Not too long ago I took a little trip. The travel itself was fascinating as I ended up on Amtrak for about 1,000 miles. I hadn’t been on that lengthy a rail excursion before, so I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into – other than a new experience. Well, it was definitely an experience! Unlike many of my fellow passengers, I was somewhat unprepared for the trek. For instance, my neighbor came with pillow and blanket in tow. I thought that was a bit much until after a few hours I realized that the air conditioning was quite effective. So effective that I started to shiver! Luckily, I had packed a light jacket which – although not in hand – was in the suitcase on the rack just above my head. OK! Now I know to bring a blanket or have a sweatshirt readily available. The fellow across the aisle from me boarded with two very large bottles of water. Yes, that was something else I didn’t think about. I had one small bottle. Thankfully, they do sell water in the cafe car, so I didn’t get completely dehydrated.
When I reached my destination, I thought I might continue to learn by finding Sangiovese varietal wines there which aren’t available in my local area.* The wine store I chose to look in seemed large enough that they would have plenty of options. But they didn’t have a single Sangiovese varietal on their shelves. So I asked the staff if any of their Chiantis were 100% Sangiovese. The reply was that all their Chiantis were. OK now, I didn’t just fall of the turnip truck! Not to be deterred, however, I stood there in the store with my little semi-smart phone in hand looking up info on each of their Chianti offerings. Turns out this Ruffino Aziano was the only Chianti they had which was 100% Sangiovese. At least they had one!
Wine: Aziano Chianti Classico
Appellation: Chianti Classico DOCG, Italy
Notes: The color was dark ruby with a slightly orange tinge. Reminded me of a blood orange. The bouquet held tangy berries and scents of barnyard. Body was light, and acidity was high. Alcohol came in at 13%. When I first opened the bottle, I was concerned there might have been some cork taint. It was seriously not pleasant (to me). Of course, we all know that oxidation can make a difference in our red wines. Sure enough, after at least a good half hour the flavor profile moderated. What I found then was a Sangiovese with considerably more structure than what I’d had before, showing medium-to-high tannins. It also had underlying plum and cherry fruit flavors overlaid with lots of pepper, some oak, and quinine near the close. Here is a Sangiovese to accompany your meat dishes, to be sure. It was such an interesting departure from my previous Sangiovese tastings that I am looking forward to more of these experiments.
* Folks who haven’t been reading my blog will wonder why I’d have that specific type of wine in mind. The answer is that I’m trying to learn more about Sangiovese and the kind of wine it can become. Approaching that endeavor with a quasi-scientific method, I want first to taste wines that are 100% Sangiovese. Then I’ll move on to the blends.