You may or may not have noticed, but I’ve been making my way through some inexpensive Sangiovese wines of late. The goal is to learn a little more about the wine as well as what is available to the budget-minded consumer in this varietal. I realize that to learn more, I’ll have to splurge a bit. And I will, I will. Of course, there is also the whole Chianti thing. Since many of the Chianti selections are blends, however, I’m sticking to the single varietal Sangiovese right now to help me understand this grape and the kind of wine it becomes. My exploration of this varietal is precisely why I couldn’t pass up this selection.
Winemaker: Grifone by Roccadoro (Castellani)
Appellation: Puglia IGT, Italy
Price: $4.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: This cheap Italian was dark red in the glass. I’d compare it to a velvet curtain in a traditional opera house. That shade of red. On the nose I found violets, plum and pepper. The body was very light but with a gentle plushness on the tongue. Acidity was good. Alcohol was at 12.5%. Tannins were moderate but distinctly present. As far as flavors I detected, there was an overarching woodiness (think dried twigs) to the wine, some pleasant plum, and a touch of pepper. The finish was a mix of tart and bitter much like pomegranate. This is definitely a good value. Amazing? No. Decent? You bet!
Last time I was waiting to check out at my local Trader Joe’s, they had this Vola strategically positioned right at the end of the line immediately before the cash registers. Given that I had sampled two other inexpensive Sangiovese wines in recent days, how could I pass this one up? According to the label it was bottled in Italy and imported by D’Aquino.
Notes: The color of this budget Italian was a light ruby. The bouquet brought scents of cherry, earth and mushroom. Acidity was bright on this light-bodied Sangiovese, and tannins were medium. Alcohol was at 12%. On the palate I found wood, cherry, boysenberry and pepper. Except for the definite sweetness, flavors were very weak in the midpalate. At the finish the wood returns along with a medicinal note. While this does present many of the attributes touted as typical for a Sangiovese, I think it’s not a good example of this varietal. I didn’t hate the wine; price notwithstanding, I just didn’t like it all that well due largely to what I felt was a weak flavor profile. At $2.99, though, maybe you’ll want to trust your own taste buds over mine and give it a try.
And speaking of exploration and experimentation …. This is the last of my tastings from the inexpensive Moscatos available in my area. There are more, of course. Many more, in fact. But I had to cut myself off somewhere or I’d have permanent high blood sugar. I saw some pink Moscatos and some sparkling Moscatos on the shelves that looked very interesting. After awhile, perhaps I’ll pull a few of those for sampling. For now, though, I’ll call this Moscato “tour” at an end with this interesting non-vintage offering imported from Italy by Whole Foods.
Notes: In the glass, the color of this somewhat drier Moscato (11% alcohol) was a light yellow. The bouquet on this Italian was surprisingly faint with only light suggestions of citrus and peach. The body was light and acidity was fine. On the tongue, I found mostly floral notes with honey and herbs . I did taste an underlying apricot, but it was definitely second (or third) fiddle. I’d say that makes this Moscato quite different from the main.