Posts Tagged ‘Sangiovese’

Just a quick response and banter to the September 9th Wine Spectator article, “No Merlot di Montalcino : Brunello winemakers reject a plan to allow grapes other than Sangiovese in Rosso di Montalcino”. The gist of the article is that the local Consorzio rejected pressure from 30% of its growers to allow for a 15% non-Sangiovese blend in its Rosso di Montalcino. I posted a non-edited version of this article to the comments section of the Wine Spectator article …

I love history and terroir and maintaining a special niche for certain wines, but COME ON ! A debate over allowing just a 15% non-Sangio blend in the Rosso, the younger sibling to Brunello ? … Grow up Consorzio ! At the end of the day growers and vintners don’t JUST “do it” for passion and family. Winemaking is also a business and people need to maintain their livelihood. Giving producers more flexibility in vinification (and again, just a BIT more, not A LOT) would provide for more strategic maneuverability in the market and more options to stand out and separate their wines from the pack.

A lot of New World growing regions allow wines to be labelled Merlot, even with a 20% blend of other grapes, for example. Granted this might be a bad comparison and I’d air on transparency in this case and require that the “other” varietals be listed on the back label, which I believe is the case, although I could stand corrected.

In the end winemakers MAKE wine for it to be consumed right ? If there’s a drop in sales and a disinterested market, then let’s be progressive and creative and stir the pot a little (or vat and barrel rather), trying out some new recipes !

PS : Okay so this is just a very brief and rather generic counter to the Consorzio’s vote and the majority opinion of the local growers. What does the rest of the public have to say ? I’ll kick-start the counter to my arguments with a very interesting August 31st article on JancisRobinson.com, “Keep Rosso di Montalcino pure!”, including a letter to the Consorzio from Nicolas Belfrage MW, urging against allowing the 15% non-Sangiovese blend.

PPS : And just to admit that I’m a total hypocrite, I worked in business development (just a quick 6-month contract) for Domaine du Closel, a Savennières producer of the Clos du Papillon, Loire Valley Grand Cru and a representation of Chenin Blanc at its pure state of hedonistic perfection ! How’s that for objectivity ?! ;-) I can’t say that I’d support even an ounce of blending in these wines. It’d be sacrilegious ! So do I have any argument against my hypocrisy ? Not really although wait I think I do ! I guess the key difference is that Clos du Papillon (and Coulée de Serrant and Roches-aux-Moines) are designated Loire Valley Grand Crus. Savennières is essentially legislated and syndicated as the birthplace and essence of the beauty, expression and typicity of Chenin Blanc, whereas Rosso di Montalcino is the litter sister (or brother) to Brunello. Therefore, I’m sorry but little brothers and sisters get beat up on sometimes. So i say preserve the integrity of 100% Sangiovese in Brunello di Montalcino and loosen up the little sibling a bit. Although I do love the irony in the 2008 comments of Ezio Rivella, one of Italy’s most prominent oenologists and current President of the Consorzio Brunello di Montalcino. Ezio referred to 100% Brunello blends (i.e. Sangiovese) as “undrinkable”.

In either case I digress, the vote already passed and no changes will be made anytime soon. So on that note, cheers to 100% Sangiovese ! ;-)

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Ruffino “Riserva Ducale Oro” Chianti Classico 1999
Tasting Notes : Clay and sandy soil, rich in fossils, ~85% sangiovese, ~15% colorino, and trace amounts of cabernet sauvignon, and merlot (varietal estimates based on 2000 vintage), aged in oak casks for 24 months, 13% vol. Clear, brick-red in the glass. A subtle and very elegant nose of black cherries and sweet oak, herbs and spices. Smooth texture, medium tannins and bitter-sweet dark chocolate comes out on the palate. More dark cherry flavors are displayed. There is a very nice acidic balance, although the bitterness is slightly over-done, suggesting that this wine definitely calls for a nice beefy meal to accompany it. On the finish the dark chocolate and tannins linger.
Rating : 13/20 (85/100)
Price : $33.09 @ Winelibrary.com

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2006 La Castellina Chianti Classico Riserva Squarcialupi

Appellation: Chianti

Tasting Notes: 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  14% ABV.  Dark violet, darker than I expected. Nose is very complex, with red fruit, smoke, cigar box, and pepper.  Nice red fruit, lovely, elegant, with some cedar, tobacco, and pepper coming in at the end.  The addition of a little Merlot and Cab is evident with in the rounded edges.  Long dry finish, makes you want some pasta with red sauce, crusty bread, and lots of friends to share it.  Fantastic wine.

Rating: 4/5

Price: $29.99 at Beltway Fine Wines

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2007 Tiziano Chianti

Appellation: Chianti

Tasting Notes: 100% Sangiovese, 12.5% ABV.  Light garnet in the glass, I can see my fingers. Nose isn’t really exciting, candied fruit, almost syrupy, and some cedar.  This is a light wine, sour cherries and some spice, then little hint of some tannic structure, but not much there.  A little disjointed.  Not unpleasant, but pretty simple.  I wouldn’t buy at $10.

Rating: 2/5

Price: Unknown, someone gave it to us for watering their plants while they were out of town.  Cellartracker says it’s around $9.50

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