Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WN: Longoria 2007 Blues Cuvée vs. Campo di Sasso 2007 Insoglio

This is a comparative tasting I've been hoping to do for some time. Both the Longoria 2007 Blues Cuvée and the Campo di Sasso 2007 Insoglio have similar blends roughly evenly split between Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. But the former is a "Super Barbara" sourced from a variety of terroirs in Santa Barbara County while the latter is a "Super Tuscan" indicating it consists of international varieties like Cab, Merlot and Syrah grown in Toscana. By most accounts 2007 was a strong vintage in both regions.

As of now, the Insoglio gets the edge. While it doesn't have much structure for the long run, the mix of varieties shows through and there's genuine earthy complexity. The Blues Cuvée in contrast is big, structured, fruity and oaky in a well-made New World style. It has better potential long-term, though it's hard to say whether the fruit and oak will eventually recede to reveal the intrinsic character. The smoke of the Syrah and tobacco of the Cab Franc and Merlot are deeply buried if they are there at all.

Both are around $20 to $25 depending on where you look and really illustrate why style and structure are so important. Both have plenty of fruit, but beyond that picking just one would come down to personal taste and intent. Do you want a fruit-driven wine to age? Blues it is! Do you want some earthy, funky complexity right now? Then there's the Insoglio. The Insoglio would be a re-buy for me personally, but it's not a question of it being better. The flavor profile just works for me.

  • 35% Syrah, 30% CF, 30% Merlot, 5% PV. Aromas of tobacco, smoked meat/bacon, toast and cherries. Medium bodied, medium-low acid, light tannins. Light on oak, too. Nice cherry fruit upfront, then finishes heavy on olive tapenade. Mellow, earthy wine with a core of red fruit and a great herbaceous edge. Structured for near-term consumption.
  • 2007 Longoria Blues Cuvée - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County

    31% CF (Alisos), 27% Merlot (Alisos), 24% Syrah (Clover Creek), 18% CS (Estelle). Aromas of plum, cedar, tar and vanilla. Definite new world Bdx blend aromas. Full bodied, creamy, but also fresh with med-high acidity. Tannic with a dose of new oak. Finishes dry. Big, ripe, balanced, dark fruited. Needs a few years to let tannins mellow in my opinion. A little one dimensional now, though the delicious factor is there big time.


Jeff said...

Funny. My Costco has that Insoglio, but I figured that it was a Super Tuscan at Costco and was probably not very interesting. $19 sounds like a good price. I definitely might give it a try now.

Interesting couple of wines to compare also...don't often see people getting specific enough to compare two wines with the same blend percentage.

Cabfrancophile said...

I definitely researched the Insoglio before buying it. I had my doubts about a Super Tuscan, too, but it's a nice wine. It doesn't see much new oak or time in barrel, either. I'm assuming about half the wine is raised in stainless steel based on the tech sheet. I'm not a huge fan of reds without oak aging, but the spoofy, "tanky" fruit here is held in reasonable check. Given the minimal oak aging, it does make me wonder if this could even be sold around $15.

It was sort of by coincidence both wines had similar blends. But once I realized it, I knew they needed to be compared. Definitely confirmed my view that the Blues Cuvee needs 3-5 years to develop, especially since I just had a 2002.