You'd think winemakers would have
Apparently not in Tuscany this summer, where drought made acorns and truffles scarce and put the foraging tuskers on serious hunger alert.
The temperatures approached 38 C and electric fences were no obstacle to the hungry porkers: 70% of the grape harvest became nibbles. The good news is what's left made a great, if small 2018 vintage.
All this came to my ears as I was enjoying 2013 Villa Le Torri, just 1,200 bottles made from my friend Elvio Del Sorbo's vines beside his villa in Tuscany, a Chianti farmhouse that dates back to the 1300s.
Not just any vines, you understand, but delightful Cabernet Franc, underrated parent of the lordly Cabernet Sauvignon.
You can't buy Le Torri, so I'll explain how it tastes and also share the name of something you can buy! Chateau Gourgazaud, a $14 red gem from the Minervois in sunny southern France.
Lighter, less tannic than Cab Sauv, Le Torri is elegant with a peacock's tail of ultra-ripe black berry fruit, like cassis, blackberry and blueberry. There's a kiss of new oak with a lick of vanilla, finishing with a touch of cedar and dry summer grass. James Suckling snagged a bottle and gave it a 93.
Gourgazaud, meanwhile, is mysteriously the only French wine among all the Ontario VQAs in my local Metro supermarket. Lucky for me, since I visited the property some years ago and am still impressed by its value for money.
A blend of syrah and mourvèdre showing blackberry, blueberry and plum
with hints of black licorice, Provençal herbs and funky barnyard. Massively quaffable, smooth and affordable.