Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Long Shadows Saggi 2017

Long Shadows Vintners Series Saggi Sangiovese Blend 2017

We just received our Vault Key Club release allocation shipment of Long Shadows Vintners Series which included this Saggi Sangiovese Red Blend 2017. We discovered and signed up for this during our Washington Wine Experience when we visited the winery tasting room in Woodinville last fall.

Our visit to Woodinville was part of our Seattle Culinary and Wine Experience. During our visit to Long Shodows we discovered and acquired this wine. 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. 

The Saggi label selection was originally 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.  From the 2016 release , Gilles assumed complete winemaking responsibilities for Saggi.

Saggi Long Shadows Vintners Series 2017

The winemaker's description of processing: "Handpicked grapes were gently crushed and fermented in small, two-ton tanks. Then, using a technique called saignée (French for “to bleed”), 5-10% of the juice was removed from the tank at the beginning of fermentation to increase the proportion of grape skins to juice. This results in a richer, more concentrated wine. Small lot, extended maceration for an average of 30 days provided refined tannins and a silky mouthfeel. Aged 18 months in all French oak barrels (60% new)." 
This was a blend of 59% Sangiovese from Washington State Columbia Valley Candy Mountain and Boushey vineyards, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon from Stone Tree vineyard and 17% Syrah from Boushey. 

Winemaker's notes for the 2017 Saggi: "A Sangiovese based blend offering vibrant aromas and flavors of wild strawberries, red currants and black cherries with appealing notes of cinnamon and sweet spice.  The flavors gain focus on the mid-palate with a layered richness, balanced acidity and polished tannins that carry the wine’s lengthy finish."

Bright ruby-colored, medium bodied, nicely balanced and polished, black currant fruits with notes of  cinnamon spice and cigar box, hints of cedar and vanilla with soft sweet tannins on the lingering finish.

RM 91 points.