Saturday, June 22, 2019

American Sangiovese for Italian Dinner

American Sangiovese for Italian Dinner - Long Shadows Saggi and Del Dotto Piazza

Wine buddy and fellow 'Pour Boy' Dr Dan and Linda came over for the evening and we dined at Angeli's Italian, our favorite neighborhood trattoria. We took BYOB from our cellar two American Sangiovese's, a Del Dotto Piazza Napa and Saggi Long Shadows from Washington State.

Saggi Long Shadows Vintners Series 2016

We discovered and acquired this wine during our Woodinville, WA Wine Experience last fall. This is a selection of the Long Shadows Vintners Collection, a portfolio of seven ultra-premium wines showcasing the viticulture of the Washington State Columbia Valley growing region and the artwork and expertise of internationally acclaimed winemakers who crafted them.

Long Shadows was founded in 2003 by Washington State wine legend Allen Shoup, former Chairman and CEO of Chateau St Michelle, one of the premiere wine producers in the State. There he evangelized Washington Wines and championed collaboration with notable winemakers from around the world. Upon retiring, he started Long Shadows with a vision to produce the best, art of the possible wines showcasing/featuring the region's grapes, each produced by a world renowned winemaker reputed for producing grapes of that varietal.  Each vintner had access to Washington State's best grapes and a winery to outfitted to accommodate a their exacting cellar specifications. The idea was a resounding success as the wines have received critical acclaim that grown with each vintage. The Long Shadow collection went on to win numerous awards, including recognition as Food & Wine magazine's "Winery of the Year."

The Saggi label is a Sangiovese blended from top Washington State vineyards, from Candy Mountain, a warm area of the Columbia Valley adjacent to Red Mountain that produces fruit with ripe, black currant aromas and flavors. From the cooler growing conditions in the Yakima Valley, the Boushey Vineyard produces Sangiovese that is lively red currant with bright strawberry notes. Saggi also contains Cabernet Sauvignon, from the Weinbau Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope AVA, which contributes  structure and texture. Also in the blend is Syrah from the Bacchus and Den Hoed Dutchman vineyards, that add depth and complexity.

We talk about Den Hoed and their wines and our family connection in an earlier blogpost from our Seattle, Woodinville trip. 

Saggi, is crafted by the father-son team of Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari, one of Italy’s oldest and most prestigious Tuscan wine families from A. & G. Folonari Tenute that produces a collection of small, ultra-premium wines from the family's numerous Tuscan estates. The Folonaris teamed with Allen Shoup to produce a wine that showcases Washington State's terroir with plenty of Italian character. Saggi (meaning "wisdom") is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.

Long Shadows founder Allen Shoup originally met the Folonaris through mutual friend Piero Antinori. It was Allen who introduce Piero to Washington State while at the helm of Chateau Ste. Michelle, and it was Piero's regard for the vineyards of the Columbia Valley that piqued the Folonaris interest in creating a wine true to Washington terroir with plenty of Tuscan character.  Gilles continues that tradition, honoring the quality and style of wines the Folonairs inspired. 

From 2006, Long Shadows director of winemaking and viticulture Gilles Nicault collaborated with the Folonaris on Saggi's vineyard sourcing, winemaking and blending.  For this 2016 release , Gilles assumed complete winemaking responsibilities for Saggi.

This bottle was from our most recent Club allocation shipment from the winery.

Vibrant and lively, this weighty Sangiovese-dominant blend offers enticing aromas and flavors of red berries and currants with an appealing hint of nutmeg and sweet spice. An elegant and refined wine, its bright acidity pops on the palate with expressive red fruit character that echoes across a long-lasting finish.

The 2016 Saggi is mostly Sangiovese at 60%, but has 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Syrah.

Bright ruby-colored, medium bodied, nicely balanced and polished, black cherry fruits are accented by with notes of spice box, dried flowers and hints of cedar and vanilla, smooth sweet tannins linger on a clean, graceful finish.

RM 92 points.

Wine Advocate Jeb Dunnuck gave it 92 points noting, "It's certainly one of the best expressions of Sangiovese from Washington."

Piazza Del Dotto Napa Valley Sangiovese 2016 

This has become our go-to wine for Italian dining. We tasted and acquired this wine during or Piazza Winery Delicacies Wine and Food Tasting Experience during our Napa Valley Wine Experience 2018. We had previously tasted and acquired the 2015 release a year earlier at our Napa Valley Del Dotto Estate Cave Tour and Barrel Tasting in 2017.

As we have written in recent tasting reviews of wine acquired during this Estate visit, this label is from Piazza Del Dotto, Del Dotto's newest project, a new winery south on St Helena Highway featuring an Italian-inspired “barchessa,” or barn, magnificently appointed with tasting rooms and dining areas. It is surrounded by fountain gardens with al fresco tasting cabanas, vegetable gardens, 17th century fountains and an outdoor barn with turkeys, peacocks, pheasants and doves. There are wine caves as well, all surrounded by 8.5 acres of cabernet sauvignon vineyards.

This is Estate grown fruit, I believe from the Rutherford vineyards that surround the Venetian Estate Winery & Caves, the site for the Del Dotto cave tours and barrel tastings.

This was ruby colored medium full bodied, delicious sweet ripe raspberry fruits accented by notes of vanilla and almond with supple smooth silky tannins on the lingering finish.

RM 92 points.