Poggio Anima Belial (Sangiovese) 2011

Poggio Anima is a joint venture between Riccardo Campinoti of Le Ragnaie and his U.S. importer Vine Street Imports.  According to their website, they “wanted to capture the ‘soul’ of each vineyard and grape. No manipulation, no water, sugar, etc. Just the pure expression of the fruit and site.”  Sounds good to me.

Winemaker: Poggio Anima
Wine:  Belial
Varietal: Sangiovese
Vintage: 2011
Appellation: Toscana, Italy IGT
Price: $14.99

Notes:  This Tuscan was a rich, dark red with a bouquet of sous bois (damp forest floor), mushrooms, oak, a touch of pepper, and underlying fruit.  It had high acidity, medium tannins and alcohol at 13%.  The light-bodied Belial brought a fascinating group of flavors to my palate, including grapeseed, cranberry and sour cherry, quinine and white pepper.  This was – for me – one of the tartest wines I’ve had in awhile.  I would not call it bitter, but definitely tart.  As it turns out, though, I enjoy tart flavors.  So I found this Sangiovese to be quite fun to drink.



Torrebruna Sangiovese di Toscana 2012

I hope my wine blogging friends didn’t think I’d forgotten my desire and intention to experience and learn more about this venerable wine varietal!  Not by a long shot.  Oh, there may have been a hiatus, but the break has only whetted my thirst for more.  I picked this bottle up at a boutique wine shop not too far down the road.

Winemaker: Torrebruna
Wine: Sangiovese
Vintage: 2012
Appellation: Toscana, Italy IGT
Price: $11.99

Notes:  Scents wafting from this dark garnet glass of wine included violets, berries, and dry earth.  It was medium-bodied with good acidity and medium tannins.  A dry Sangiovese at 14% alcohol, it brought flavors of red plum, violets, dried green herbs, and a hint of carob to the tongue.  In addition, the finish was quite tart.  I found it an interesting drink.  No doubt it’d be a nice accompaniment for a variety of meat dishes.

Gabbiano Pinot Grigio 2013

The name of this wine, Promessa, means promise in Italian.  Promise, according to Merriam-Webster, is reason to expect something; especially :  ground for expectation of success, improvement, or excellence.  What a lovely, uplifting name for a wine!  It conveys a feeling of hope and anticipation to those who choose to pop the cork and experience the vino. 

Winemaker:  Gabbiano
Wine:  Promessa
Varietal:  Pinot Grigio
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Venezie IGT, Italy
Price:  $11.49

Notes:  The color of this Gabbiano was a pale straw.  On the bouquet I smelled citrus and peach.  A light-bodied wine, it had a touch of the typical varietal viscosity.  Acidity was good, and alcohol was at 12.5%.  On the palate I tasted fairly straightforward flavors of citrus and grass with touches of peach.  I found it a pleasant Pinot Grigio and think it would be good with seafood dishes and light cheeses such as chevre, fresh mozzarella, etc.

Cavit Pinot Grigio 2013

Pinot Grigio in the middle of winter when the temperatures are in the teens (Fahrenheit) outside?  Well, why not?  Although I’m really not one to stand on convention, I will admit that there was another more personal – and more vain – reason for drinking a light white now.  I have an appointment to have my picture taken by a professional photographer, and I want the brightest smile I can muster.  Ha!

Winemaker:  Cavit
Wine:  Pinot Grigio delle Venezie
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Venezie IGT, Italy
Price:  $11.49

Notes:  This Cavit PG was a pale yellow with scents of lemon, grass and pear on the nose.  It was characteristically light-bodied with good acidity and 12% alcohol.  Flavors I found mirrored the bouquet – lemon, grass and pear.  The finish was long and lemony.  I think this is a good sipping white and would go very well with a light white fish.


Head Snapper Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2013

Another label from The Wine Group that has been proliferating on the shelves of my local stores is It’s A Head Snapper.  I have to say that this label is a true example of just how global the wine business has become.  The folks at It’s A Head Snapper source their wines from all over the world.  Appropriately, then, they went to Italy to get this Pinot Grigio and bring it to my grocery store.

Winemaker:  It’s A Head Snapper
Wine:  Pinot Grigio delle Venezie
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Venezie IGT, Italy
Price:  $19.99

Notes:  The color of this wine was so light, I’d call it a hint of yellow.  Like it’s hue, the bouquet was very faint with gentle citrus and floral notes.  It was characteristically light-bodied with high acidity that created a slight feeling of effervescence on the tongue.  At 12.5% alcohol this PG is just a little off dry, but the acidity helps balance that out.  On the palate I tasted almond, bitter orange, grass, and citrus peel.  It was definitely enjoyable – even fun to drink.  I think, perhaps, it was a bit overpriced at twenty dollars.  Something tells me it must be available for less at other retailers.  In which case, I’d buy it again.


Villa Sonia Pinot Grigio 2013

Back in mid December when we’d gotten our holiday tree and were ready to devote an evening to decorating, I perused my small stock of wine for something light and easy to accompany our efforts.  Goodness knows tree decorating can sometimes (read: often) be a challenge for me.  Making sure the lights are working.  If they aren’t, finding spare bulbs.  Then getting the strands on the tree in an evenly dispersed yet naturalistic and harmoniously relaxed way.  And that’s all before the decorations come out to play because lights always go on first in our house.  No pressure.  No pressure at all.  Ha!  Yes, tree decorating in my house is a tradition that takes time, consideration, and patience.  Much like the enjoyment of wine, it is an experience to be savored not rushed.  And no matter the result, it’s really all about doing it together.

Winemaker:  Villa Sonia
Varietal:  Pinot Grigio
Vintage:  2013
Appellation:  Venezia DOC – Piave, Italy
Price:  $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

Notes:  The color of this wine was a light Tuscan yellow.  On the nose I caught scents of apple, citrus and spice.  Acidity was high, and it was light on the tongue.  Flavors I detected included pear, some apple, spice notes, a tart citrus and citrus zest on the finish.  If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t sip this by itself.  Seems like it’s high acidity and citrus notes beg for a food pairing.  Don’t have anything in mind, but maybe you will if you decide to give this one a go.

Ruffino Aziano Chianti Classico 2012

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!

Winemaker:  Ruffino
Wine:  Aziano Chianti Classico
Varietal:  Sangiovese
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  Chianti Classico DOCG, Italy
Price:  $16.99

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.