Sangiovese at Home and Abroad

Isole e Olena Chianti Classico DOCG 2003
Tonight’s bottle showed some herbaceousness and tannic grip, as well as evolving fruit. The bottle opened earlier in the year showed classic cherry fruit and complexing earthiness with some evolution and stewed fruit. 85% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo and 4-5% Syrah and other grapes. Estate bot in Barberino Val d’Elsa 13.5% $18 at Traverso’s

Noceto Shenandoah Valley California Sangiovese 2004
Tonight’s bottle was spot on vibrant fruit, acidity and a silky texture. Notes back to the 2000 show that this wine in every vintage shows California fruit with Sangiovese’s characteristic acidity, with a dollop of oak for sweetness, in a light bodied package that is more tame than Chianti. P&B in Plymouth by Suzy and Jim Gullett 14.2% $12.99 at Bottle Barn Noceto

Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2004
In Oct. ’08, the bottle we opened took a good 15 minutes to blow off the stink but then the fruit blossomed enough to match the earthiness. Lay this wine down to age. Opening 2 bottles on a prior occasion, one was corked. The other was spot-on, showing a structured side of Sangiovese. Unfortunately a  bottle from another class showed a tolerable and complementary level of brett but it was certainly enough to put off a number of people in the class – lots of tannic grip as well to go with the brett flavors of the barnyard. Past notes show the 2002 very approachable and ready to drink and the 2003 very complex with characteristic acidity – a stunning wine. And to think of the prices for the stars of Montepulciano compared to their hallowed cousins over on the next hilltop. There are bargains to be had here. The wine is Prunolo Gentile, Canaiolo Nero and Mammolino, in oak barrels for 24 months, bottled in Cortona 13% $24.95 from Traverso’s Avignonesi

About Ray

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
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