important thing “delicious” but also that it’s ruby, almost opaque with a musty rich nose and lots of lean cabernet franc. Whatever that means.
The other two wines Biserno showed at the tasting were the Il Pino (cab franc, cab, merlot and petit verdot) and the Cornonato (cab, cab franc, merlot, petit verdot).
I noticed the petit verdot in the nose of the Il Pino and found the Cornato to be a “muscular Bordeaux for the the American market.”
Chingale is Italian for the wild boar that are voracious eaters of grapes. Nearly all vineyard owners have a mounted head on one on their walls, and delight in eating sausages made from its gamey meat.
The Isoglia is the least expensive and the Coronato would retail for around $75.
We’ll see what moves this weekend. The summer starts now.