Verruzzo de Monteverro 2013, Tuscany
Cost: $19-21
I like to drink wine with meals but sometimes you just feel like having a glass of wine while relaxing or doing a chore.
I brought along the Monteverro Verruzzo when my friend Clint Bryant asked me to help him cook a pig. Clint is one of my favorite human beings and grilling is something I love to do so this was a perfect combination.
The wine made it even better. The wine was especially appropriate when you consider the meaning of Verruzzo: small wild boar.
In the glass the wine is a deep cherry color, with some purple on the edges, leading to fresh fruit flavors, especially cherry and cassis. The taste was rich and mouth-filling. It wasn’t a sweet taste, exactly, but the ripe fruit flavor filled up my mouth with no harsh edges. Everything was in harmony.
The wine is a Bordeaux blend made in Tuscany, so this would be a super Tuscan. To get the highest government ranking in Tuscany the wine has to be predominantly sangiovese grapes. But some rebels thought Bordeaux grapes would do well in Tuscany, so they tried making some and the results were spectacular.
Even though the wine is rated IGT, a lower classification, super Tuscans have become very popular, and some have become quite pricey. Luckily, for us wine drinkers the folks at Monteverro have kept prices down. The Verruzzo sells for only about $20.
This blend is 40% merlot, 25% cabernet franc, 25% cabernet sauvignon and 10% sangiovese. The result really is spectacular. It is a wine I could drink all afternoon.
I like the idea of blending in some sangiovese, reflecting the wine tradition of the region. The dynamic character of the most important grape in Italy is combined with power and structure that cabernet sauvignon brings. Cab franc adds aromatics and merlot softens everything. This is an elegant, well-rounded wine.
The grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and then the wine goes into French oak barrels for 12 months.
Clint checks the pig as it nears completion.
The occasion: I shared this wine with my friend Clint as he cooked a whole pig on his grill. It was a leisurely afternoon with Clint and another friend Roger.
One of the nice things about cooking a whole pig is most of the work is done early and late. In between it is mostly relaxation. I got there a little late so Clint had the hard work taken care of when he and another person put the 75-pound pig on the grill.
After that we just fed coals to keep the temperature up to about 225 degrees.
Usually when you cook a pig you have to take little bites to make sure it’s cooking properly. Or a little piece will jump out so you can rescue it from fire. That’s a good time to drink wine.
Clint starts the pig with the ribside down, then after cooking a few hours flips it over. When Clint is cooking, he’s the maestro and whoever happens to be around become the apprentices.
On this day the apprentices were me and Roger, another great guy I’ve met while cooking with Clint.
So when it came time to flip the pig over, Roger and I carefully put two steel rods through the length of the pig and, picking it up by the rods, turned over the pig so the skin side was down for the rest of the cooking.
Clint then cut out the ribs and let his helpers chew on those for a while. That’s when we had to have some wine.
The Monteverro Verruzzo was perfect with the pork. The lively fruit flavors were a good balance for the savory pork. It was an incredible pairing.
The pig has been on the grill about three hours.
The winery: Georg Weber was born in Germany and studied business and management at schools throughout Europe. Along the way he developed a taste for good wine.
After graduation he thought instead of just enjoying great wine he could be creating it. Building on his love, knowledge and passion for wine he visited the best terroirs on the planet to find the perfect location.
He picked the Maremma in Tuscany at the foot of the picturesque village of Capalbio. In 2003 he started putting together his estate, which now has 150 acres at elevations of 100-200 feet above sea level.
The steep slopes and immediate proximity of the sea offer a microclimate that makes for very special wines. The brisk wind, cool nights and sun-soaked days create optimum climatic conditions for growth. The unique composition of the soil – red clay mixed with eroded stones – makes the area in which the vines grow one of the most mineral-rich in the world. All of that lends complexity and character to the wines.
Georg married Julia in 2011 and together they run the winery, with an international team.
The first vintage was harvested in 2008 and the quality of the wine has continued to grow since then.

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