“Because we are Italian, people have always asked us for an Italian-inspired wine but we couldn’t get decent grapes until now,” says Giorgio Dalla Cia of his new flagship red which is styled along Super Tuscan lines being roughly two-thirds of “French” (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot from Stellenbosch) plus one-third “Italian” (Sangiovese from Wellington).
The maiden release 2011 is set to sell for an ambitious R790 a bottle. “We’ve done a lot of homework. We put it up against the 16 most expensive wines in the country and pegged it between Waterford The Jem and La Motte Hanneli R,” says George Dalla Cia, son of Girogio and head of marketing for the family wine and spirit company .
The name Teano refers to the town north of Naples where famous general Garibaldi met with King Victor Emanuel II in 1860 signalling the unification of Italy, this wine representing the meeting of Bordeaux and Tuscany in South Africa.
As a wine, this is very much according to the Dalla Cia aesthetic, which is to say classic rather than modern. There’s red and black fruit, some dried herbs and earthiness plus subtle and entirely attractive oak spice. Good freshness while the tannins are fine and nicely grippy – the wine has handled 24 months maturation in 100% new French oak remarkably well.
In fact, it is particularly medium bodied (14.5% alcohol by volume notwithstanding) and for a moment I found myself wondering if I didn’t want just a little more grunt given the price. Ultimately, however, I decided that a big-ticket wine that champions finesse over weight and power has to be a good thing.