Paso Robles, in the Central Coast of California has been a favorite region of mine for a number of years now. The number of high quality, well priced, and unique wines emerging from Paso seems to increase with each passing year. Rhone varietals and Zinfandels are amongst the first things that come to mind when thinking of Paso Robles. But there are a growing number of Wineries producing Italian varietals with great success. Martin & Weyrich has been in operation since 1981 and Italian varietals are at the core of what they do. Today I'll look at their current release of Sangiovese The 2005 Martin & Weyrich Il Palio Sangiovese is made from fruit sourced at two Estate Vineyards. This wine is 100% Sangiovese. Aging was done in French oak; 20% of the barrels were new. Just over 2,100 cases of this offering were produced and the suggested retail price is $16.
Cherries, vanilla and nutmeg notes are prominent in the nose of this Paso Sangiovese. Throughout the palate red berry fruit and back pepper dominate the flavors. Sour cherry and earth notes tell the story of this wine's above average finish. This offering has excellent balance and tremendously pleasing acidity, which make this a perfect foil for a wide array of foods. I had it with Pizza and found that it matched well. Meats and hard cheeses would work as well. Italian dishes with red sauce are a no brainer.
What I like best about this wine is that it displays both old and new world elements. I recommend decanting this wine for about 45 minutes; some air really helps it shine. It's ability to be made in such a wide array of styles makes Sangiovese Italy's MVP grape, and star of Chianti and Brunello to name but a few. It's slowly emerged in the US, specifically in California, here's hoping it take s a real foothold. If you haven't had any Sangiovese from California, or just haven't found one you loved yet, give the Il Palio a shot, it's well worth its $16 price tag.