WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

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WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Otto » Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:57 pm

Life surely has its mysteries. Why do we wage war? Why is there hunger in the world? Why is there shortage of water? Least of these worries: why doesn't Otto care for Sangiovese, though it should be a grape that he ought to adore?

I thought that with the grapes earthy, red toned, acidic nature it should be just the grape for me. But no. So far no luck. But today, I did get one wine that I truly loved (which will reinforce the idea that I just don't get Tuscany, for most, I guess...)

Poggerino Chianti Classico 2003

Rather spoofy and raisiny. It seems to be true Sangiovese underneath, so maybe a victim of the vintage?

Poggerino Chianti Classico Bugialla Riserva 2000

Spoofy, raisin-soup. Well? Maybe still a victim of the vintage as I haven't really liked any 2000s I've so far had? Don't know. This one didn't seem to have any Sangio character to it.

Poggerino Prima Terra 2003

50/50 Sangio/Merlot. Sickly sweet. Yawn. Anonymous and international.

Le Trame Chianti Classico 2002

Bloody brilliant stuff! I guess since I fall in love with a wine from perhaps the worst vintage in the area, I really do not understand the wines. But this rocks! The nose is pleasantly shitty, red toned, vegetal. The palate is fruity, red toned, perfectly harmonious, showing the weak vintage in being a bit watery, but still amazingly the aftertaste is very, very long. Lovely stuff. I will gladly order a case of this. And I haven't evcer bought a case of anything except Musar!

Giorgio Primo Chianti Classico 2001

Apparently this is some sort of cult stuff, and costs about 70€ now. Well, it tastes like it. Blueberry juice, spoofulated, and frankly of little interest.

Montesodi Chianti Rúfina 1988

There were some issues as to how this was stored. The nose was dead. I was ready to pour it away as there was only marmite and rye bread on the nose. The palate was utterly lovely however: red toned fruit, fine acidity, well structured but resolved. A delight on the palate. A shame about the nose. I've recently enjoyed the 1993 quite a bit.

Lamborghini Campoleone 2000

Again a 50/50 Sangio/Merlot blend. And again, totally spoofy and "modern" and boring. Yawn. Oh, BTW this was served blind and the note was written as I sensed it (minus the blend bit, of course). I don't want to hear that I am trolling because of this.

Noble One 2002 Botrytis Semillon

A fun Aussie sticky at the end. I brought this, so I knew what it was - not blind IOW. Massive botrytis, intensity and sweetness, but little elegance. Quite fun, but I really don't think this is a "grand vin".
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Brian A » Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:38 pm

Le Trame Chianti Classico 2002

Bloody brilliant stuff! I guess since I fall in love with a wine from perhaps the worst vintage in the area, I really do not understand the wines. But this rocks! The nose is pleasantly shitty, red toned, vegetal. The palate is fruity, red toned, perfectly harmonious, showing the weak vintage in being a bit watery, but still amazingly the aftertaste is very, very long. Lovely stuff. I will gladly order a case of this. And I haven't evcer bought a case of anything except Musar!




Where I come from, this is definitely not a desirable trait. I fell out of my chair laughing so hard at the description. Otto, please take no offense. :P
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby James Dietz » Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:12 pm

Great intro, Otto... Maybe you should try some CA Sangiovese... why would you think Italy might make some good ones?? 8)

Let's see what I can do for you...
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby James Roscoe » Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:30 pm

Otto, sometimes you think way too much.
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Paulo in Philly » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:25 am

Well, my friend, the answer to your question is to find producers who are traditionalists and who don't spoof up their wines in an overt modern style. I had a very delicious Sanguineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2001 that was elegant, earthy, dark cherry, spicy, mouthwatering delicious. Anything can happen in Italy in my opinion. Just the variations of the Montefalco Rossos, for example, vary so much just by way of varietal recipes, not to mention how the producer chooses to make the wine. Have you had any good Brunellos???

I may need to drag you to Italy one of these days!!!! :wink:
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Thomas » Fri Oct 27, 2006 9:57 am

Otto,

Repriso:
Take one bottle of Morellino di Scansano and call me in the morning...
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Clinton Macsherry » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:20 am

Otto Nieminen wrote:Le Trame Chianti Classico 2002

Bloody brilliant stuff! I guess since I fall in love with a wine from perhaps the worst vintage in the area, I really do not understand the wines.


I'm no expert, Otto, but I probably drink more Sangio-based wines than anything else. I know the 2002 vintage in Tuscany was widely reviled, but in my opinion the heat of 2003 was even more damaging to the characteristics that I love in Sangionvese. Your list seems to include a preponderance of 2003s. That could be part of the the problem. Didn't you post on the 2003 Flaccianello recently and note that you might enjoy it from a different vintage? That's 100% Sangio, if I recall correctly.

Other posters have suggested you look for more traditional producers (consider Felsina for one, Volpaia for another). Some have also suggested that you try other variations on Sangio, like Morellino di Scansano (which I think you may not like, as it is from the warmer, coastal part of Tuscany) or Brunello di Montalcino (perhaps my favorite wine on the planet, but one that is also made in both traditional and hyper-modern styles). To be sure, there's great diversity in the world of Tuscan Sangiovese. But of course, you may simply dislike it, despite the fact that is sounds good "on paper."

One thing you and I will almost certainly continue to agree on -- most Sangio-Merlot blends are a terrible waste of grapes.
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Carl Eppig » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:49 am

Agree with Thomas on the Morellino. Haven't had a bad one.

Our favorite wine in the whole world is an aged out (usually 15 years) Brunello. If you can't wait, there are many Rosso di Montalcinos to relish much earlier.
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Ruth B » Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:23 pm

Well I love a lot of Sangiovese based wines, but some are vile.
(I would point out that I have also tried vile Pinot Noir, Cabernet etc.)

To me, they are wines to be served with food, particularily Italian food. They rarely seem to show well in a tasting format BUT
that 97 Biondi Santi we had in Tuscany...YUM!
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Dale Williams » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:02 pm

First of all, no one needs to like everything. There are plenty of wine categories that I have trouble getting enthused over, including some "geek specials." While I gladly taste everything, my life would be pretty complete even if I never again tasted a sherry (the ultimate geek insider wines, I hear the sniggers already), vin jaune (ditto), Pinotage, Priorat, nero d'avola, Oz shiraz, or Chilean Bdx blend. I've had examples I liked of each, but more I didn't really like than winners.

But.....

As noted above, 2003 (and to a lesser extent 2000) aren't exactly benchmark vintages. If you can't find mature stuff, try 1999 or 2001 Chiantis from producers like Fattoria di Felsina, Fontodi, Fonterutoli, Badia a Colitbuono, di Ama, etc. Try anything from any vintage by Montevertine. Try a Brunello from a not-Pamela-Anderson vintage (no 1997, maybe 1996 or 1995 if you can't find a mature vintage).

It's ok not to like something, but just make sure your sample isn't skewed!

cheers
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Otto » Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:17 am

Brian A wrote:Where I come from, this is definitely not a desirable trait. I fell out of my chair laughing so hard at the description. Otto, please take no offense. :P


No offense taken. But shit rocks!

James Dietz wrote:Great intro, Otto... Maybe you should try some CA Sangiovese... why would you think Italy might make some good ones??

Let's see what I can do for you...


Thanks James. Italy rocks like shit, that's why! :) Should the initials WH be mentioned here, again, lol!! A Musar '97 awaits thee in my cabinet...

James Roscoe wrote:Otto, sometimes you think way too much.


I do not. Actually, I don't think at all, which is why my studies are progressing so slowly.

Paulo wrote:I may need to drag you to Italy one of these days!!!!


Ummmm? Italy sounds nice. When do we go? I'm free next week! :)


Thomas wrote:Take one bottle of Morellino di Scansano and call me in the morning...


Ok. I'll try to find one.

Clinton wrote:I know the 2002 vintage in Tuscany was widely reviled, but in my opinion the heat of 2003 was even more damaging to the characteristics that I love in Sangionvese. Your list seems to include a preponderance of 2003s. That could be part of the the problem. Didn't you post on the 2003 Flaccianello recently and note that you might enjoy it from a different vintage? That's 100% Sangio, if I recall correctly.


Finally someone says it! I've made no secret of the fact that I pretty much detest 2003s from almost everywhere - though of course there are the occasional exceptions (Haut-Bailly, some Riesling, etc....). I think I did post about the Flaccianello, but even in cooler vintages I think it would be too "modern" and extracted for my tastes. The 2001 at least was, but that, unlike the 2003, wasn't a parody of wine. It was wine, but just not to my tastes. The traditional wines are of course what I seek. But the traditional producers here have been of little interest to me, which is why I'm beginning to think that I just don't like the variety. But I still want to experiment more, because the idea I have of the variety is such that I ought to enjoy it. Also, knowing the selections we have available here, we probably got all the terrible shite that no one else bought! Such is life in a state monopoly.

Dale, thanks for the list of producers. I'll try to seek some out. Are they supposed to be traditional? I thought Ama was supposed to be leaning a bit towards the modern side?

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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Brian K Miller » Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:26 am

Have you tried this one: Podere il Palazzino Grosso Sanese Chianti Classico

I found an earlier vintage very earthy, chewy, almost Bordeauxish. It may not be very typical chianti, but I liked it a lot. I need to open this bottle.
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Dale Williams » Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:40 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:Dale, thanks for the list of producers. I'll try to seek some out. Are they supposed to be traditional? I thought Ama was supposed to be leaning a bit towards the modern side?
-


Otto, Castello di Ama is probably the most modern of the ones I listed. But the CC is not as oak-driven as the single-vineyard CCRs or the ones they make from French varieties. Still, there is some new oak, so you might prefer others.
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Otto » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:07 pm

Brian K Miller wrote:Have you tried this one: Podere il Palazzino Grosso Sanese Chianti Classico

I found an earlier vintage very earthy, chewy, almost Bordeauxish. It may not be very typical chianti, but I liked it a lot. I need to open this bottle.


I've not tried that one, sorry. But the problem I had with The Castello di Ama CC 1999 is that it was more like Bx than Chianti. When I buy a bottle of wine, I have an idea of what it should be like based on the grape and geographical area. I.e. I want my Chianti to taste like Chianti not Bordeaux. The Ama I had was an ok wine in its own right, but it wasn't IMO Chianti. And this might actually be the major issue I have with "modernist" wines: they may be very good, but I have a picture in my mind of what a wine from that area is supposed to be like, and they often don't fit in with this paradigm. Therefore just going to the shop and buying some CC for an Italianate dinner will not work because I have to know if the CC is actually going to be Italianate or whether it's going to taste like Bordeaux or spoof.

Dale Williams wrote:Otto, Castello di Ama is probably the most modern of the ones I listed. But the CC is not as oak-driven as the single-vineyard CCRs or the ones they make from French varieties. Still, there is some new oak, so you might prefer others.


Thanks Dale. I've only tried the 99 CC from Ama, and it was ok. I guess I won't go out of my way to buy the singe-vineyard stuff.

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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Andy » Tue Oct 31, 2006 7:22 am

Otto,
at least your trying :D
I think it's perfectly ok and normal if you dislike a certain varietal, but the conclusion, as DAle pointed out correctly, should be drawn after judging from a representative sample.
Personally, I like Sangiovese a lot. Certain parts of Tuscany seem to be ideal for growing this varietal, where it reaches a aromatic depth and persistence not found in Sangiovese further north or south, IMO. I can't judge Sangiovese from the US, since I never have tried any.
Tuscany as noted is also the part where Sangiovese is abused the most, mainly by trying to stik it in a suit it doesn't fit - just like Nero d'Avola further south.
While I find a mature SAngiovese can stand easily alone - be it carefully matured in INOX, Barrique or Botti grandi - it goes very well with Merlot, if this is planted in the right spots and not blended into a sickening sweet oak soup.
Giovanna Morgante from le Boncie has indeed a very good hand, and not only in 2002. She makes very true to earth wines, IMO.
Try Nello Bariccis or Franco Pacentis Brunello 2001 or Rosso 2004, two rather traditional growers from Montalcino. CAstello di Potentino Montecucco is a nice effort for 2003. Isole e Olena regular CC. Just to name a few sofar not mentioned. Beware of most who point out their famous enologist.
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Re: WTN: Trying to understand Sangiovese

Postby Dale Williams » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:16 am

Andy wrote:Beware of most who point out their famous enologist.


Best quote of the thread contest is now closed!
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