Sangiovese is one of the main grapes in some of Italy’s most popular and prized wines.
Chianti, Brunello di Montalicino and Vino Nobile de Montepulciano all are Italian wines made from Sangiovese. They are deep ruby in color with dark fruit flavors and perfect with red sauced pastas, slow-cooked meats and pizza.
Super Tuscans, a relative new category of red blends, typically are comprised of Sangiovese and other international varieties, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Merlot and Syrah. Sangiovese’s roots run deep in central Italy but the varietal also has gained traction in the New World. The grape’s exceptional drought resistance and prolonged ripening cycle make it a nice fit for the San Joaquin Valley
and Sierra Foothills.
Sangiovese’s aroma and flavor profiles vary greatly depending on where it’s grown. For instance, Brunello stipulates a minimum of five years aging, the longest in Italy. The terroir there is a unique maritime-alpine hybrid. In Montepulciano, the grapes mature quickly and the wines lack the finesse of Brunello, which tends to be more acidic and lower in residual sugar than Sangioveses from Lodi or the Sierra foothills, where the varietal responds well to sandy, loamy soils and sunshine.
The 2008 Puro Brunello di Montalcino received 90 points from wine critic James Suckling last year. Tony Sasa started making Brunello in the early 2000s when he leased a few acres of vineyards in the southern part of the appellation. His wine is complex and layered with aromas and flavors of red cherries, spices and earth.
Klinker Brick Winery in Lodi recently released its 2013 Sangiovese from Amador County. The color is deep ruby and intense, almost inky. The aromas are fruity: Blueberry, blackberry, black cherry and rose petals. There is some oak on the nose, as well as baking spices and some heat from the alcohol (14.5 percent). The tannin is high, chalky, and the acid is medium high. It’s a wine meant to be enjoyed with food and in that regard, it’s a winner.
Sangiovese in its blush form is executed beautifully by LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards. Their light pink, dry rose has fresh acidity and a slightly petillant texture with bright red fruit and rose petal aromas. The flavors scream fresh-picked strawberries. Though dry on the palate, there is a crowd-pleasing touch of sweetness. This is a perfect spring and summer sipper that goes well with tangy goat’s milk cheese.
Lauren O’Leary’s Nipote Wine Imports has the Brunello (nipotewineimports.com). Information: Klinker Brick Winery (klinkerbrickwinery.com), LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards (langetwins.com).
Bob HighfillRecord Sports Editor Bob Highfill is a wine enthusiast and has earned Level 3 certification with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust of London through the Napa Valley Wine Academy. Bob will share some of his experiences from his travels to Lodi and other prime wine locales in his blog and welcomes your suggestions, reviews and wine speak.
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