Sangiovese tasting notes: 7 bottles, vintage 2010 and 2011, that every enthusiast should taste
Let’s continue our trip among the grapes of Sangiovese, in theory the argument and the wines are endless, but this time, instead of its aging qualities, we want to focus on bottles that have a high food matching potential.
The wine that come immediately to mind are the ones of the Chianti Classico, with their huge flexibility: finesse, a compelling acidity modulated through an alternation of sour cherries and other small juicy red berries and a steady body wrapped by a vaporous tannin that knows hot to seduce the palate. From grilled meat to Tagliatelle al ragu, with pecorino cheeses, to add some aromatic herbs to a tuna tataki, for a flavorful beef satay or a delicate fried dumpling soup, you will never be wrong.
Although this flexibility, which covers ten thousand hectares, is likely to get lost in a sea of anonymous bottles. Let’s do an example: the Chianti Brolio is ubiquitous, being in Bombay or Seoul or Antarctica is the same, you will find it in all the wine bars of the world. It’s a unpretentious wine, exactly as the other 750000 bottles that you can safely skip. But at the same time Ricasoli winery has produced an outstanding bottle with the Chianti Colledilà, certainly not for the mass market.
So, if it’s only a matter of quality, just buy Chianti Riserva, let’s double spend and be happy! But the matter is not so trivial, because, first, it’s never the price that makes the bottle great. And secondly you can find amazing value in some classic Chianti, but for the right price, and we are speaking about Chianti Classico Berardenga from Fattoria Fèlsina or the ones from Fattoria Rodano or Riecine winery. And finally, Sangiovese doesn’t mean exclusively Chianti, it just takes two steps to reach less famous wine areas, like Maremma, Romagna, Carmignano, Umbria, Rufina, Montepulciano, Marche to discovery the stunning landscape that the Sangiovese offer us.
Piangifame 2008, Bisci estate, Marche
Unblended Sangiovese. Shining garnet. Ethereal and airy, even if the oaking is a little suffocating, however after twenty minutes it opens up a bit evoking plum, blackberry, cardamom and a potpourri flecked with tobacco. Persistent and cutting, also after two years of barrique. A well devised wine, in which you can smell the Sangiovese finesse to the last drop, but it’s not yet perfectly balanced: the tannins are too racy, by the way the acidity is well shaped and intense, braided with medicine herbs and a memory of radish. Ends very clean. In six years will be great, in nine excellent. Now is a bold red wine to match some weeping cheese and bacon hamburgers.
Carmignano 2007, Villa di Capezzana
Deep dark hypnotic ruby. It has a mysterious charm that erupts from the glass in the form of tart cherries, cloves, mulberries under syrup and a chewy plum jam with a drop of lemon. But behind this fruity profusion, there is a steady mineral backbone, built to last years and years. The Cabernet Sauvignon addition is tangible and, despite making the wine more alcoholic and herbier, the whole results suggestive and balanced. The tannins are punchy and gives the wine a fruity, compelling consistency that suck you in and as time goes, it becomes ripener, jelly addict, with ethereal peaks of maraschino and nail varnish. Good use of the oak with light hints of coconuts and vanilla. It ends in a long peppery, sweet and salty fashion, great with a rustic shepherd’s pie.
Ganzerello, Fattoria Coroncino, Marche
A sincere and apparently easy wine, indeed fascinating. 95% Sangiovese, 5% Syrah. The outcome is remarkably tasty. The bouquet is austere, rich of dried flowers, with sudden flashes of ripe fruit that enlighten this dense mass. In the mouth is lean-edged, burning, and in the darkness are boiling licorice, juniper, pepper and moss. When is gone you can taste an intriguing echo of smoke and caramelized tar. A wine that loves lamb curry with onions and rice. Drink from now to four years.
Chianti Classico Riserva 2007, Castello di Cacchiano
A splendid wine, neat, balanced, gracefully tannic. The wood is juicy noticeable, perfectly calibrated with nuances of extra bitter chocolate to make even more lavish the powerful body. It’s a wine score of dark and earthy notes, insanely dense, mineral, that chase each other in a game of lights and shadows, where you can find ripe cherries, breathes of menthol that fades in a wet underbrush of coffee. A nature’s melody with a delicious neat ending. Match this iconic Chianti to any Indian dish with chicken, curry and cumin, lasagne alla bolognese or paella.
Chianti Classico 2008, Castello di Cacchiano
A way much easier, however with a solid tannin and licorice and anise notes that accompany in a zesty, sharp, lemony finish. A Chianti to pair with pici with ragu.
Montefalco Rosso 2009, Scacciadiavoli, Umbria
A wine for everyday, you should pile some cases in your cellar to solve any matching conundrum. This time the classic Sangiovese finesse is strengthen by the meaty fruit of the Sagrantino, a rich native grape of Umbria, and the result is terrific. His slender body, the warm and ripe cherries that you can almost chew, a round and cinnamon-black tea driven acidity and lastly a suite of silky tannins in which runs delicate traces of coffee, make this wine the champion of the most drinkable wine tier. A bottle that you will always finish, an all around you can pair with a simple herb crusted chicken, something more elaborated like escargots à la bourguignonne or a creamy reblochon de savoie.
Sangiovita 2009, La Collina
A great unblended Sangiovese from Brisighella, one of the most intriguing in Romagna, made by a Swiss, young winemaker that after years of wandering elected this corner of paradise as his home. André Eggli gave berth to a beautiful wine, where a South Tyrolean acidity and a zesty icing bouquet are warmly supported by sour cherries under syrup, caramelized plum, hints of almonds and lemon marmalade, but don’t think to one dimensional fruit bomb, because all is sharpened by a roaring, rocky minerality—tea leaves, pencil leads, mountains herbs—that comes from these wild, amazing hills where there are a lot of veins of chalk. It ends smoothly, in a lean and austere way, where resonate peonies and violets hidden in moss bush. Let rest this Sangiovese in your cellar for ten years and you will get a wonderful, complex wine, but right now it can tame any tomato sauce for everyday pasta, ravioli with mushrooms, agnolotti with meat stuffing, a bleeding fiorentina with beans, pecorino di fossa.
Montecucco Sangiovese 2009, Poggio Leone, Maremma
This Sangiovese is simply astonishing. After ten months of barrique is still incredibly fresh and pride of its own floral heritage, yet is the fruit core, enriched by some Cabernet Sauvignon, the real deal. Helped by the oaking, has developed into a sour, hearty and balsamic blend that will never cease to surprise your palate with warm waves of licorice, pepper and violet, all spiced with cinnamon stick perfectly mixed with a gentle tannin. The finish is cutting and persistent, actually making the wine subtle enough for the soy sauce in the phat si Io (stir fried noodles with shrimps or chicken), but it has the body to face bolder dishes like asado.