2021 marks the 40th year since the Widmer family bought an outrageously beautiful abandoned estate in Chianti and decided to turn it into an organic and world-class state-of-the-art winery. Sparing no expense, and picking up vineyards along the way, the Widmers built a gravity flow winery in the heart of Tuscany and began to produce elegant, complex wines.
They also ensured their daughter – Barbara Widmer – would have the best wine education possible in case she ever wanted to be involved in the process– decades later, with their daughter running the show at all three estates, their investment on both fronts has more than paid off.
Many thought they had lost their minds when left the Chianti winemakers association “Gallo Nero” to focus on their IGT Toscana wines. Why would you miss out on the sure thing of putting Chianti on a label to make something that would sell for dimes on the dollar?
It was only in 1992 that these wines were finally allowed by Italian law and coincidently, that was the first year Brancaia’s wine was imported in the U.S. and met with immediate success (including a 91 point Wine Spectator score).
Their wines were just ahead of their time. Eventually, the SuperTuscan craze caught on and the accolades have become much more glowing and more frequent. The high ratings gave way to feature articles, like the WineSpectator feature of the “Young Leaders in Wine” with Barbara Widmer a big focus of the article. And then, of course, the Tre Bicchieri – arguably the highest award an Italian wine can receive.
Barbara’s ‘Tre” Toscana gets its name from the three grapes that go into the blend (Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot) and three Tuscan vineyards (Maremma, Castellina and Radda in Chianti).
It’s a lighter style of Super Tuscan, with seductive cherry, licorice, blackberries and dried herbs. This way-too-easy drinking Red understandably gets 90+ points every vintage but in the ideal, hot 2017 vintage, the ‘Tre’ got its highest score since the 2011 vintage.
93 Points, James Suckling
Good focus and intensity to the nose here, folding in licorice, dried herbs, black pepper and Chinese spices. Full body, plenty of density and richness, but a fine line of acidity and freshness. Structured and quite long on the finish.