Monday, August 06, 2007

2004 Luna Sangiovese Reserve

For our anniversary I opened up this wine to pair with a simple dish of pasta and meatballs in a homemade tomato sauce, hoping to dress up a simple family dinner on our special day.

The 2004 Luna Sangiovese Reserve was purchased at the winery on my 2006 Napa Tour. Unabashedly American, this is not your Nona's Sangiovese! Bright cherry red, this wine had an exquisite nose of roses and musk, very ripe blackberries and cherries, cedar, leather, coffee grounds and minty tea. While very nice, the palate simply wasn't up to the nose, in my opinion, as sharp acidity and jammy overripe fruit overpowered my palate at first. To be fair, this wine settled down over the evening, with more elegant spicy chocolate and blackberry fruit, but still slightly awkward. Despite its heavyweight alcohol content, this was not as overpowering as you might think. Overall, it was a rather confusing wine that needs a few more years in the cellar to show its real stuff.
15.8% alcohol
Score: 17/20
Price: US$60 (winery)

As an aside, I try to be style agnostic when I review wines. While this was an excellently crafted wine (my wife raved about it), it may be the first time you hear me say "not my style". Unfair, perhaps, as this wine is way to young. But contrast it to the elegance of the L'Ecole No. 41 wines enjoyed last night, or any Chianti at this price. Try for yourself - I am sure there will be much disagreement with me on this.


Drash said...


I would agree with your assessment on my 2004 Reserve Sangiovese. Way over the top with fruit. More Old Vine Zin than classic Sangiovese. We made a lot of fans with the 2004's but its definitely got its faults. The September 2004 heat spike did a number on our Oakville Sangiovese block. Sugars rose from 23 to 28 in a matter of days. I actually prefer the 2005 or 2003 Reserve Sangiovese over the 2004...much more refined, elegant, streamlined. Let me know when you are in Napa next time. Thanks!

Mike Drash
Luna Vineyards

Stacy Nelson said...

I love the term you used as "unabashedly American" . It is a phrase that might be interpreted many ways but I take it as bold, with that American pop as opposed to the European subtlety. Brilliant.

I am a fan of classic Sangiovese but am also a fan of Old Vine Zins. Therefore this 2004 (even with the flaws that Mike mentioned) sounds like one I will have to try in a splurge moment. Actually, I may have to talk with Mike about a comparison tasting between the two... :)

Joe said...

Hi Mike. Yes, it did appear rather Zin-like. The funny thing is that I had it in the tasting room last October and I don't recall it being that fruity (see my notes from last year).
Anyway, I really appreciate your honesty and the comments on the weather. We consumers buy our wine and often forget that it is a product of agriculture...I can assure you, I will try the 2005 and 2003 and compare notes.
I am going to Sonoma in early October - I will make a detour if you will share a glass of '03 and '05 with me!
Hi Stacy - you are absolutely right, that phrase can be interpreted many ways. That wine is no wallflower, to be sure. As for Old Vine Zin, it is American Wine Month here at Joe's, so stay tuned...

Drash said...


Stop by the winery in October. We are starting harvest next week so things will get a little hectic! Thanks.


Joe said...

Hi Mike. All the best for a perfect harvest! I will finalize the date next month. Cheers!