When my mind needs a lull from the hub-bub and stress of daily life, I often reminisce about times spent in the Italian regions of Tuscany and Umbria. I correlate those memories with the rich winemaking culture of these areas and wonder what it would have been like to make wine there, as they have for hundreds of years.
I find it rather easy to drift into a corner of my mind where these past memories live. I can recall my wanderlust of Italy as I strolled through villages in the Tuscan and Umbrian regions, tasting local wines. I sipped the famous Tuscan Chianti Classicos and rich Brunello’s of Montalcino. I remember being enamored with the Umbrian reds of Montefalco and fell in love with the enchanting countryside that surrounded this incredible country.
Spending time in the beautiful cities of Siena, Florence, Perugia and Assisi was magical. Exploring the vast medieval wonders of these ancient places was intoxicating. I made sure to browse every local enoteca while savoring the local cheeses and olive oils made fresh in each of these cities.
It is in these picturesque places I developed my crush on the Sangiovese grape, the principle grape used for wine produced in the Tuscan region. It is also the only grape used when making the famous Brunellos Di Montalcino (currently under fire) and remains the base wine used for crafting Chianti.
Sangiovese is the star grape of central Italy and widely planted in the Umbrian region. This peaceful countryside is a pristine example of old world living and one of the hilliest areas I remember from my travels.
It is here that winemaking traditions reach back to the Etruscans and Romans, but like Burgundy, viticultural practices and winemaking were developed and enhanced by the monks during medieval times.
I can recall the vineyards dotting this land, full of ripe, red fruit, ready for harvest. The long and often wide conical Sangiovese clusters hung heavily on the vines, waiting to be coaxed into the next great vintage. It moved me.
2006 Falesco Sangiovese, Umbria Italy $10
When I came across this bottle the other day, just the label and the mention of Umbria evoked many of the memories I hold dearly.
The affordable price and recent good ratings were the deal clincher for this bottle. I really had no other choice than to take it for a basket ride to the check-out counter. Can you blame me?
Sangiovese is often a bold and robust wine that pairs well with hearty dishes. Since we were barbecuing rib-eye steaks yesterday evening, this wine became the perfect accompaniment.
The first impression on the nose is an enticing and fragrant red cherry aroma. As that fades, dried floral notes become apparent. Sangiovese wine is often tannic by nature. The tannic overtones are well integrated into this wine. Highlights of black tea leaves and tobacco come pouring through. A nice finish rounds out the balance.
This is a nice bottle to enjoy now, but will do well if held onto for a while.
So what did you all have to drink last night? Anything mind-blowing?