Last night’s Sangiovese event was a packed house with regular dinner guests on one half of the restaurant and passport tasters on the other. The night’s varietal really lent itself to pairings with the Wine Bistro fare, as Chef Nathan is a wizard with his tomato sauce based flatbreads.
Zach (our Bistro Sommelier) types up really great notes on each of the wines for the tastings, and you can read a few of the highlights below.
2005 Fattoria Le Puille, Morellino di Scansano, Elisabetta Geppetti, Tuscany Italy
In the 1970s, Fattoria Le Pupille was a farmhouse producing red wine from 5 acres of Sangiovese. In 1978, the Morellino di Scansano DOC was created and the first harvest of this wine was made at Le Pupille. According to Jancis Robinson, “it is here on the wind swept Tuscan coast that there has been the most dramatic change to the winescape in recent years.” Robinson says that, “one of the fastest growing regions has been Morellino di Scansano, now DOCG. Morellino is the local name for Sangiovese, raised here in balmy conditions only just above sea level. A host of outsiders have invested here in recent years, with dramatic effects on property values. Florence’s oldest winemaking families such as Antinori and Frescobaldi together with Barbi and Biondi-Santi (more famous for their Brunello di Montalcino), and Chianti producers Badia a Coltibuono, Cecchi, Fonterutoli, and Rocca della Macie, where the resulting wines are much fleshier and more supple than anything made in the hills of Chianti Classico inland.” The history of Le Pupille really started when Elisabetta Geppetti became personally responsible for the estate in the early 1980s. She completed her first harvest of Morellino di Scansano in 1985, at the age of 20. In the 1990s, the quality of the wines began to be rewarded by critics all around the world and Fattorria Le Pupille’s international reputation was established.
Elisabetta Geppetti always believed in the potential of this land she loves, and saw the clear potential for making great wines from the, “red, bitter soil,” when few people thought it possible. In 1992 she was elected as the first chairperson of the Consortium of Morellino di Scansano, as well as a founding member. In 2006 Elisabetta was awarded winemaker of the year by top German magazines Der Feinschmecker and Wein Gourmet, making her the first woman to receive this award.
This wine is 85% Sangiovese, with a remaining blend of Alicante and Malvasia Nera. It has a nose of black cherry and rose petals with accents of leather and smoky minerality. It is well balanced with harmonious acidity.
Food Pairing: Romesco and Prawn Flatbread with Asparagus and Parmesan
2006 Seghesio Vineyard Sangiovese, Sonoma County, CA
Seghesio is responsible for the oldest planting of Sangiovese in North America. The Seghesio story begins in 1866 when Eduardo Seghesio departed his family’s vineyards in Piedmonte, Italy for a new life in America. Like many Italian immigrants he was drawn to Northern Sonoma County and the famous Italian Swiss Colony to follow his passion for winemaking. The “colony,” as it was known, hired immigrants for three year stints, providing room and board and then, a lump sum at the end of those three years enabling employees to buy land or set up a new business.
Edoardo soon rose through the ranks and became the winemaker. Yet, he still yearned to return home. It was his niece and the opportunity to purchase land that convinced Edoardo to remain. That young girl, Angela Vasconi and Edoardo were married in 1893. Edoardo remained at the Colony while building his own winery at night. Upon its completion in 1902, the young couple began Seghesio Winery. In 1910 they acquired additional acreage surrounding the train station in what was then “Chianti, California.” Edoardo appropriately planted the 10 acres to the Chianti field blend of Sangiovese, Canielao Nero, Trebbiano and Malvasia, creating the oldest continually operating Sangiovese vineyard in North America. That vineyard they call Chianti Station. Prohibition brought on hard times, and Edoardo had to bring on partners. Yet they still survived, in 1934 Edoardo passed away leaving the winery to Angela. Her three sons took the reins and continued their father’s tradition.
This Sangiovese from the oldest American plantings, combined with their small-berried clones, produce wines of intense varietal character. This wine was aged for eighteen months in French Oak barrels, 20% new. Its bouquet of dried violets and blackberries mingle with a little bit of spicy anise. The palate exhibits well integrated tannins with clove and oak overtones.
Food Pairing: BBQ Pulled Pork Empanadas
2007 Conalicchio di Sopra, Rosso di Montalcino, Azienda Agricola, Italy
Founded by the Pacenti family in the early 1900s, bottling began at the winery in 1966. This was the first year of the Brunello Consorzio. Prior to bottling their own wine, they had sold their grapes to Biondi Santi. The 2007 Conalicchio Di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino is a great value, because Canalicchio only grows Brunello rated Sangiovese. Their selection for the rosso often will rival other producers in Brunello. Their vineyards are located in one of the best exposed parts of Montalcino’s vine growing areas, their vineyards cover 5 acres between Canalicchio and Montosoli. Although they use the most modern facilities, they still revel in the ancient traditional wine making methods.
This wine spends 7 to 8 months in barrel. This selection for the Rosso often will rival other producers of Brunello. It is a limpid, ruby colored wine of great intensity.
Food Pairing: Duck Rillettes on Crostini with Black Fruit Jam
Joanie Hudson, Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Santa Barbara Winery
Notes written by Zach Blair