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CHEESE PAIRING:
Chaumes
Monterey Jack
Gruyere
Raclette
Peccorino Romano
Gorgonzola Mascarpone

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This varietal is mostly known on the world stage by the region where it is mostly grown – Chianti. While the bullk of wine made from this grape still comes from Italy, some California and Aussie wineries are giving it a go. Unfortunately, it's a rather finicky, late-ripening grape, so efforts have been minimal. When it finds a proper home, like in Tuscany, it can produce wines on many quality levels – from light-bodied everyday quaffers (Chianti) to complex, long-aging giants (Brunello). Poor vineyard management and countless clones, contributed to some unimpressive wines over the years, but recent innovations and extra care have begun to really turn the quality of sangiovese-based wines around. Chianti's are rarely 100% sangiovese and are usually blended with a bit of Cab, Merlot, Syrah or local varieties to help soften the wine. Only Brunello di Montalcino's are entirely Sangiovese. The best versions come from Chianti Classico and Chianti Rufina ($10-$35). Most should be drunk within two or three years of the vintage date, with Reservas being able to go a few years longer. Brunellos ($30-$100+) need at least 5 years before they're drinkable and a good vintage can age for 15-20 years. New World versions don't yet have a distinct style and are still pretty rare.

WHAT TO EXPECT: A light-medium bodied, acidic wine with flavors of bitter cherry and plum with notes of violet, herbs, tea and occasionally stewed tomatoes. Better versions are rounder with more integrated tannins, spice and vanilla on the finish. Brunellos are deeper in color and weight with more savory flavors and darker fruits on the palate. Can be quite tannic when young.


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spacer.gif2007 Ortman Family Vineyards Sangiovese, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2006 Capezzana Conti Contini Sangiovese, Tuscany, ItalyRATING: *
spacer.gif2006 Imagery Estate Winery Sangiovese, Sonoma, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2006 Moris Farms Morellino di Scansano, Tuscany, ItalyRATING: ***
spacer.gif2006 Tenuta Caparzo Sangiovese Toscana IGT, Tuscany, ItalyRATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Antinori Santa Christina Chianti, Tuscany, ItalyRATING: *
spacer.gif2005 Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico, Tuscany, ItalyRATING: *
spacer.gif2005 Bruni Morellino di Scansano Marteto, Tuscany, ItalyRATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Castello di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi, Tuscany, ItalyRATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Pianetta Winery Sangiovese, Paso Robles, CaliforniaRATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Stolpman Vineyards La Coppa Sangiovese, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Stolpman Vineyards Estate Sangiovese, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Tobin James Sangiovese Primo, Paso Robles, CaliforniaRATING: **
spacer.gif2004 Caparone Winery Sangiovese, Paso Robles, CaliforniaRATING: *
spacer.gif2004 Stolpman Vineyards Sangiovese, Santa Barbara, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2003 Fonterutoli Chianti Classico, Tuscany, ItalyRATING: ***
spacer.gif2003 Tenuta Friggiali Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany, ItalyRATING: **
spacer.gif1999 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, ItalyRATING: ***


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**** Outstanding | *** Delicious | ** Enjoyable | * Drinkable
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