I came across an incredible value in my office in Tuscany today. Tasting a range of wines from $10 to $25 with Neil and Maria Empson of Empson & Co., I found some excellent wines. But what was the most impressive for the money was the Monte Antico 2006. Its suggested retail is $11, and it could sell for less. And it¹s in the market now.
Granted, I have not tasted it blind yet. But it¹s in the very good to outstanding range. The wine is 85 percent Sangiovese, 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 5 percent Merlot. It is made from 12- to 15-year-old vines, mostly from Pisa, Maremma and Chianti Classico areas.
Of course, the quality of the 2006 vintage in Tuscany shined through on this wine. This is a superb Sangiovese year. The aromatic quality of Sangiovese is mind-blowing for most wines from Tuscany. The 2006 Monte Antico has beautiful plums, berries and fresh acidity. Fantastico! And for $11!
Anyway, the Monte Antico is bottled now in a screw cap instead of a cork. But they brought both a corked bottle and a screw-capped one. To make a long story short, the screw cap was so much better than the corked one. It is richer, more fruity, and fresher than the bottle with the cork. It even was darker in color. Granted, the Monte Antico is a red to drink young and fresh, in other words, on release. So it makes sense to have a screw cap. But it's another example of when a screw cap works better than a cork. This is just a heads-up for a value—I still have to taste the wine blind in the office in a few months—but you should know!