With remarkable intensity and depth, Camartina 2018 is testimony to the harmonious vintage.
Camartina is Querciabella’s flagship wine since its first vintage in 1981. Part of the original Super Tuscans, it has earned its stripes as one of the more elegant, noteworthy wines in this category with an assertive, rather than aggressive, personality.
A bit of background
The Super Tuscans movement originated decades ago with a group of ambitious producers, who ought to make modern styles and experiment outside the restrictions of the appellation system. Querciabella was one of this handful of visionary winemakers eager to show that exceptional wines could also be produced in this corner of Tuscany by exalting the Sangiovese and blending it with international stars like Merlot and Cabernet. These now legendary wines – of which Camartina is a fine and early example – were once labelled as simple table wines, Vino da Tavola, to protest against the antiquated Chianti Classico production rules that at the time seemed to favour quantity over quality.
The rise of Super Tuscans in Chianti Classico
The rise of Super Tuscans was so unstoppable that the Consorzio Chianti Classico reviewed its own production rules twice to win back the pack of successful dissidents. First, elevating these ‘Vini da Tavola’ to the status of appellation wines under the denomination Toscana IGT; then by allowing Chianti Classico DOCG wines to be made from Sangiovese alone. Many see the introduction of the “Chianti Classico Gran Selezione” category in 2013 as a further attempt made in this direction.
The response from the producers couldn’t be more diverse, with some of the original forefathers reuniting under the Chianti Classico umbrella and others determinedly going their own way. Whatever stance one takes here, it’s undeniable that Super Tuscans are still widely considered the best expressions of this territory.
Labelled by many as “classic”, 2018 is for sure one of the most harmonious vintages of the last decade due to regular weather patterns and a prolonged ripening season that lasted well into perfect Autumn days. From the onset of budburst, the growth season proceeded smoothly until picking. The near-perfect conditions at harvest and our great timing and precision in picking brought to the cellar grapes of exceptional quality.
Dark-fleshed fruit, leather, spice, menthol and grilled herbs emerge with some coaxing. The Cabernet is quite evident in both the flavor profile and overall structure, which likely explains the wine’s general feel today.
94+/100 —Antonio Galloni
The Making of
Camartina has been about 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese for nearly two decades now. Originally it was the Sangiovese leading the blend, but over the years, the proportions switched as Cabernet has grown more domesticated to Ruffoli’s arid sandstone slopes. A small percentage of Merlot resisted in the blend until the 2000 vintage.
At Querciabella, the art of blending lies in the profound understanding of each grape’s unique character coupled with small-batch micro-vinification, and Camartina is no exception. The two grapes, coming from some of our best vineyards close to the winery, are treated separately from the picking to the blending. With gentle but precise fermentation management in French oak fermenters, we allow for the harmonious integration of tannins and textural development. It’s only after 18 months of maturation in French oak barrels, up to 20% new, that the best lots get picked for Camartina’s final composition.
Dark, succulent fruit stand out in a finely detailed bouquet where black cherries, plums, currant and myrtle merge with delicate floral notes and sensations of warm spices, herbs and mint.
The Cabernet Sauvignon, which reached perfect maturation in 2018, slowly reveals its savoury quality and leads both the flavour profile and sumptuous structure. On the palate, Camartina 2018 is full-bodied and supple, with firm tannins and tangy acidity in perfect balance with the fruit concentration. Its complexity and persistence craft a satisfying textural finish.
Pairing Camartina 2018
Camartina invites you to pay attention to all the layers it offers while making you aware of its superb personality. While poised and structured, it demands a dish with substantial weight. Mushrooms are an ideal canvas for many dishes that can marry Camartina’s savouriness, but there’s a variety of flavours, spices and textures you can play around with. Try Camartina and vegan cassoulet filled with wild mushrooms, fresh herbs, white beans, and veggie sausages for a hearty plant-based pairing or a King trumpet mushroom steak for a more Classic taste.