The Francesco Toscana IGT Rosso 2015 is an ALDI $8.99 import exclusive. The ALDI website from Germany says this is a blend of Bordeaux grapes with a little Syrah added in to smooth things out. A Toscana IGT Rosso indicates that this is a Red (Rosso) wine from the whole of Tuscany (Italy) and not an individual sub-growing region and IGT shows that the grapes have the characteristics of Tuscany, but wasn’t produced to the DOC or DOCG rules and regulations. The IGT designation (now changed to IGP) came about when wineries in Tuscany choose to add French grape varietals (usually Merlot or Cabernet or Syrah) to their traditional Sangiovese. The DOC/DOCG rules in place did not permit this blend and the resulting bottles were forced to be categorized as Table Wine, the lowest Italian wine class. The problem was that those unapproved blends took off in popularity (they were called Super Tuscan) and they were selling all they could produce. This put the Italian wine authorities in a bad position, how can you promote DOCG/DOC wines as the top of Italian wine when a Table Wine was out selling everyone? So, they split the difference and created the IGT category. Now, anytime an Italian winemaker wants to make a wine that doesn’t follow the rules, which happens quite often in the value-priced wine range, they just get it approved as a IGT/IGP and its all good. The Francesco Rosso is a 2015 vintage which shows this Red blend has a good deal of age, both oak barrel? and bottle for an $8.99 Tuscan wine. The alcohol content is 14%.
The color is a dark, black cherry red, see-thru, but just barely. The nose is blackberries, vanilla, a little cherry, a little spice and roses, off all things. This is a Red that is smooth upfront and then the structure kicks in, which lets you know this is an Italian wine. It tastes of black cherry and sweet blueberry, dusty chocolate powder, black pepper, and plum. The mid-palate offers raspberry mixed with tart cranberry, some not sweet candy spices, and a slap of vanilla. The tannins make their presence known, they are sweet and don’t bite, but you can feel them. The acidity is nicely balanced, this wine drinks well and it is a food wine, of course its Italian. The finish is soft and subtle, but does linger.
The Francesco Toscana IGT Rosso 2015 is a solid 9 buck wine, smooth and flavorful, with enough structure to hold it together. In Europe, ALDI is THE bang-for-the-buck wine destination, it doesn’t have that reputation in the US, the wine section is too small and haphazardly put together. But, don’t sleep on their European wine selections (actually I have found some pretty decent Paso Robles and Sonoma wines at ALDI,too), they have long-term relationships with top-notch wineries thru-out Europe and are well-known for offering outstanding wine on the cheap. That this Tuscan wine with some age to it is selling for $8.99 and is very enjoyable is not unexpected, ALDI’s European wine reputation is well-earned. Sip it on a Netflix night or pour a glass with some pasta, this is a well-priced bottle that delivers.