Tuesday, January 12, 2010

American Sangiovese, 2004

Drinking Napa Sangiovese feels historic, like I am drinking the last of dying breed. Napa Sangiovese extinct? Hardly. But while my terminal diagnosis for Napa Sangiovese has no facts to back it up, I certainly get the "sense" that the "Sangiovese Experiment" will soon perish under the Napa Cab steamroller...

It would be a shame if the steamroller eliminated this Steltzner offering. The 2004 Steltzner Sangiovese Riserva (Stags Leap) coulda been straight from Chianti - lighter and fresher than the Luna below, with classic tobacco, green ferns, black pepper and flint. A soft velvety texture held together by crisp cherries, such delicate tannins and a delicious finish. Purchased on my '06 trip to Napa, from a Napa winery that keeps me from losing hope...
cork. 13.6% alcohol
Score: 17/20
Price: US$38 (winery)

This Luna offering seemed oddly familiar... undoubtedly straight out of Napa, the 2004 Luna Sangiovese Reserve showed a very nice, very modern, nose of big, ripe, jammy cherries, smokey vanilla and sweet cocoa, mint and liquorice. Jammy on the palate, coating the tongue with big, hot fruit, but redeemingly delicious tannins and a lengthy finish. Really opened nicely, just sooo different from the Steltzner above.
cork. 15.8% alcohol
Score: 16.5/20
Price: US$60 (winery)

Both tasted blind, it is really a battle of old versus new - you decide.

(PS - note the serious price differential)

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