Sangiovese is one of the classic varietals of Italy. It really thrives as a true workhorse grape there forming the backbone of wines in numerous regions throughout the country. Outside of Italy however Sangiovese hasn’t always done as well. Often times growers and producers outside of Italy make the wine in a style that isn’t true to the essence of this wonderful grape. From time to time though I run across an example of Sangiovese, from outside Italy, which captures the true spirit and soul of this legendary grape. Today I’ll look at such an offering from a producer in Alexander Valley. The deLorimer Winery 2006 Alexander Valley Sangiovese was made from fruit sourced in a vineyard planted in 1982. That Alexander valley vineyard sits at an elevation of 310 feet above sea level. In addition to Sangiovese (86%), this wine also contains Cabernet Sauvignon (14%). Grapes for this selection were hand harvested. After fermentation this wine was barrel aged in French oak over a period of 30 months. 190 cases of this wine were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $29.
Rose petals, leather, cigar box and red fruit aromas light up the nose of this 2006 Alexander Valley Sangiovese. Throughout the palate dried cherry fruit flavors carry the day. Red delicious apple notes play a role as well along with an undercurrent of darker berry fruit. Nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, earth and espresso are all part of a lengthy finish which turns slightly lusty as the vibrant flavors go on for awhile.
This is one of the better examples of Sangiovese from California I’ve sampled. It’s true to its varietal, and with the generous dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon, shows some of the tendencies and structure of a Super Tuscan style wine. It’s very well balanced and will drink well for the next 5-6 years at minimum. This is without question a food lover’s dream wine. Pair it with strong cheeses, roasted meats or pasta in red sauce for excellent results.