It was a chilly evening early in the new year when the members of the Sommelier India Tasting Panel flocked to a warm and well-stocked library in South Delhi to assess, blindly, eight bottles of wine made from the varietal Sangiovese.
(Pictured from left: Gurjit Barry, Rukn Luthra, Reva K Singh and Judith Sciarone from the SI Tasting Panel with the Sangiovese wines)
Indigenous to Italy and renowned since the 16th century, Sangiovese (from Latin sanguis Jovis, the blood of Jove or Jupiter, Roman god of the sky and of thunder) is planted widely throughout the centre of the country and, some would say, reaches the pinnacle of its character in Tuscany. Its high acidity makes Sangiovese a fantastic food wine, especially for the rich cuisine of Emilia- Romagna. Plantings in the rest of the world, especially in the USA, have not fared as well and appear to be in decline. However, let’s keep our eyes on experimental plantings occurring around the Mediterranean and in our own country which may well yield fabulous stuff.
As for our tasting, writes Judith, it was a real treat. Not a single wine scored poorly and half of them were pure toppers. They sparked poetic tasting notes as well as fluid discussion and definitely called for the happy snacking that followed.
Sangiovese Wine Profile
Fruit: Tart Cherry, Red Plum, Strawberry, Fig
Other: Roasted Pepper, Tomato, Leather, Clay, Brick, Tobacco, Smoke, Oregano, Thyme, Dried Roses, Potpourri
Oak: Yes. Usually light oak aging in neutral oak barrels.
Ageability: Yes. 4-7 years (normal) & 10-18 years (Brunello di Montalcino)
The wines tasted appear below in order of preference with tasting notes by Judith J Sciarone, sommelier at The Claridges Hotel, New Delhi
2013 CARPINETO DOGAJOlO IGT
A warm nose of toffee and cocoa vibrates with elegance. Our heart skips a beat as our mind wanders through Burgundy, no, south, south… The mouth is generous with finely tuned tannins and a refreshing finish reminiscent of vine-ripened tomatoes and tangerines. This bottle calls for attention. Importer – Ace Beverages MRP Rs 2,100
2013 REMOLE FRESCOBALDI IGT
The nose is floral and opens up to spices and some pleasant herbal notes. A cook’s garden at nightfall. The mouth is lovely, pleasing, suave. Importer – Brindco MRP Rs 1,440
2013 COl DI SASSO CASTEllO BANFI IGT
Nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves swirl around a potpourri of flowers on the nose. The mouth follows suit and displays cheeky, joyous character. Importer – Brindco MRP Rs 1,570
2013 lE VOlTE DEll’ ORNElLAIA IGT
An intriguing nose with a tinge of sambal which brightly sets off typical floral and spicy notes. With pleasing varietal character in the mouth, this wine is tangy and fun. Importer – Brindco MRP Rs 4,230
2012 PATER FRESCOBALDI SANGIOVESE IGT
The nose is smooth and inviting with warm spices and a hint of alcohol. The mouth shows tight tannins and some heat. Importer – Brindco MRP Rs 1,740
2013 SOLE DORO RUBICONE IGT
A nose which invites us into a baker’s pantry, where some rose petals are drying amidst spices galore. Generous and balanced, the mouth is refreshing not unlike the sprinkle of a garden fountain on a warm summer day. Importer – Berkmann Wine Cellars MRP Rs 1,530 (Mumbai)
2013 SANTA CRISTINA IGT
Uncomplicated and straight- forward, both the nose and mouth display good varietal character. An easy to drink, food friendly wine. Importer – Berkmann Wine Cellars MRP Rs 2,520 (Mumbai)
2013 OSO TOSCANA CASTEllO D’AlBOlA
Bright, floral and youthful, the nose is fresh. The mouth is pretty and lush, with some heat. Importer – Aspri Wines & Spirits MRP Rs 3,500
(Extracted from On The Grapevine, Sommelier India magazine Issue 1, 2016)