Got tomatoes? You’ll need a bottle of this.

We spent the last two weeks in “la France Profonde” (deep France), retracing our family’s visit here 20 years ago. Particularly here in the countryside, the French eat more seasonally than we do back home, and we cooked according to what we found in the market. Among many highlights – peaches, fresh chèvre, figs, squash, and more – were the tomatoes.

Perfectly in-season tomatoes are a reminder of why the food is in fact a fruit. We ate most raw, but managed to enjoy a few in a pasta sauce; and though it may seem heresy given our location, the bottle best matched with the pasta was our sample of Labirinto sent from Poggerino in Chianti.

The 2017 we sampled will arrive during the winter, but the 2016 is delicious, and, more importantly, in stock in Newton.

Poggerino’s Labirinto would qualify to be labeled Chianti Classico, but years ago the winemaker decided to bottle wine from the younger vines under a separate label. The 2016 Labirinto offers many of the same pleasures as Poggerino’s excellent Chianti Classico, but with less tannin and for a couple fewer bucks.

In the nose it shows violets, cherries, cassis and some earth. The mouth is intense and energetic — the tannins are young but juicy, and the mouthfeel is bold and refreshing. Look for sour cherry jam and minerals.

If there are any tomato sauces in your summer/fall plans, a bottle of Poggerino will be about as essential as Parmesan. (Well, almost.)


Poggerino Labirinto 2016

bottle price: $19


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